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.
When in the early 1870s historian Hubert Howe Bancroft sent interviewers out to gather oral histories from the pre-statehood gentry of California, he didn’t count on one thing: the women. When the men weren’t available, the interviewers collected the stories of the women of the household—almost as an afterthought. These were eventually archived at the University of California, although many were all but forgotten.
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.
Published in collaboration with the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
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