Correspondence, California history subject files, and personalia of Jacob N. Bowman, historian and creator of an important
index to the California land grant and land case records.
Jacob N. Bowman (1875-1968) was born near Greenville, Ohio. He graduated from Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio in 1896 and
then traveled abroad to study history at Heidelberg University and Leipzig University in Germany from 1896 to 1900. Bowman
taught history at Western Washington College, the University of California, Berkeley, and Washington University. From 1948
until 1955, he served as Historian at the California State Archives in Sacramento. In the late 1920s, Bowman became interested
in California's private land grant cases. Difficulty researching in the land grant records prompted Bowman to undertake the
task of updating and revising the index in Judge Ogden Hoffman's 1862 reports on the California land cases, up until then
the main tool for researching these records. The completion of Bowman's more comprehensive index required that he conduct
a complete study of the widely scattered land grant papers. At the time, the land case files from the Board of Land Commissioner's
hearings were in the possession of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. The original Spanish and Mexican government land
records were in the office of the Surveyor General in San Francisco and then in Glendale in 1932. In 1937, these original
Spanish records were ordered to be sent to the National Archives for repair of the fire damage they had suffered in the 1906
San Francisco earthquake. They never returned to California (though a set of certified copies and translations exists at the
State Archives in Sacramento). Bowman always maintained that the accessioning of these records into the National Archives
in Washington was made despite that fact that the District Court judges in San Francisco had requisitioned them to be placed
with the land cases in the court's custody. The land case files from the Board of Land Commissioner's hearings are now on
permanent deposit at the Bancroft Library. In addition to his index, Bowman wrote extensively on many areas of California
Number of containers: 7 cartons, 5 oversize folders, 1 volume, 1 porfolio (9.5 linear feet)
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head
of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The
Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright
owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html.
Collection is open for research.