Writing Themselves into History: Emily and Matilda Bancroft in Journals and Letters

Writing Themselves into History: Emily and Matilda Bancroft in Journals and Letters
Hardcover, 6 X 9, with over 30 black-and-white archival images, 400 pages.
ISBN: 9781597145886.

By Kim Bancroft

In the early years of California’s statehood, Emily Brist Ketchum Bancroft (1834–1869) and Matilda Coley Griffing Bancroft (1848–1910) had front-row seats to the unfolding of the Golden State’s history. The first and second wives of historian extraordinaire Hubert Howe Bancroft, these two women were deeply engaged members of society and perceptive chroniclers of their times, and they left behind extensive records of their lives and work. Writing Themselves into History offers a rich immersion in nineteenth-century California, detailing Emily’s and Matilda’s experiences with public life, motherhood, and business against the backdrop of San Francisco’s high society and the state’s growth amidst the tumult of the American Civil War. The book also highlights Matilda’s significant involvement in Hubert Howe’s trailblazing research on the history of the American West—including her work collecting oral histories from women members of the LDS Church—and her evocative descriptions of travels throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond. 

Kim Bancroft’s commentary offers historical context and points up Emily’s and Matilda’s keen insights, and she pays special attention to the two women’s complex and nuanced portraits of gender, race, and class in the nineteenth-century West. This book is a valuable resource for American West and women’s studies scholars, and for anyone with an interest in California’s first decades as a state.

Category History

About the Author

Kim Bancroft

Kim Bancroft

Longtime teacher turned editor and writer, Kim Bancroft earned a B.A. in English from Stanford, an M.A. in English and a teaching credential from San Francisco State University, and a doctorate in education from UC Berkeley. She has taught at high schools and community colleges in the Bay Area, at the Universidad de Guanajuato in Mexico, and at Sacramento State. In 2014 Kim edited H.H.B.’s 1890 autobiography, Literary Industries, published by Heyday Books. She also wrote a biography of the founder of Heyday Books, called The Heyday of Malcolm Margolin: The Damn Good Times of a Fiercely Independent Publisher. Of many other memoirs that Kim has recently helped create, she has edited two of Native friends in the Willits area where she now lives in a cabin in the woods. Kim is also seeking to publish a book she wrote with a former classmate, David Waddell, called Same School, Different Class: A Dual Memoir of School Integration.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


P.O. Box 9145Berkeley, CA 94709(510) 549-3564

vertical logo for Heyday Books

Newsletter Sign Up




Use code heyday20 at checkout!

click here to copy code

Privacy Preference Center