Bancroft and the West

‘The Library’s collections continue to foster new ideas, helping to sustain the vibrant mix that makes Berkeley’s research environment one-of-a-kind, and this program offers a financial foundation that will provide scholars with ever-greater access and inspiration far into the future.’
Chancellor Carol T. Christ
Theresa Salazar, center, The Bancroft Library’s curator for Western Americana, looks over items being considered for the Sustaining Grandeur exhibit with guests in March.

The Bancroft Library’s Western Americana collection is an unmatched resource for the exploration of the social, political, economic, environmental, and cultural development of the West — the vast expanse that stretches from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, and from Alaska to Panama. The collection documents the many communities that make up the fabric of the West through an impressive array of materials that range from 19th-century interviews by Hubert Howe Bancroft to dramatic accounts of the 1906 earthquake to documentation of San Francisco’s Chinatown. The Library aims to enhance the visibility and usability of the Bancroft collection by students, faculty, and the public, and to document more fully the communities — including Native Americans, Californios, descendants of the 49ers, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos — and movements — political, social, environmental, and religious — that shape the West. “It is up to us,” said Brad Barber, chair of the Council of Friends of The Bancroft Library, “to remind people that the record of the past is indispensable if we are to understand where we are — and where we need to go.”

To learn more, contact the Library Development Office at 510-642-9377 or