Featured resource: Calisphere

Calisphere is the University of California’s free public gateway to a world of primary sources. Calisphere contains more than 150,000 digitized items, including:

  • Photographs
  • Documents
  • Newspaper pages
  • Political cartoons
  • Works of art
  • Diaries
  • Transcribed oral histories
  • Advertising
  • … and other unique cultural artifacts

These items reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history.

Calisphere’s content has been selected from the libraries and museums of the UC campuses, and from a variety of cultural heritage organizations across California. Although originally aimed at California’s K-12 teachers, Calisphere contains a wealth of information that can be used successfully in undergraduate courses where primary source materials are required.

The site’s unique organization and intuitive user interface makes these resources easily accessible to students. They can use its segments on themed collections, California Cultures, and JARDA: Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives.

Tom Lantos archive donated to the Bancroft Library

Tom Lantos “The papers of the late Tom Lantos of California, a leading champion of human rights and the only Holocaust survivor to serve in the U.S. Congress, are now part of the University of California, Berkeley’s Bancroft Library.

The materials reflect how Lantos’s lifelong dedication to human justice sprung from his remarkable early experience: the loss of his family to the Holocaust, his escape from a forced labor camp in his native Hungary during World War II; and his participation as a youth in the Nazi resistance. Years after emigrating from post-war Communist Hungary to the United States, he became known as an outspoken defender of 21st century human rights around the globe, from Sudan and Tibet to Central Europe and the former Soviet Union.” – Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations

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Bancroft exhibit focuses on SF Examiner Archive

Twenty-five Years in Black & White, a slice of San Francisco Bay Area history from 1935 to 1960, just opened at the University of California, Berkeley, with more than 100 photos from The Bancroft Library’s Fang Family San Francisco Examiner Archive.

The images depict the era at either end of World War II, the House of Representatives’ Un-American Activities Committee hearings in the ’50s held at San Francisco City Hall, Japanese-American internment, the Great Depression and migrant workers, the controversial Caryl Chessman execution, pro- and anti-Nazi rallies in San Francisco, labor unrest, the signing of the United Nations charter and an ever-vibrant arts scene.

Each photo was culled from a treasure trove of about 3.5 million photographic negatives and 500,000 prints donated to the campus’s Bancroft Library in 2006. The Examiner has published continuously since the mid-1800s and around the turn of the century was known as the ‘Monarch of the Dailies.'” – Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations

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Bancroft Exhibit on ABC 7 News

Old Photo Negatives Come Back to Life
An Interview with Jack von Euw, Curator of The Bancroft Library Pictorial Collection

“If you would like to take a journey through Bay Area history, you might want to try U.C. Berkeley’s Bancroft Library. There is a collection of photographs that can take you through it all.

A newspaper in a box on the street captures a moment in time. Every day on page one, there is at least a picture. However, what is news today becomes old tomorrow, until someone like Jack Von Eau of U.C. Berkeley’s Bancroft Library views those pictures from a distance in time.

“I probably looked at several thousand,” says Jack.” – Wayne Freedman, ABC7

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The Bancroft Move in the News

“On an afternoon this week, a truck maneuvered its way through the crowds of students traversing UC Berkeley, making its way to the center of the campus.

It lumbered to a stop outside the dramatically refurbished Bancroft Library, where a library employee watched carefully as carts started rumbling off like cattle. Like particularly valuable cattle.

The university is about halfway through its 11-week move back into the Bancroft, where three years and millions of dollars worth of renovations are giving some of the world’s rarest books and manuscripts — including a 400-year-old Shakespeare collection, and Mark Twain’s letters — a significantly classier home than they had before.” – Matt Krupnick, Contra Costa Times

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