Literary Industries: Chasing a Vanishing West


Paperback, 5.5 x 8.5,
240 pages with 20 black-
and-white photos throughout.
ISBN: 9781597142489.

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By Hubert Howe Bancroft, an abridged edition by Kim Bancroft; Foreword by Kevin Starr; Afterword by Charles Faulhaber


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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Kim Bancroft is a longtime teacher turned editor and writer. She earned a B.A. in English from Stanford, an M.A. in English and a teaching credential from San Francisco State University, and a doctorate in education from UC Berkeley. She has taught at various high schools and community colleges in the Bay Area, at the Universidad de Guanajuato in Mexico, and at Sacramento State. Kim has edited several books, including Ariel: A Memoir by Ariel Parkinson; The Morning the Sun Went Down by Darryl Wilson; and Ruth’s Journey: A Survivor’s Memoir, by Ruth Glasberg Gold. She lives in Willits, California, in a redwood forest and enjoys the nouveau-Thoreau challenges and opportunities of life in a small cabin with a satellite dish on top. She is the great-great-granddaughter of Hubert Howe Bancroft. Read her blog, “Urban Woman’s Guide Back to the Land,” here: urbanwomanbacktoland.blogspot.com.