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Finding Aid to the George P. Hammond Papers, 1913-1992, bulk 1920-1985
BANC MSS 70/89  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: George P. Hammond papers
    Date (inclusive): 1913-1992,
    Date (bulk): bulk 1920-1985
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 70/89
    Creators : Hammond, George P. (George Peter), 1896-1993
    Extent: Number of containers: 59 cartons, 3 boxes, 5 file-boxes, 3 oversize folders Linear feet: 62
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: The George P. Hammond Papers document the life and career of a Southwestern U.S. historian, who was director of the Bancroft Library from 1946-1965, and who wrote and published numerous books based on Spanish documents, as well as the history of California.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English, Spanish and Danish
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html .
    Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], George P. Hammond Papers, BANC MSS 70/89, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.

    Related Collections

    Documents relating to Navajo Indians (BANC MSS C-A 401)
    Carrie Nelson Hammond diaries, 1922-1997 (BANC MSS 2000/124)
    Working files for the Book Club of California's 1948 Keepsake publication, Letters of the Gold Discovery (BANC MSS 92/13)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Oñate, Juan de, 1549-1624
    Larkin, Thomas Oliver, 1802-1858
    Weber, Charles David Maria, 1814-1881
    Barclay, Alexander, 1810-1855
    Archivo General de Indias
    Archivo General de la Nación (Mexico)
    New Mexico--History
    Southwest, New--History
    Manuscripts for publication.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The George P. Hammond Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by George Hammond in 1970. Additions were made over the remaining years of his life; the last addition came from his daughters in 2002.


    No additions are expected.

    System of Arrangement

    Arranged to the folder level.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Anastasia Karel, Arcadia Falcone, Rachel Gulbraa, and Mia Ouranitsas in 2008-2009.

    Biographical Information

    George Peter Hammond was born on September 19, 1896 in Hutchinson, Minnesota, and spent the first 13 years of his life in Kenmare, North Dakota. In 1909 his family moved to California; they arrived in Fresno but shortly thereafter settled on a plot of land in nearby Caruthers. While his parents and older brother worked on the family's farm, Hammond attended the local grammar school, followed by high school in the town of Easton, eight miles away. He graduated in 1916 and started college at Berkeley in the fall of that year. At the beginning of his junior year (in Jan. 1919, due to World War I), he chose to pursue the study of Western American history and became one of Herbert Eugene Bolton's students. He also worked at the Bancroft Library for two hours a day. By attending summer school in 1919, Hammond was able to graduate with his class in the spring of 1920.
    By the following year Hammond had not only completed his Master's degree in history, but also earned a teaching certificate from the University of California. Instead of becoming a teacher, however, Hammond took Bolton's advice to pursue further graduate work and became a teaching fellow in the History Department. Prior to this term, in August 1921, Hammond married Carrie Nelson, with whom he would have four children. After a year working with Bolton, Hammond was awarded the Native Sons of the Golden West Fellowship, which offered him the chance to study in Europe for a year (1922-1923). He spent this time primarily in the Archivo General de Indias doing research on Don Juan de Oñate and New Mexico, the subjects of his PhD. dissertation.
    Hammond's doctorate was put on hold when Bolton urged him to accept a teaching position at the University of North Dakota. It was here that Hammond met Agapito Rey, a fellow historian with whom he would write multiple works. In the summer of 1924 Hammond finished his Ph.D., and after a second year teaching in North Dakota, accepted a more rewarding position at the University of Arizona. This post also lasted two years, and in the spring of 1927, the University of Southern California beckoned. While at USC, Hammond formed the Quivira Society, a group of scholars with the mission to publish rare Spanish documents. Another highlight from this period was his semester-long sabbatical in Mexico in 1933, where he photographed many documents in the Archivo General de la Nación.
    Another opportunity presented itself in 1935, this time at the University of New Mexico, where Hammond was offered a multifaceted position as Professor of History and Head of the History Department, as well as Dean of the Graduate School. This position lasted for ten years, during which time Hammond also worked for the state's Historical Records Survey (1936-1939), and was an active member of the Coronado Cuarto Centennial Celebration (1940).
    While on sabbatical from UNM in 1945-1946, Hammond was offered the directorship of the Bancroft Library. Over the course of the next twenty years he dramatically changed the nature of the library by acquiring collections, establishing formal policies and procedures, and fundraising through the Friends of the Bancroft Library, an organization created a month after he arrived. Although Hammond officially retired in 1965, he maintained an office as Director Emeritus until the late 1980s. He went to Spain on a Fulbright grant (1965-1967), continued to research and write, and remained active with the Friends of the Bancroft Library. Hammond passed away on December 3, 1993 at the age of 97.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The George P. Hammond Papers consist of five series: Research Materials, Correspondence, Professional Activities, Writings, and Personal. Correspondence was found in all parts of the collection, and while the bulk of it is in Series 2, some letters were filed with the appropriate subject. Personal materials were also scattered, often mixed with correspondence or professional materials from the same year. Hammond documented virtually every part of his life and career, and then wrote about it in his memoirs, which offers researchers a wealth of information on life in California and the Southwest during the first half of the twentieth century. The only activity not well-documented is his work with the Historical Records Survey in New Mexico.