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Guide to the Hittell Family Papers, 1855-1916
BANC MSS C-B 405  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Brief Family History

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Hittell Family Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1855-1916
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 405
    Origination: Hittell family
    Extent: Number of containers: 6 cartons, 1 box, 1 volume Linear feet: ca. 9
    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.
    Abstract: Primarily papers of lawyer and author Theodore H. Hittell--letters, journal of voyage to California, 1855, biographical sketches, legal papers, and MSS of his writings (including unpublished account of Walker's Nicaragua filibuster and history of California Academy of Sciences); some papers of his wife, Elise Wiehe Hittell, including a few items pertaining to Ladies' Silk Culture Society of California; some papers of his brother, John Shertzer Hittell, journalist and author (a few letters and MSS, notes, financial papers, etc.); and miscellaneous papers of other members of the family.
    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], Hittell family papers, BANC MSS C-B 405, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Related Collections

    • Title: Hittell family papers: additions, 1869-1925,
      Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 70/37 c,
      -gift of Mrs. Edwin Grabhorn, April 1969.
    • Additional papers of Theodore Hittell are in the Sutro Library, San Francisco.

    Material Cataloged Separately

    • Briefs of cases in which Theodore Hittell was attorney (see book catalog under his name)
    • Identifier/Call Number: Portraits 12653-12667
    • Statement of William T. Coleman on the Vigilance Committee (cataloged as
      Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS C-D 181 A
    • Memorandum written for Hittell by John Clar (cataloged as
      Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS C-B 1064

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Hittell family papers were given to the Bancroft Library by Elgin T. Hittell and Mrs. Franklin Hittell, 1948-1950. Two items were added in August 1962, purchased from John Howell Books. The papers are described in the Key to Arrangement.

    Brief Family History

    The Hittell family papers consist primarily of the papers of Theodore Henry Hittell, but include also some papers of his wife, Elise Wiehe Hittell; his brother, John Shertzer Hittell; and other members of the family.
    Both Theodore (1830-1917) and John (1825-1901) were born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Ohio. Both received good educations, John graduating from Miami University and Theodore, from Yale. In 1849 John joined the gold rush to California, settling in San Francisco in 1852 and working for the Alta California.Theodore began the practice of law in Hamilton, Ohio, in 1852, but in 1855, he followed his brother to California. Settling also in San Francisco, he began as a newspaperman, joining the staff of the Bulletin, but in 1862, he again took up the practice of law, handling many famous cases involving land titles. Both men also took up writing careers. Much of John's work was on guide books and almanacs done for Hubert H. Bancroft's publishing house. Among his best known works are A History of the City of San Francisco and Incidentally of the State of California (1878); The Resources of California (1867); and The Commerce and Industries of the Pacific Coast of North America (1882). Theodore's first published work was The Adventures of James Capen Adams (1860), and was followed by several contributions to law literature and by his History of California (4 v., 1885-97).
    In 1858 Theodore married Elise Wiehe, who was active in the California Academy of Sciences, and one of the founders of the San Francisco Foundling Asylum and of the Ladies Silk Culture Society of California. They had four children, of whom three survived. John never married.