Dream Place: Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

I have always found happiness in sharing details about libraries, historical societies, and archives with my readers whether via this blog, magazines, journals, or other online sites. I also have lists of research places I hope to visit some day. Being able to search catalogs, inventories, and other finding aids online as well as print guides on the manuscript holdings of such places has added to my “future travel” lists. I thought I would share info about some of these places and what they hold that might be useful to other genealogists.

One place is the University of California, Berkeley’s Bancroft Library which recently reopened and has now brought back many collections that were stored at other UCB buildings. Some collections are still stored elsewhere and it is vital to read the library’s website and make advance contact with the library before visiting. This way it is also possible to arrange your visit to conincide with the availability of a staff member familiar with the records you wish to use. The site has an online form to request such collections before your visit.

A separate page on the website has a list of items that pertain to Biography and Genealogy but the library has so much more that pertain to family history and community history. Among the items that should be useful are newspapers and indexes, diaries, journals, letters, personal papers (including some family history/genealogy materials), organizational and business records, 1897-99 timebook for Sierra Railroad employees, oral histories, lumber and mining company records, and much more.

Check out some of the collections via the Online Archive of California (OAC). Do an advanced search using various key words and limit the search to the Bancroft Library.

© 2009, Paula Stuart-Warren. All rights reserved.

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