Who was Hubert Howe Bancroft? American publisher and historian Hubert Howe Bancroft biography, life story and works.
Hubert Howe Bancroft; (1832-1918), American publisher and historian. He was born in Granville, Ohio, on May 5, 1832. He was employed in his brother-in-law’s bookstore in Buffalo, N.Y., from 1848 until 1852, when he went to California. In San Francisco he established his own bookselling and publishing business. This venture prospered, and soon he was able to start gathering material on the West for a grand history of the region.
This monumental work in 39 volumes, known as the West American Historical Series, was published between 1875 and 1890 (it was reissued as The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, 1882-90). The first five volumes treat the “native races.” The history proper comprises 28 volumes and covers the “Pacific states”—Central America, Mexico, and the Far West of the United States and Canada. The last six volumes are collections of miscellaneous essays. The series was issued under Bancroft’s name, but he actually wrote only about four volumes. He edited the rest of the material—produced by an able staff.
Although criticized for his “history factory,” Bancroft was soon credited with making a great contribution to American historiography. He amassed a collection of 60,000 historical volumes, manuscripts, and personal narratives, all of which he donated to the University of California in 1905. His broad approach to historical writing has rarely been equaled, and his histories were, the main, reliable. He died at Walnut Creek, Calif., on March 2, 1918.
Hubert Howe Bancroft and “The Native Races”
Hubert Howe Bancroft was a historian and publisher who wrote several volumes on the history of the American West, including a multi-volume work called “The Native Races.” This work covers the indigenous peoples of North and South America, including their cultures, languages, and history before European colonization. Bancroft’s work is considered important for its comprehensive coverage of native cultures, but also criticized for its biases and inaccuracies, particularly in its portrayal of indigenous peoples.