Roundtable: Dangerous Ground: Squatters, Statesman, and the Rupture of American Democracy

May 19th
12:00 PM
Lewis-Latimer Room, The Faculty Club

Led by John Suvaldoctoral candidate, History, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Squatters were a persistent frontier presence from the earliest days of the United States, but in the Jacksonian and antebellum periods these illegal settlers emerged as political and cultural lightning rods. Why? This talk explores how squatters in the expanding West came to occupy a central place in U.S. political culture, territorial conquests, and conflicts leading up to the Civil War. California was a particularly violent and disruptive proving ground of squatter politics, and a primary focus of the discussion.


The Papyrus in the Crocodile: 150 Years of Exploration, Excavation, Collection, and Stewardship at Berkeley

The Papyrus in the Crocodile: 150 Years of Exploration, Excavation, Collection, and Stewardship at Berkeley
May 6th – July 29, 2016
The Bancroft Library Gallery
Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm

The collections assembled by Berkeley’s patrons and collectors over the last 150 years form the foundation of many of the university’s academic disciplines. This unprecedented exhibition, sponsored by the Mellon Foundation and co-curated by graduate students from the History of Art Department, brings together materials from The Bancroft Library, the Hearst Museum of Anthropology, the Environmental Design Archives, the C. V. Starr East Asian Library, the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, and the Berkeley Art Museum.

Image courtesy of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley.


Roundtable: The Historical Background of the New Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Please join us for the first Bancroft Library Roundtable of the spring semester! It will take place in the Lewis-Latimer Room of The Faculty Club at noon on Thursday, February 18. Ann Harlow, an independent scholar, will present “The Historical Background of the New Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.”

Ann Harlow will speak about the rocky road the University of California has been on in developing art museums from the 1870s to today. She will show images of the various buildings where art has been exhibited, as well as others that were imagined on paper but never built. Ms. Harlow is the former director of the art museum at Saint Mary?s College, author of an article on the beginnings of San Francisco?s art museums, and curator of the current exhibition at the Berkeley Historical Society, ?Art Capital of the West?: Real and Imagined Art Museums and Galleries in Berkeley. She has used Bancroft resources for all of these projects as well as her book-in-progress, a dual biography of art patron Albert Bender and artist Anne Bremer.

We hope to see you there. The talks are free and open to the public.


Bancroft now accepting applications for 2016 Fellowships and Awards

Application deadline is February 1, 2016 by 5pm. Submission instructions can be viewed here. See individual awards pages for details on eligibility and scope of funds.

The Bancroft Library Study Award assists advanced graduate students and is funded by the Friends of the Bancroft Library.

The Gunther Barth Fellowships supports undergraduate or graduate students researching the 19th-century history of the North American West.

The Reese Fellowship, available to qualified researchers, supports work relating to either systematic bibliography of any part of the Western Hemisphere, or any investigation of the history of the book in the Americas.

The Arthur J. Quinn Memorial Fellowships, established in memory of Professor of Rhetoric Arthur Quinn (1942-1997), support research by doctoral candidates in the history of California.

The Robert E. Levinson Fellowship, available to qualified researchers, supports original research relating to the depth and breadth of the Jewish experience in California from 1848 to 1915.

The Hill-Shumate Book Collecting Prize was established by Kenneth E. Hill and Albert Shumate to encourage Berkeley undergraduate students to collect books.

Center for the Tebtunis Papyri Travel Support provides grants to graduate students for travel to conference presentations and excavations related to papyrological study.


New Exhibition: The Grandeur of a Great Labor: The Building of the Panama Canal and the Panama-Pacific International Exposition

October 21, 2015 – February 26, 2016
The Bancroft Library Gallery
Monday – Friday, 10am-4pm

With highlights from the rich collections of The Bancroft Library, the exhibition examines the building of the Panama Canal and the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, the fair that celebrated the canal?s opening and the rise of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake and fire. Exploring the grand endeavors of both enterprises, this centennial exhibition illustrates the global impact of the canal and of San Francisco?s emergence on the national and world stage, as well as the broad human effort that was required to realize both achievements.


Roundtable: Whiskerology, the Meaning of Hair in Nineteenth-Century America

Join us for the first Bancroft Library Roundtable of the 2015-2016 academic year, taking place in The Faculty Club at noon on Thursday, September 17.  Sarah Gold McBride, doctoral candidate in history at UC Berkeley, will present “Whiskerology: The Meaning of Hair in Nineteenth-Century America.”

Please note: This month, we will meet in the O’Neill Room of The Faculty Club.

In 1846, a New Orleans Picayune reporter proposed a new branch of natural science that, he argued, could provide scientists with reliable evidence of a person’s genuine identity. He called this new field “whiskerology,” the scientific study of facial hair. Though this idea may never have moved beyond the level of suggestion, the Picayune reporter represented a common belief among nineteenth-century Americans: that hair could expose the truth about the person from whose body it grew. Using evidence drawn from across American life – including scientific findings, legal practice, slavery, popular art, immigration debates, and agitation for women’s rights – this talk will explore how nineteenth-century Americans understood the meaning of hair. It was not just a means of creative self-expression, as it would come to function in the twentieth century. Instead, it was understood to be a trustworthy method to quickly classify a stranger – to know if someone was trustworthy, or courageous, or criminally inclined. Studying hair in historical context allows us to better understand how nineteenth-century Americans made sense of the increasingly modern society in which they lived.