Robert Ernest Cowan was born in Toronto, Canada in 1862. He arrived in San Francisco in 1870 and was best known for the publication
of bibliographies and other works on early California history including: A bibliography of the history of California, 1510-1930, Bibliography of the Chinese question in the United States (with Boutwell Dunlap), and The Spanish press of California, 1833-1845. Robert Ernest Cowan collected a wide-array of materials on early California history that would later form the nucleus of
the UCLA Department of Special Collections's holdings in Californiana. Cowan was a former student at UC Berkeley from 1882-84,
a San Francisco bookseller from 1895-1920, and a librarian for William Andrews Clark, Jr., from 1919-1933. Robert Cowan married
Marie Margaret Fleissner in 1894 and they had one child, Robert Granniss Cowan. Robert Ernest Cowan died in Los Angeles in
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