Scope and Content of Series
Series 1) CORRESPONDENCE & PORTRAIT: Bound volumes of letters and one portrait. The first group contains letters from the
first wife of Hubert Howe Bancroft, Emily, to her family. The first volume of letters date from 1844-1868, the period prior
to and after Mrs. Bancroft's marriage. Topics covered in the letters include Emily's schooling at Miss Porter's in Farmington,
Connecticut, and Emily's married life in California. Included is a sample of Mrs. Bancroft's calling cards and sketches of
floor-plans of her various homes.
The second volume contains letters from Emily Bancroft to her family, 1859-1869. Topics include daily events in family members'
lives in Buffalo, the beginnings of the Civil War, and religious beliefs. Most letters reflect the extremely close relationship
between Emily and her family. The letters in this volume are not in chronological order.
The third volume of letters are from Emily Bancroft to her sister, Mrs. Kate Coit, and date from 1860-1869. The letters detail
Emily's life in California, her travels, and her illnesses. Included are such topics as home management, child-rearing, and
Emily's love of singing lessons. Letters from 1866 to 1868 describe Emily's travels in Europe with her husband. In the last
letters before her death, in December 1869, Mrs. Bancroft discusses her illness and her expectation of having a child in February
of 1870. The letters in this volume were not bound in chronological order.
Another group of letters were written by Emily's daughter, Kate, to Kate's father, Hubert Howe Bancroft. These letters are
bound into one volume and date from 1873 to 1882. An occasional letter to "Mama," Kate's stepmother (Mrs. Matilda Griffing
Bancroft) can also be found in this volume. One undated letter addressed to "My Dear Darling Angel" may not have been intended
for Kate's father or mother.
In the early letters, Kate describes her activities and schooling in San Francisco (1873), but the bulk of her letters were
written during her two-year stay in Europe, 1880-1882. During this European tour Kate studied German, French, and voice. Her
letters, which are most expressive, reveal Kate as an insecure young woman with little self-esteem, who worshipped her father
and desperately sought his approval. Her letters also describe how her family (which included her aunt Liss and uncle Albert
Bancroft, with whom she travelled much of the time) spied on and gossiped about her. Kate also discusses her tremendous desire
to become a professional singer and reveals her budding romance. Included in this volume is a program from the Roman Carnival,
The portrait is of an unidentified gentleman.