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

Processed by The Bancroft Library staff
The Bancroft Library.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
© 1997, 2013
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

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

Collection number: BANC MSS C-R 18

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Processed by:
The Bancroft Library staff
Encoded by:
Xiuzhi Zhou
Revised and re-encoded by:
Lara Michels
© 1997, 2013 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

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: 
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: .

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.


Series 1:  Correspondence. circa 1933-1958

Physical Description: Carton 1, folder 1-16
Carton 1, Folder 14

General Correspondence, circa 1933-1958

Carton 1, Folder 15

California State Archives correspondence and other items, circa 1945-1955

Carton 1, Folder 16

Assorted responses to reference queries, circa 1945-1955


Series 2:  California History Subject Files. circa 1940-1965

Physical Description: Carton 1, folder 17-26; carton 2-6; carton 7, folder 1-31
Carton 1, Folder 17-26, Carton 2, Folder 1-21, Oversize Folder 5

California private land grants (manuscripts, notes, and correspondence) circa 1945-1955

Scope and Content Note

Includes manuscripts of Bowman's The California Private Land Granting and Land Grants and Bowman's Index to Witnesses in the California Private Land Grant Cases as well as notes on land grants and cases. There are also other files on land grants and land grant records scattered throughout this series of subject files. See for example, carton 4, folders 22-23, 36; carton 5, folders 14, 24; and carton 6, folders 1, 3, and 16 for manuscripts, notes and correspondence that illuminate Bowman's investigations into the land records of California.
Carton 2, Folder 22

Burial of Antonio del Valle in 1841 (correspondence)

Carton 2, Folder 23

Expediente 311(correspondence)

Carton 2, Folder 24-25

Parochial Books of the California missions (manuscripts, correspondence, notes)

Carton 2, Folder 26

Cattle brand used at Mission La Purisima Conception (correspondence)

Carton 2, Folder 27-28

Relationship of private land grant cases in the U. S. District Court, S. F. to American sovereignty to the Pacific Coast and off-shore islands (manuscripts and correspondence)

Carton 2, Folder 29

Dates of various editions of Mariano Galvan Rivera's Ordenanzas de Tierras y Aguas, 1936-1948.

Carton 2, Folder 30

Vara staffs at Bancroft Library (correspondence)

Carton 2, Folder 31

Provincial fanega (correspondence)

Carton 2, Folder 32-37, Carton 3, Folder 1-3

Peralta family and their homesites (correspondence, manuscripts, and notes)

Carton 3, Folder 4

Santa Clara Mission (correspondence)

Carton 3, Folder 5

Juana Briones de Miranda (correspondence and other materials)

Carton 3, Folder 5a

Length of the old Mexican vara

Carton 3, Folder 6

Sonoma fanega measure (notes)

Carton 3, Folder 7

Birthdays of California's urban communities

Carton 3, Folder 8

List California governors

Carton 3, Folder 9-12

General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo and family (manuscripts, notes, correspondence).

Carton 3, Folder 13

The birthday of San Francisco (correspondence)

Carton 3, Folder 14

The Comenzada dates of the California missions.

Carton 3, Folder 14

The names of the California missions.

Carton 3, Folder 15

The date when Francisca bacame Benicia (manuscript and correspondence)

Carton 3, Folder 16

Peter Lassen (manuscript)

Carton 3, Folder 17

Periodization of the history of California agriculture (manuscript and notes)

Carton 3, Folder 18

The area of Rancho Ulpines Sobrante (manuscript)

Carton 3, Folder 19

The area of Rancho Suscol (manuscript)

Carton 3, Folder 20

The Schools of Provincial California (manuscript)

Carton 3, Folder 21-22

Vancouver's Anchorage in San Francisco Bay (manuscript and notes)1792.

