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Finding Aid to the J.N. Bowman papers, circa 1890-1965 (bulk 1933-1965)
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: J.N. Bowman Papers,
    Date (inclusive): circa 1933-1965
    Date (inclusive): (bulk 1933-1965)
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-R 18
    Creator: Bowman, J. N. (Jacob Neibert), 1875-1968
    Extent: Number of containers: 7 cartons, 5 oversize folders, 1 volume, 1 porfolio (9.5 linear feet)
    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: 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.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    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. 
    Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
    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. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html .

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], J.N. Bowman papers, BANC MSS C-R 18, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Material Cataloged Separately

    • Photographs of J.J. Vioget's grave transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library

    Related Items

    • Related collection: Index of the Spanish-Mexican private land grant records and cases of California (BANC MSS C-R 17).
    • Related collection: Indices to California land cases (BANC MSS C-R 16).
    • Related collection: Indices to California land grants (BANC MSS C-R 15).
    • Related collection: Index to witnesses in United States District Court (Northern District) third party private land grant cases (BANC MSS 67/130 c).
    • Associated collection: Spanish land grant files (or Bowman files) (California State Archives 79-30).

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Bowman, J. N. (Jacob Neibert), 1875-1968--Archives.
    Land grants--California--HIstory
    Land tenure--California--HIstory
    Building, Adobe--California--History
    Weights and measures--California--History
    San Francisco (Calif.)--History

    Administrative Information


    No additions are expected.

    Processing Information

    Additional processing Bancroft Library staff in January 2013.

    Biographical Information

    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.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection consists of correspondence dating from circa 1933 until 1965, California history subject files, and personalia and other papers. The correspondence includes general correspondence as well as a small amount of correspondence (and other material) relating to the California State Archives and some responses to reference queries Bowman received in his position as Historian at the State Archives. The subject files, by far the bulk of the collection, consist of files on a wide range of California history subjects. These subject files might include manuscripts of articles and essays written by Bowman, notes, and correspondence. Of particular note among these subject files are manuscripts, correspondence, and notes documenting Bowman's investigations into the land records of California. Among the personalia are reminiscences and other writings and course diaries, diplomas and other materials relating to Bowman's student days in Germany.