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Finding Aid to the J.N. Bowman papers, circa 1890-1965 (bulk 1933-1965)
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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 history.
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.