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Guide to the Bennet Riley Papers, 1849
BANC MSS C-A 118  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Scope and Content
  • Biography

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Bennet Riley Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1849
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-A 118
    Creator: Riley, Bennet, 1787-1853
    Extent: Number of containers: 2 volumes
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. 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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Bennet Riley papers, BANC MSS C-A 118, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Scope and Content

    The papers in this collection come from various sources. Those in v.1 are originals, five of them purchased from Gelber-Lilienthal by subscription in June 1935. Though the source of the sixth document is unknown, it perhaps came from the Cowan Collection. Some items in v.2 were purchased from John Howell, December 12, 1947; some came from the T. W. Norris collection. Sources, when known, have been noted on the folders. Most of the papers are documents issued while Riley was governor of California. Some were signed for him or countersigned by Henry Wager Halleck, Secretary of State.


    Bennet Riley, born in Virginia in 1787, early became a soldier, rising to the rank of Colonel by 1840 and General by 1849. He fought in Florida, distinguished himself in the Mexican war, particularly in the battle of Cerro Gordo. At the end of the war, in the spring of 1849, he was sent to command the Pacific department, with headquarters at Monterey. Appointed military governor of California, he proposed a convention for the purpose of forming a state constitution. He resigned when this was accomplished, staying on at Monterey until July 1850. He then resumed regular army life until his death in Buffalo, New York, in 1853.