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Companions of Minds and Books: H.H. and Matilda Bancroft in Their Literary Industries

August 14, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:15 pm PDT

Sponsored by The Book Club of California

Kim Bancroft will discuss the legacy of her great-great-grandparents, H.H. Bancroft, historian of the West and founder of The Bancroft Library at U.C. Berkeley, and his second wife, Matilda Bancroft, a writer and historian in her own right.

After marrying H.H. in 1859, Emily wrote voluminous letters from San Francisco to her family in Buffalo in the 1860s. Seven years after Emily died in 1869, H.H. married Matilda, who composed volumes of diaries and letters from 1876-1910, along with oral histories.

Kim Bancroft’s book “Writing Themselves into History: Emily and Matilda Bancroft in Journals and Letters” highlights piquant details from these women’s writing, noting political and cultural changes during those years, as well as race, class, and gender differences underlying Emily and Matilda’s social observations. These women also captured the private life of a man who would become a very public figure through his writing and library.

In particular, Matilda relished her ability to participate in her husband’s book-making efforts. With him, she traveled to collect documents and stories regarding those who had settled the West and its multitudes of commerce, cultures, and government. Matilda learned how to edit her husband’s writing. Her work also found its way into his books, with both her own writings and the oral histories she took.

In her presentation, Kim Bancroft will focus on this remarkable couple’s companionship of shared ideals and ambitions in telling the story of the West, though from very different perspectives, one a public man, the other a private woman. How these two writers of different natures contributed to literary life in California and beyond—with plentiful challenges and controversies—makes for an engaging story.

An in-person and virtual presentation by Kim Bancroft, author and editor.

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_OVBai0BLQ_edxTBmwWLCeg#/registration


August 14, 2023
6:00 pm - 7:15 pm PDT
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