Carton 3, Folder 23

The Great Seal Press of California of 1849. and the Hand Seal Press in the Office of the Secretary of State (manuscripts)

Carton 3, Folder 24

Burnt Brick from the Reservoir of the Polin Spring in the San Francisco Presidio and the Second Site of Mission Santa Clara (manuscripts

Carton 3, Folder 25-35, Oversize Folder 1-2

Captain Jean Jacques Vioget (manuscripts, notes, correspondence)

Carton 3, Folder 36

Capitol building (gold ball, seal above, contents of cornerstone, level of surrounding streets) (manuscripts)

Carton 3, Folder 37

On the boundaries of The Delta, Sacramento Valley, San Joaquin Valley (memo)

Carton 3, Folder 38

The Last Changes of California County Seats

Carton 3, Folder 39

Incorporation Date of Martinez

Carton 3, Folder 40

The California County Making the Largest Proportionate Contribution to the Washington Monument, Nov. 6, 1860.

Carton 3, Folder 41-44

The Population of Provincial California (manuscripts, notes, correspondence)

Carton 3, Folder 45

July 7, 1846 as the Terminal Date Of the Mexican Regime (manuscript)

Carton 3, Folder 46

The El Camino Real Traditional (manuscript)

Carton 3, Folder 47

George Davidson and the Introduction of the California Quail into Washington (manuscript)

Carton 3, Folder 48

The Date when Yerba Buena Became San Francisco (manuscript)

Carton 3, Folder 49

The Resident Neophytes (Existentes) of the California Missions (manuscript)

Carton 3, Folder 50

Gubernatorial papers in California State Archives (manuscript)

Carton 3, Folder 51

The Writer of the Secretary of State's Day Book, 1851-1856.

Carton 3, Folder 52

Irrigation in provincial California (correspondence)

Carton 3, Folder 53

The Number of California Indians Baptized during the Mission Period 1770-1834. (manuscript)

Carton 3, Folder 54

La Puente (manuscript)

Carton 3, Folder 55-56

The Bridges of Provincial California

Carton 3, Folder 57

Missions (correspondence)

Carton 3, Folder 58

De Guadalupe (manuscript, correspondence)

Carton 4, Folder 1

The State Archives and the California State Government (manuscript)

Carton 4, Folder 2

The Vara de Burgos (manuscript and correspondence)

Carton 4, Folder 3

"Surveyor of the Seas The Life and Voyages of Captain George Vancouver," by Bern Anderson (book review)

Carton 4, Folder 4

Die Lansgemeinde at Altdorf, Canton, Uri, May 6, 1900.

Carton 4, Folder 5-6

The Migrations of the California Capitol, 1851 to 1854 (manuscript)

Carton 4, Folder 7-8

The Vineyards of Provincial California (manuscript and correspondence)

Carton 4, Folder 9

Wheat Rust During the Spanish Era in California

Carton 4, Folder 10

Journalism. [Attempt to establish School of Journalism at University of California, Berkeley]

Carton 4, Folder 11

Sheldon-Daylor grant and "store" (manuscript)

Carton 4, Folder 12

Patriotism on the Pacific Coast (manuscript)

Carton 4, Folder 13

Richardson map (or Torres-Breen map) and the Burns-Breen Map of Yerba Buena of 1835 (correspondence)

Carton 4, Folder 14

Libraries of Calif. Before 1846.

Carton 4, Folder 15-16

Agricultural Statistical (manuscript and correspondence)

Carton 4, Folder 17-19

California Weights and Measures (manuscript, correspondence, notes)

Carton 4, Folder 20-21

Urban Birthdays (manuscript, correspondence, notes)

Carton 4, Folder 22-23

Spanish Archives (correspondence and notes)

Carton 4, Folder 24-27

San Francisco Early Maps and Forts (manuscripts, correspondence, notes)

Carton 4, Folder 28

Quesesosi (manuscript and correspondence)

Carton 4, Folder 29-30

O'Farrell Swing (manuscript and notes)

Carton 4, Folder 31-33

Mission Lands (manuscripts, correspondence, notes)

Carton 4, Folder 34-35

Lost Toma de Razon (manuscripts, correspondence, notes)

Carton 4, Folder 36

Land Grant Papers in National Archives (manuscripts and correspondence)

