A bookseller in San Francisco during the Gold Rush, Hubert Howe Bancroft (1832–1918) rose to become the man who would define the early history of California and the West. Creating what he called a “history factory,” he assembled a vast library of over sixty thousand books, maps, letters, and documents; hired scribes to copy material in private hands; employed interviewers to capture the memories of early Spanish and Mexican settlers; and published multiple volumes sold throughout the country by his subscription agents. In 1890 he published an eight-hundred-page autobiography, aptly entitled Literary Industries.
Literary Industries sparkles with the exuberance of nineteenth-century California and introduces us to a man of great complexity and wit. Edited for the modern reader and yet relating the history of the West as it was taking place—and as it was being recorded—Kim Bancroft’s edition of Literary Industries is a joy to read.
From Literary Industries:
“It is a characteristic of some people that they are never satisfied except when they are a little miserable.”
“Men of genius usually are visionary dreamers; they are often as ingenuous as children, likewise as wayward and as petulant. No wonder women cannot endure them.”
“It is perhaps one of the severest trials of an author’s life, first coming in contact with a publisher.”