Keepsake 52: Personal Memoranda

Personal Memoranda: Samuel Hopkins Willey: The Journal of His Voyage to California, 1848-1849
By Samuel Hopkins Willey
Edited by James M. Spitze

Personal Memoranda

In mid November of 1848, a 27-year-old Congregational Minister was "informed" by the American Board for Home Missions that he had been called to California and was to board a steamer leaving from New York City on December 1st. Less than three months later, on February 23, 1849, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Hopkins Willey stepped ashore in Monterey from the steamer California. From that moment till his death sixty-five years later, Sam Willey was a leading force in the founding of our state's educational structure. The institutions that he helped to found include today's San Francisco Public School System, Mills College, The Hamlin School, and — certainly his supreme achievement — The University of California.

For over a hundred years, the Bancroft Library has possessed both his on-the-spot diary of the voyage on the steamer California and a much longer recollection (written in 1877) of his entire trip to California — first on the steamer Fulton, then on canoe and mule-back across the Isthmus of Panama, and then via the steamer California up the coast to Monterey. The recollection ends with a wonderful description of his first several months in Monterey, mentioning the many now famous people he worked with — Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, William Tecumseh Sherman, and thirty or so more.

Our Friends Keepsake 52 publishes for the first time these two fascinating documents along with an extensive introduction and numerous period illustrations — all from the Bancroft Library's collections. Surely, our Keepsake is a long overdue tribute to Cal's long-forgotten founder.

To purchase a copy of our non-Keepsake soft cover version, please visit the Bancroft Store

Ira Nowinski’s San Francisco

Ira Nowinski's San Francisco

By Ira Nowinski

In this book, three faces of San Francisco are gloriously brought to life: the vibrant beat poet scene of North Beach, the defiant tenants of South of Market’s bygone residential hotels, and the electrifying energy backstage and onstage at the San Francisco Opera. Famous or not, Nowinski’s subjects dominate page after page in richly textured black and white relief. Included also are poems from the beat poets and written accounts of anti-redevelopment activists, and luminaries such as Leontyne Price give even further insight into the people Nowinski has photographed.

*To order this exquisite publication, please visit Heyday Books' website:



By Rose Marie Beebe & Robert M. Senkewicz

From the editors of the highly influential Lands of Promise and Despair, here are thirteen women’s firsthand accounts from the time California was part of Spain and Mexico. Having lived through the gold rush and seen their country change so drastically, these women understood the need to tell the full story of the people and the places that were their California. Some of their words are translated here into English for the first time.

*To order this exquisite publication, please visit Heyday Books' website:

Past Tents: The Way We Camped

Past Tents: The Way We Camped

Past Tents: The Way We Camped
Edited by Susan Snyder

From the award-winning author of Bear in Mind: The California Grizzly comes this lighter look at Americans’ infatuation with the great outdoors. Mining once again the vast archives at The Bancroft Library, Susan Snyder has mapped out this cheeky yet accurate history of camping in the West.

Full of photographs and descriptions of family outings in the first years of the automobile, of campgrounds and campfires against the familiar backdrop of the Sierra Nevada, of the remarkable gear and "helpful" hints that accompanied outings to our newly minted state and national parks and forests, Past Tents is a humorous romp through one of our favorite pastimes. Easy to pick up, hard to put down, it’s the perfect gift for anyone who’s ever been in the thrall of redwoods, s’mores, and Smokey the Bear.

For additional information, book reviews, and to purchase the volume, please visit:

Exploring The Bancroft Library

Exploring The Bancroft Library

Co-edited by Charles Faulhaber and Stephen Vincent.

In this centennial guide, readers are introduced to the day-to-day life of an institution devoted to the collection, preservation, and study of original documents. From an in-depth look at the way material is acquired and conserved to chapters by individual curators on the history and highlights of the collections entrusted to their care, Exploring the Bancroft Library celebrates Bancroft's one hundred years on the Berkeley campus.

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Available from:
Signature Books cloth edition $39.95, paper edition $29.95