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Writing Themselves into History : Emily and Matilda Bancroft in Journals and Letters

Writing Themselves into History : Emily and Matilda Bancroft in Journals and Letters

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A window into the world of nineteenth-century California, from two women who experienced it firsthand. In the early years of California's statehood, Emily Brist Ketchum Bancroft (1834-1869) and Matilda Coley Griffing Bancroft (1848-1910) had front-row seats to the unfolding of the Golden State's history. The first and second wives of historian extraordinaire Hubert Howe Bancroft, these two women were deeply engaged members of society and perceptive chroniclers of their times, and they left behind extensive records of their lives and work. Writing Themselves into History offers a rich immersion in nineteenth-century California, detailing Emily's and Matilda's experiences with public life, motherhood, and business against the backdrop of San Francisco's high society and the state's growth amidst the tumult of the American Civil War. The book also highlights Matilda's significant involvement in Hubert Howe's trailblazing research on the history of the American West-including her work collecting oral histories from women members of the LDS Church-and her evocative descriptions of travels throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Kim Bancroft's commentary offers historical context and points up Emily's and Matilda's keen insights, and she pays special attention to the two women's complex and nuanced portraits of gender, race, and class in the nineteenth-century West. This book is a valuable resource for American West and women's studies scholars, and for anyone with an interest in California's first decades as a state.

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Author/s: Bancroft, Kim

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