Carton 4, Folder 37

Gold Placer in California (correspondence)

Carton 4, Folder 38

Valentine Grant and Scrip (correspondence)

Carton 4, Folder 39

W. J. Bowen (correspondence)

Carton 5, Folder 1

Mt. Diablo Base Line (correspondence)

Carton 5, Folder 2

W. P. Toler (correspondence)

Carton 5, Folder 3

Rosa de Castilla

Carton 5, Folder 4-9

Juan Bautista de Anza

Carton 5, Folder 10

Lincoln's Birthplace Cabin (correspondence and other materials)

Carton 5, Folder 11

The Gold Spike of 1876 and 1887 (manuscript)

Carton 5, Folder 12

James H. Coleman - U. S. District Court, S.D. (1858-59) (correspondence)

Carton 5, Folder 13

Calistoga Centennial (correspondence)

Carton 5, Folder 14

Land Grants - Californla (correspondence)

Carton 5, Folder 15

Introduction of Prunes (correspondence)

Carton 5, Folder 16-20

Adobe Houses in Bay Counties (manuscripts, correspondence, notes)

Carton 5, Folder 21

The Santa Barbara Channel and the Public Domain, including some correspondence re the Disturnell Map of 1847

Carton 5, Folder 22

The Pacific Association of Scientific Societies (manuscript)

Carton 5, Folder 23

The First Modern Land Survey in California (manuscript)

Carton 5, Folder 24

The Court Cases and Records of the Private Land Grants of Callfornia (manuscript)

Carton 5, Folder 25

Diseño of Rancho Rio Ojotoka (manuscript)

Carton 5, Folder 26

Microfilms of California Missions - Checklist

Carton 5, Folder 27

The Eastern Headland of Drake's Bay (manuscript)

Carton 5, Folder 28

California Land Claims: Maps - a description of the volume in the California State Library

Carton 5, Folder 29-30

The Founding Date of the University of California (manuscript and notes)

Carton 5, Folder 31

Proposal to establish California Historical Rose Garden (correspondence)

Carton 5, Folder 32-33

The First Site and the Founding Date of Mission Dolores (manuscript and notes)

Carton 5, Folder 34

Identification of California Governors buried in the missions (correspondence)

Carton 5, Folder 35

Laguna do los Dolores (manuscript)

Carton 5, Folder 36-42

Human Nature (manuscripts and notes)

Carton 6, Folder 1

The Private Land Grant Cases 1906 to the Present (manuscript and correspondence)

Carton 6, Folder 2

Description of leather jackets of Spanish and Mexican soldiers (correspondence)

Carton 6, Folder 3

Transfer of land grant records from Glendale, Calif. to National Archives (correspondence)

Carton 6, Folder 4

An American Historical Association -Pacific Coast Branch (correspondence)

Carton 6, Folder 5

Filming case 846 SD in U.S. District Court Clerk's Office (correspondence)

Carton 6, Folder 6-7

The Indians and the California Private Land Grants (manuscript)

Carton 6, Folder 8

Von Schmidt survey of Now Helvetia

Portfolio 1

Inland waters and seaward boundaries of the state of California (correspondence and related papers)

Carton 6, Folder 9

Correspondence re location and reproduction of the letter, Dec. 16, 1961, from El Presidente Municipal, Arizpe, to the Governor of California

Carton 6, Folder 10

Material relating to the Bojorques and Salazar families, gathered by one of the descendents, Roger Rehm

Carton 6, Folder 11

Diary of James Ainsa (transcription)

Carton 6, Folder 12

On the Trail of Provincial Traditions re El Polin Spring (manuscript)

Carton 6, Folder 13

Letter, Feb. 6, 1968, from W.W. Daris, Jr., Chief of Archives, Calif., re Micheltorena's memo of Oct. 21, 1843 relation to Expediente 340 in Land Case 339 N.D. Enclosure: photocopy of the memo

