Hubert Howe Bancroft was born on May 5, 1832 in Granville, Ohio. His parents Ashley Bancroft and Lucy Howe Bancroft were staunch abolitionists. He later became a famous American historian an ethnologist who wrote, published and collected works pertaining to the western United States.
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The family home was a station on the Underground Railroad. He became a clerk in his brother-in-law’s book store in Buffalo, New York after the one year attendance in the Doane Academy in Granville. In March 1852, he initiated and managed a regional office of the business when he was sent to San Francisco, California where he began his own publishing house. After resigning from his business and giving off it, he devoted himself entirely to writing and publishing history.
He collected books, maps, printed and manuscript of documents including a large number of narratives dictated to Bancroft or his assistants y pioneers sellers and statesmen, in his library. By over 16 years, he made about 45,000 volumes of indexed collection by employing 6 persons for six years.
Bancroft planned to publish the history of entire Pacific coast region of North America, from Central America to Alaska, in 39 volumes. There was a major setback in his effort in 1886. When he employed collaborators for the preliminary work, and revised it all and wrote the most important chapters himself, his publishing establishment burned and the sheets of seven volumes of the history he had written were destroyed.
Bancroft first married to Emily Ketchum in 1859 in which he had one daughter, Kate. After the death of his first sweet heart in 1869, he remarried in 1879 to Matilda Coley Griffing. They had four children, Paul, Griffing, Philip and Lucy. Bancroft died in 1918 in Walnut Creek, California, two days after being struck by a street car. He is interred in the Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma, California.