In Memory of Ruth Bancroft 9/2/1908 – 11/26/2017

Photo of Ruth Bancroft in The Ruth Bancroft Garden
Ruth Bancroft, photo courtesy of The Ruth Bancroft Garden, photographer unknown

UC Berkeley alumna Ruth Petersson Bancroft, founder of The Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek and well-known expert in dry gardening, passed away at the age of 109 on Nov. 26. Her oral history, The Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, California: Creation in 1971 and Conservation, conducted in 1991 and 1992, is described by interviewer Suzanne B. Riess as “…the amazing chronicle of the growth of a passionate gardener, from her childhood recollections of spring wildflowers on the hills of an earlier, bucolic Berkeley, to her current triumphs, and the tribulations of stewardship of a garden more or less in the public trust.”

The daughter of first-generation Swedish immigrants, Ruth Petersson was born in Massachusetts, but moved to Berkeley, California when her father landed a professorship at UC Berkeley. Of her childhood, she said, “I spent a lot of time wandering around and also over into Wildcat Canyon, just looking at the wildflowers and I think that’s what started me in the interest of wildflowers…” Although Ruth originally studied architecture as one of the only women in the program at UC Berkeley, the Great Depression hit and so for the sake of job security, she switched her career to education. It was during her time as a teacher of home economics in Merced that she met Philip Bancroft, Jr., the grandson of Hubert Howe Bancroft, whose 60,000-volume book collection began the Bancroft Library. After they married, the couple moved onto the Bancroft Farm in the East Bay. The Bancroft family sold much of their land to the city of Walnut Creek as it expanded over the years. Later, in 1971, Philip Bancroft, Jr. gave the last 3-acre plot of walnut orchards to his wife in order to house her extensive collection of succulents.

Though The Ruth Bancroft Garden now boasts a beautiful display of water-conserving plants, the garden was not without its hardships at the beginning. Just a few months after Bancroft began her garden, a severe freeze in December killed nearly all that she had planted. Still, she persevered. “Well, I started again the next year… I figured it doesn’t happen that often, and you can’t just not replant those same things, because they might have another twenty years before they’d be killed again. So I’m just replanting. Have to start over again.” To this, Riess queried, “You didn’t think in some way you had been given a message?” Bancroft laughed and replied, “No.”

A long-time friend of Bancroft and former manager at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, Wayne Roderick said, “I would classify Ruth as a genuine dirt gardener. She’s out there doing things with her bare hands. She would be out in the garden by seven at the latest, and for the first hour she was weeding the path of the little spotted spurge, hand-weeding those paths until her knees would get so sore from the rocks, the gravel. That’s what I mean by a genuine dirt gardener.” In addition to Bancroft’s hands-on style of working, she also kept meticulous records as she created her garden. An invaluable addition to her oral history is the transcription of the entirety of her handwritten notes on the garden’s first year, cataloguing every trial and triumph. Riess urges in her introduction to the oral history, “Any gardener will do well to read that year of Ruth’s journal, to see the value of a journal, as well as the work involved in realizing a dream, and the necessity of being willing to weed!”

Over the years, Bancroft also had many helpers that contributed to the development of her impressive creation, such as Lester Hawkins, who created the original design of the garden, and her husband Philip. Roderick recalls, “Phil Bancroft just adored Ruth, and he wanted her to have anything she wanted. He did everything he could to help her. I don’t think Phil thought about the garden continuing, but he certainly was there to make sure she got what she wanted for the place. He was a farmer-type, but he enjoyed seeing the garden, and he was willing to get in and help.” Later, her garden would inspire fellow gardener Francis Cabot to create the Garden Conservancy, of which the Ruth Bancroft Garden became the first of many private gardens to be preserved for the public.

Still, through all of the international recognition and acclaim she received, Bancroft maintained a simple and genuine love for gardening: “You never know just what’s going to bloom when, during the summer. And a lot of the bloom just lasts a day, or possibly two days. It’s interesting to see what there is, and catch it before it’s gone.” When asked whether she had had a mission for the garden, she replied, “I just started it for the fun of it, and the enjoyment of it. I had no idea that people would be looking at it, no idea at all.“

The Ruth Bancroft Garden will hold a public, all-day celebration of Bancroft’s life on February 17th, 2018.

Maggie Deng
Oral History Center Student Assistant


ASHRAE Standards and Guidelines: now online!

UC Berkeley researchers now have full online access to standards issued by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). ASHRAE Standards and Guidelines are widely used by researchers and professionals in the design and maintenance of indoor environments and those interested in refrigeration processes. Access is provided through the Techstreet Enterprise platform and requires the proxy or VPN from off-campus.

In addition to the Standards and Guidelines, ASHRAE also publishes a series of Transactions and Handbooks. Interested in other ASHRAE publications? Check OskiCat for access or contact a librarian for help!


North American mega-regional print book collections

mega-regions

This map from a 2012 report titled Print Management at “Mega-scale”: A Regional Perspective on Print Book Collections in North America indirectly relates to books and journals in the Romance languages but I thought it might be educational to share since so much of our daily cooperative collection building decisions fit into this framework. It visualizes how shared research library collections coincide with the emergence of mega-regions, or geographical regions defined on the basis of economic integration and other forms of interdependence. For those of us who work in the library, it reinforces the role that research libraries like UCB, UCD, UCSC and Stanford play at the national level and how paramount it is for us to continue to strive together for robust and comprehensive regional collections so that we can support the current and future research and teaching needs at one another’s campuses and beyond.