Carton 6, Folder 14

How We Think: a protogomina to Dewey's How We Think

Carton 6, Folder 15, Oversize Folder 4

Maps of the Missions and Ranchos as claimed by the Catholic Church

Carton 6, Folder 16

Index of Spanish Land Grant of Documents S.N. Bowman's Notes on Index to the Land Cases (manuscript)

Carton 6, Folder 17-18

The Date of Sutter's Landing at Sacramento(manuscript, correspondence, notes)

Carton 6, Folder 19

Bidwell maps (notes)

Carton 6, Folder 20

History of the Provincial Archives of California (manuscript)

Carton 6, Folder 21-25

California agriculture (notes)

Carton 6, Folder 26-30

Missions (notes and correspondence)

Carton 6, Folder 31

Provincial California (manuscripts and correspondence)

Carton 6, Folder 32-33

Domestic Animals of Provincial California (manuscripts and correspondence)

Carton 6, Folder 34-35

Roads of Provincial California (manuscripts and notes)

Carton 6, Folder 36

Earthquake of 1812 (notes)

Carton 6, Folder 37

Ranchos in Alameda County West of the Hills (manuscripts and correspondence)

Carton 6, Folder 38

The State Colors (manuscript)

Carton 6, Folder 39

La Rosa de Castilla (manuscript)

Carton 6, Folder 40

The Period of Transition from Spanish-Mexican to American-California (manuscript)

Carton 6, Folder 41

The Estacada in the Presidio(manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 1

The Birth of the Pacific (as an international sea) (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 2

The Birthdays of the California Missions (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 3-5

California Landmarks (reports) 1932-1943

Carton 7, Folder 3-5

California Landmarks (reports)

Carton 7, Folder 6

Traditions of the California Spanish Land Grants (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 7

The Names of the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 8

The Elusive Rio Jesus Maria (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 9

Early Castros of Northern Alta California (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 10

Report on Trips to Mission Santa Barbara and Mission Santa Clara (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 11

First Wharf in San Francisco (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 12

The Three Centers of the Beginning of San Francisco (manuscript and notes)

Carton 7, Folder 13

Birthdays in Provincial California (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 14

Rio Ojostka -- American River ( manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 15

Notes on Flax and Linen in Provincial California ( manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 16

The Population of Early Berkeley ( manuscript and notes)

Carton 7, Folder 17

Sub-Committee on the Method of Estimating Intercensal Population for California (report), 1932

Carton 7, Folder 18

The Question of the Western Boundary of California in the Constitutional Convention of 1849 (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 19

The First Map of Sacramento Valley and The Second Map of Sacramento Valley (manuscripts)

Carton 7, Folder 20

Mexico's Attempted Purchase of New Helvetica (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 21

The Old Course of Mission Creek in San Francisco (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 22

July 7, 1846 as the Terminal Date of the Mexican Regime (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 23

Date of the Beginning and Completion of the State Capitol (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 24

Adobe Bricks of Mission Purisima Concepcion (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 25

Ojo de Agua de Figueroa (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 26

The Sandridge between California and Pine Streets (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 27-28

The Selection of the Townsite of San Francisco (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 29

Early Maps and Surveys of Yerba Buena (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 30

Founding of Los Angeles (notes)

Carton 7, Folder 31

Rufus Hopkins (notes)


Series 3:  Personalia and other papers. circa 1940-1965

Physical Description: Carton 7, folder 32-
Carton 7, Folder 32

University Days (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 33

Reminiscences of U.C., 1906- (manuscript)

Carton 7, Folder 34

University of California correspondence and other materials from syllabus project

Carton 7, Folder 35, Oversize Folder 3

Course diaries, honors, and diplomas for University of Leipzig and University of Heidelberg, 1896-1900

Carton 7, Folder 36

Cabinet card photographs of Bowman's teachers in Germany, circa 1896-1900

Carton 7, Folder 37

Kosmos Club,

Volume 1

Physical Demands and Capacities Analysis (publication of the War Manpower Commission for the benefit of the shipbuilding industry in 1944),

Carton 7, Folder 38

Other writings,