Finding Aid to the Margaret Wood Bancroft Collection, 1929-1945 LA.2012.0201

Finding aid prepared by Marie Myers
San Diego Natural History Museum Research Library
1788 El Prado, Balboa Park
San Diego, CA 92101

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: San Diego Natural History Museum Research Library
Title: Margaret Wood Bancroft Collection
creator: Bancroft, Margaret Wood, 1893-1986
Identifier/Call Number: LA.2012.0201
Physical Description: 1.0 Linear Feet
Date (inclusive): 1929-1945
Language of Material: English
Abstract: The Margaret Wood Bancroft Collection consists of one box of archival material including correspondence, a photographic album documenting the 1930 expedition cruise of the Gulf of California, an expedition to the Sierra San Pedro Mártir in 1935, manuscript materials, and documents regarding the Bancroft Egg Collection.

Biographical/Historical note

Margaret R. Wood Bancroft, (1883-1986), was an American amateur naturalist who with her husband, ornithologist and oologist Griffing Bancroft, explored the Baja California coastline, documenting bird and wildlife of the region. In 1935, Bancroft led a search for the lost mission of Santa Ysabel in the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir, Baja California.

Conditions Governing Access note

The collection is open to researchers by appointment. Contact the Research Library Director, San Diego Natural History Museum.

Conditions Governing Use note

Copyright may be reserved. Consult the San Diego Natural History Museum Research Library Director for more information.

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], Margaret Wood Bancroft Collection (Archives collection 2012.0201). Research Library, San Diego Natural History Museum.

Related Archival Materials

Margaret Bancroft: a personal portrait : Smith, Virginia M.
Recollection of Hubert Howe Bancroft and the Bancroft family : oral history transcript: and related material, 1977-1980, BANC MSS 80/144 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Baja California Photographs by Griffing Bancroft, UC San Diego Special Collections,

Scope and Contents note

The Margaret Wood Bancroft Collection includes correspondence, manuscript typescript, a scrapbook of clippings and notes, and an annotated photographic album that documenting collecting trips and exploratory travels in Baja California.

Processing Information note

This is an unprocessed collection in the archives of the San Diego Natural History Museum Research Library; not all of the contents of this collection have been fully inventoried. Photographs from the photographic album have been digitized.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Baja California (Mexico : Peninsula) -- Description and travel
Baja California (Mexico : Peninsula) -- Pictorial works
Bancroft Family
Women naturalists -- United States
Field notes
Bancroft, Griffing, 1879-1955
Green, J. Elton (Josiah Elton), 1908-1986
Harbison, Charles F. (Charles Francis), 1904-1989
Huey, Laurence M. (Laurence Markham), 1892-1963
Klauber, Laurence Monroe, 1883-1968
Pierce, Wright M., 1886-1937


Series I - Documents

Box 78, Folder 1

Field notes

Physical Description: 1 spiral notebook

Scope and Contents

"Trip to Baja California," dated April 8, 1940. Handwritten description of trip activities, traveling companions Griffing Bancroft, Laurence Huey, and Charles Harbison.
Box 78, Folder 2

Typescript mss of essay, "Riding An Elephant Seal," by Margaret Wood Bancroft ca 1931

Scope and Contents

Original and copy typescripts of 8-page essay. Includes news clipping of Max Miller column (San Diego Sun, 7 Mar 1932) that prompted Bancroft to write about her experience on Guadalupe Island.
Box 78, Folder 3

Pasadena (Mexico) article

Scope and Contents

Typescript of Bancroft essay prepared for the Junior League Magazine about Pasadena, Mexico.
Box 78, Folder 4

Text of Laurence Klauber's "A new snake of the genus Sonora from Lower California" 9 May 1943

Scope and Contents

Handwritten text by Laurence Klauber describing Sonora bancroftae sp. now., San Telmo ground snake, named in honor of Margaret Wood Bancroft.
Box 78, Folder 5

Text fragment re Flight of the Least Petrel ca. 1930

Scope and Contents

Typescript fragment of text by Griffing Bancroft's (page numbers 50 through 52) re Sierra San Pedro Mártir.

Series II - Photographs and related materials

Box 78

Photographic album 1923-1931

Margaret Wood Bancroft Album. Baja California, circa 1930

Physical Description: 0.25 Linear Feet


The front cover and all pages of the photographic album have been digitized (2016; flat-bed scanner, 600dpi TIFFs).

Scope and Contents

Hand-made from cowhide with decorative straps, griffin design on back. 47 pages total. 141 photographs, with captions.
Box 78, Folder 6

Photographs and miscellaneous materials 1932-1941

Scope and Contents

One folder of loose photographs (prints). Includes five photos on the taxidermy of an elephant seal specimen; views of La Encantada, Ensenada, and Guadalupe Island, Mexico. Also includes one photograph of a hawk landing on a nest (copyright, ornithologist Wright M. Pierce).
Box 78

Scrapbook 1936

Margaret Wood Bancroft Scrapbook. Baja California, 1934-1935.

Scope and Contents

Scrapbook of Nov-Dec 1935 expedition to Sierra San Pedro Mártir, Baja California, Mexico. Travel companions included Bertie Meling (Mrs. Salvatore Meling), Siebert Nelson, Ignacio Higuera, and Margaret Wood Bancroft. Includes notes, photographs, captions, and two pages of news clippings re manhunt for William Mahan of Weyerhauser kidnapping.

Series III - Correspondence

Box 78, Folder 7 & 8

Correspondence 1932-1951

Physical Description: Some loose and bulk in small mailing envelope

Scope and Contents

Correspondence mostly concerning critical reception and acknowledgement of gift copies of Griffing Bancroft's 1932 book, The Flight of the Least Petrel. Correspondents include Eleanor Roosevelt, James Rolph, Jr. (Governor of California).

Series IV - Flight of the Least Petrel related materials

Box 78, Item OS

Scrapbook of press clippings ca. 1932

Scope and Contents

Bound volume of newspaper clippings re Griffing Bancroft's book, The Flight of the Least Petrel, assembled by or for Mrs. Howard H. Taylor, Houghton-Mifflin.
Box 78, Folder 9

News clippings 1930-1932

Scope and Contents

Two newspaper articles about Bancroft expedition and publication of The Flight of the Least Petrel.
"Local scientists plan expedition down coast." San Diego Union (2 Feb 1930). Describes 5-month planned cruise itinerary of San Benito islands, Magdalena Bay, Cape San Lucas, Les Tres Marias islands, Revilla Gigedo island group, San Blas; s Study participants to include Griffing Bancroft, Margaret Wood Bancroft, A. J. van Rossem, F. S. Rogers, Albert Kroeckel, and J. Elton Green.
"Daring explorers turn adventures into copy." Los Angeles Times (7 Feb 1932).
Box 78, Folder 10

Book catalog, Putnam Books, Spring 1932

Scope and Contents

Softcover book catalog. Includes note re publication of The Flight of the Least Petrel.
Box 78

Photographs to accompany manuscript

Scope and Contents

Two volumes (3-ring binders) of photographs with captions, indexed to mss of The Flight of the Least Petrel. Vol. 1, photograph nos. 1-52; vol. 2, photograph nos. 53-106. Includes list of illustrations (nos. 1-111).