New bioscience journals

The Life and Health Sciences Division of the UC Berkeley Library has recently purchased access to the following subscription resources:

  • Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine and its associated Subject Collections offer review articles on the molecular and cellular bases of disease, translational medicine, and emerging therapeutic strategies. With the addition of CSH Perspectives in Medicine, UC Berkeley researchers now have access to all of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press journals.
  • Current Protocols in Stem Cell Biology provides protocols for the isolation, characterization, and differentiation of embryonic and adult stem cells.
  • Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE): Developmental Biology offers video articles on research methodologies in the field of developmental biology in vitro and in vivo at the molecular, cellular, tissue, organ and whole organism levels.
  • Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs):
    • WIREs Developmental Biology is published in association with the Society for Developmental Biology and covers topics in cell and molecular biology, stem cell biology, plant biology, evolutionary biology, anatomy, physiology, and neuroscience.
    • WIREs RNA offers review articles on topics related to RNA, including structure and dynamics, evolution and genomics, interactions with proteins and other molecules, translation, processing, disease and development, and methods.
    • WIREs Systems Biology and Medicine covers topics in medicine, biology, physiology, computational biology and modeling, and bioengineering.

For more information, please contact bios@library.berkeley.edu.


Access cutting edge research from Berkeley students & faculty

Parade with people holding posters to legalize marijuana

Through the eScholarship platform, you can access high-quality, cutting edge, peer reviewed research produced and published by Berkeley graduate students and faculty without running into annoying (and expensive) paywalls.

We host journals covering a wide range of topics from educational diversity (Berkeley Review of Education) to emerging research in city and regional planning (Berkeley Planning Journal) to explorations of immigrant populations in Germany (TRANSIT).

Read about transnational Asian adoptees in the latest issue of Berkeley Review of Education published out of the Graduate School of Education.

Berkeley ethnomusicologist Christina Azahar writes about the songs of the civil war in El Salvador in Lucero, a journal dedicated to Iberian, Latin American, US Latino and Luso-Brazilian Studies.

The California Journal of Politics and Policy published by the Institute for Governmental Studies provides insights into all aspects of national, state and local government. In the latest issue, the article Guns, Grass, and God’s Wrath analyzes Colorado’s  recent elections and budget.

Check out the complete list of eScholarship articles.


Post contributed by Margaret Phillips, Education Librarian, Gender & Women’s Studies Librarian


The Materials Project

The Materials Project

 

The Materials Project provides open web-based access to computed information on known and predicted materials as well as powerful analysis tools to inspire and design novel materials. Through computational modeling and supercomputing, the Materials Project allows the user to assess how different atoms and molecules interact with each other. The Materials Explorer is the core tool, or app, through which users can query all of the data in the materials compound database through an interactive Periodic Table of Elements. With 66,140 computed compounds, users discover a number of material properties including compound formation energy, stability, bandgap, density, volume, and more. This app, along with seven others (including the crystal toolkit, structure predictor, and the battery explorer) allows researchers to compute the properties of compounds before materials are synthesized in a lab, all of which save money, time, and guesswork.

The Materials Project was founded by two current UC-Berkeley Materials Science and Engineering professors, Dr. Kristin Persson and Dr. Gerbrand Ceder. The Project is supported by the US Department of Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, MIT, and the Battery Materials Research Program. For more information on collaborators, visit About the Materials Project.


Research the teaching and learning of science using Education Source

Use Education Source (formerly Education Full Text) to find articles and more on all education topics, including adult education, continuing education, distance learning, government funding, multicultural education, social issues, and more.

Education Source contains a substantial number of citations on the teaching and learning of science. Start your search using thesaurus terms such as “Civil Engineering – Study & teaching,” “Physics – Study & teaching,” etc. Narrow your search by adding such terms as: case study, evaluation, and so forth. The EBSCO search interface easily allows for applying limits to your search such as a date range, or limiting to peer-reviewed content. You can quickly change the sort from relevance to date; other sort options are also available. Education Source includes the full text for over 1,800 journals, with UC-eLinks to access the full text of more, as well as full text for more than 550 books and monographs, numerous education-related conference papers, and citations for over 5 million articles.


1916 News Flashback outside Moffitt Library

Newspaper front pages on display outside Moffitt Library

Have you noticed some decidedly old news posted on Moffitt’s Newspaper Display Wall alongside current events from around the world?

We’re posting the front page of a different 1916 newspaper each week so you can see what was making headlines a century ago.

We primarily post newspapers from California or other Western states, though not exclusively. Each historical paper is up Thursday through Sunday, while the other front pages in front of Moffitt change daily.

We hope you enjoy this peek into the past!

For more old news, see our online news databases and check out blog posts on historical newspapers from History Librarian, Jennifer Dorner.


Funding Available for FSM Cafe Events

FSM Cafe Terrace

Bring your idea for a debate, panel discussion, or speaker, consider to the University Library’s FSM Café Educational Programs Committee.

UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff and campus groups are encouraged to apply for funding at least 6 weeks before the date of the proposed event.

Funding typically covers the cost of catering, publicity, and special equipment rental. Travel costs and honoraria for speakers are also considered. Programs also receive a $250 stipend after the event.

The committee is looking for programs that stimulate public discussion on political, cultural, and social issues that appeal to a broad audience, which exemplify the spirit of critical engagement of Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement.

Find more details and the application from the website.

Send questions to fsm-info@lists.berkeley.edu