Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Bancroft, Hubert Howe

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BANCROFT, Hubert Howe, historian, b. in Granville, Ohio, 5 May, 1832. He entered the book-store of his brother-in-law, in Buffalo, N. Y., in 1848, and in 1852 was sent to California to establish a branch of the business there. He soon began to collect and preserve all available books and documents relating to the history of the Pacific states. As his affairs prospered, Mr. Bancroft's library increased, and in 1868, resigning to his brother, A. L. Bancroft, the management of his business, he devoted himself to the arrangement and publication of the material he had gathered. This consisted of books, maps, and printed and manuscript documents, including a large number of narratives dictated to Mr. Bancroft or his assistants by pioneers, settlers, and statesmen. The indexing of this vast collection employed six persons for ten years. The library was removed in 1881 to a fire-proof building, and now numbers about 45,000 volumes. Mr. Bancroft's plan is to publish thirty-nine volumes, embracing the history of the whole Pacific coast, from Central America to Alaska, and about one third of these have already appeared. The last volume published is the fifth of the history of California (San Francisco, 1886). Mr. Bancroft employs collaborators for the preliminary work, revising it all, and writing the most important chapters himself. In 1886 the publishing establishment of A. L. Bancroft & Company was burned, and the sheets of seven volumes of the history were destroyed.