JSNH&B home • Fall 2010 • vol. 3 no. 2

California Inter Pocula

Hubert Howe Bancroft

Hubert Howe BancroftHubert Howe Bancroft (1832–1918) was California’s preeminent nineteenth-century historian. Born in Ohio, he arrived in California during the gold rush, and it was while managing a bookstore in San Francisco that he began to accumulate a voluminous collection of early California history. He stopped managing the bookstore in 1868, and by the 1880s he was devoting his full efforts to writing and publishing history texts.

More publisher than intellectual, Bancroft developed a thriving “book factory” of California history, utilizing an army of writers and researchers to assist his endeavors, and publishing their contributions under his own name. Bancroft produced the seven-volume History of California that is still used by academics today, and his name lives on in the world-renowned Bancroft Library of western American history, at the University of California, Berkeley.

In 1888, Bancroft published his consideration of the California Gold Rush, titled California Inter Pocula. In its pages, Bancroft sought to present the forty-niners not just as footloose adventurers but as hardworking, ingenious commercial pioneers as well.

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Rick HeideRead by Rick Heide, co-editor of The Illuminated Landscape and editor of Under the Fifth Sun, an anthology of California Latino literature