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Guide to the Drawings of Indians and California Scenery
BANC PIC 1980.022--A  
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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: Drawings of Indians and California scenery
    Date (inclusive): circa 1851-1854.
    Collection number: BANC PIC 1980.022--A
    Creator: Brown, Henry B., fl. 1850-1859.
    Extent: 53 drawings and 26 hand-drawn copies after original drawings : b&w ; various sizes. 67 digital objects
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Abstract: Includes images of mining camps, mining activities and local Native American peoples chiefly from areas around Sacramento, Marysville, Nevada City, Shasta City and Coloma.
    Languages represented: Collection materials are in English and Spanish
    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


    RESTRICTED ORIGINAL DRAWINGS. Use of originals only by permission of the appropriate curator. Inquiries concerning these materials should be directed, in writing, to the Curator of Pictorial Collections, The Bancroft Library. Please use digital facsimiles when possible.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or reproduce must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
    Copyright 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], Drawings of Indians and California Scenery, BANC PIC 1980.022: [item number]--PIC, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    Digital reproductions of items are available.

    Related Collections

    Henry B. Brown papers, 1851-1853.

    BANC MSS 80/54 c
    C. Hart Merriam papers

    BANC MSS 80/18

    (Notes related to Henry B. Brown and John Russell Bartlett in Carton 19, folder 52 and 58 and in Carton 18, Folder 123)
    Drawings by Henry Box Brown [sic], 1851-1852

    The Huntington Library (mssHM 62464 (1-43))
    Henry B. Brown letters to Susannah Calhoun

    California Historical Society (CHS MS 231)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Bartlett, John Russell, 1805-1886.
    Indians of North America -- California -- Pictorial works.
    Mines and mineral resources -- California -- Pictorial works.
    Ranches -- California -- Pictorial works.
    California -- Pictorial works.
    Shasta, Mount (Calif. : Mountain) -- Pictorial works.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Henry B. Brown drawings, along with a small amount of related correspondence, were received by The Bancroft Library with the papers of C. Hart Merriam in 1979. Merriam acquired the Brown material from an unknown source prior to 1966. Related Brown drawings were retained by Merriam family members at the time Merriam's papers were give to the library. In 2000 these drawings were acquired by the Huntington Library, San Marino, Calif.


    Additional material is not expected.

    Processing Information

    The Drawings of Indians and California scenery were processed for digitization by LuAnn Sleeper and Mary W. Elings as part of the California Cultures project. The digitization was carried out by the Digital Imaging Lab at UC Berkeley.

    Biographical Information

    Henry B. Brown is believed to have been born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in January 1816. In the early 1840s, Brown worked as a portraitist, engraver, and illustrator. Brown arrived by ship in San Francisco in May 1851 and set up residence in the Post Office building where he began working for postmaster Jacob Bailey Moore. In late 1851, Brown left San Francisco to tour the California countryside, making illustrations of scenery and points of historical interest. Brown travelled through mining camps and settlements along the Yuba River east of Marysville, and in the vicinity of Grass Valley and Nevada City.
    In 1852, John Russell Bartlett, Commissioner of the United States and Mexican Boundary Commission, was introduced to Brown by Jacob Bailey Moore. Bartlett commissioned Brown to gather information on native languages and create drawings and sketches of California scenery and the various Indian peoples and their activities. Throughout 1852, Brown travelled up the Sacramento River valley to Shasta City capturing images and local vocabularies for Bartlett.
    In 1854, several of Brown's drawing were published in Bartlett's Personal Narrative of Explorations and Incidents in Texas, New Mexico, California, Sonora, and Chihuahua . From 1854 to 1859 Brown resided in Bermuda and in 1856 was appointed U.S. Consul for Bermuda. He resigned three years later and nothing was heard of him again.
    Several 20th century biographical dictionaries of American artists conflate Henry B. Brown's identity with both New England artist Harrison B. Brown and escaped slave and abolitionist Henry Box Brown. The research of Dr. Thomas C. Blackburn in preparation of a study of Henry B. Brown and his California drawings has largely untangled this confusion, and is the basis of the preceding biographical sketch.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The drawings are mainly by Henry B. Brown with a few by J.R. Bartlett. The collection includes some copy photos "by Merriam" of Brown's drawings. Subject matter includes images of mining camps, mining activities and local Native American peoples chiefly from areas around Sacramento, Marysville, Nevada City, Shasta City and Coloma.
    Views of and relating to Indians show native peoples, including the Nisenan, of the Sacramento area doing various chores (mending nets, etc.), Simmon Peña Storms who served as an interpretor and Indian Agent near Grass Valley, stacks of acorns in Colusa County, Yuba [Uba] River Indians gambling, Chino Indians near Munroe's, a Chino village, etc. Other drawings depict Reddings Ranch near Mt. Shasta, Sierra Nevada views from Sacramento, Grass Valley scenes, mine diggings near Nevada City, Mt. Shasta and vicinity, etc.