HIST 7B: The United States from Civil War to Present

Contact Your Librarians

  • Theresa Salazar and Teresa Mora
  • Office Hours: by appointment
  • Office Location: The Bancroft Library
  • Contact Info:

    510-643-8153/ 510-643-7163

About the Collection

Presenters: Theresa Salazar; Teresa Mora

Reference questions can be directed to: bancref@library.berkeley.edu

The Bancroft Library is the primary special collections library at the University of California, Berkeley. One of the largest and most heavily used libraries of manuscripts, rare books, and unique materials in the United States, Bancroft supports major research and instructional activities and plays a leading role in the development of the University's research collections.

The Free Speech Movement Records

This collection consists of materials created or collected by the Free Speech Movement (FSM) organization. The FSM, created in the fall of 1964 to protest administrative efforts to curb political activities on the Berkeley campus, disbanded in April 1965. The collection documents the formation of the FSM as well as its daily operation through leaflets, notebooks, letters, logs, petitions, and orders for phonograph records, buttons, and bumper stickers

Records of the Office of the Chancellor, University of California Berkeley

Series II: Student Revolts and Related Issues

This series contains material on various student protest movements from 1964 to 1972 and the administrative response to those movements. Also included are extensive files pertaining to the Board of Educational Development and its intent to address curriculum issues and to institute experimental courses.

What to Expect

Before you go:

1.  Be prepared! Read secondary sources and know something about your topic.

2.  Search OskiCat so you can bring call numbers with you. Use the  pull-down menu in OskiCat to limit your search to the Bancroft Library only. (Remember that there are primary sources in many other campus libraries as well.)

3.  Learn about the Bancroft's policies: read about Access (bring a quarter for lockers) and Registration (bring two pieces of ID).  You may want to read about the new camera policy ($10/day, no flash) or about getting photocopies.


How to Get to the Bancroft Library:

The Bancroft is open from 10am to 5pm Monday-Friday (closed on weekends and holidays; shorter hours during Intersession).  Paging ends 30 minutes before closing and materials must be returned 15 minutes before closing. If you want to use Bancroft materials you need to arrive and request your materials at the circulation desk before 4:30pm.

The Bancroft Library is on the second floor of Doe, on the east side (the side closest to the Campanile). See a floor plan of Doe Library 2nd floor.


During your visit:

  1. Store your belongings in the lockers provided, located on the right-hand side of the east entrance. Pass the security guard station and proceed up one level by stairs or elevator to the Reading Room and Seminar Rooms (3rd floor).
  2. Check in at the Registration Desk, located on the left-hand side of the entrance to the Reference Center.
  3. Go to the Circulation Desk, where you will fill out a form for the items you need. The items will be paged and brought to you. (Remember to bring call numbers, titles, etc. with you!)
  4. For research-related questions, ask for assistance at the Reference Desk.


Obtaining Copies of Materials:

Photocopies- all photocopying is done by Bancroft staff and not all material may be photocopied. Photocopies will be available for pick-up the day after they are ordered and cost either .30 or .60/ page. Detailed information on ordering photocopies can be found at http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/dsu/policies.html#manuscript.

Photographs- you may take photographs of materials in the reading room after registering to do so and paying a fee of $10/ day. You may take as many photos as you wish that day. See http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/info/camera.html for information on using a camera in the reading room.


Finding Primary Sources in Oskicat and on the OAC


Some things to remember:

Archival collections are NOT cataloged at the item level. Just because you can't find a catalog record for a letter from Alice Waters to Dianne Kennedy doesn't mean the letter doesn't exist. Searching for Alice Waters as the author in Oskicat takes you to the catalog record for the Chez Panisse Records.

Now click the link to the OAC finding aid


Which brings you to an online version of the Finding Aid to the collection




Now try searching for "Dianne Kennedy" in the Finding Aid

Kennedy search


Not only does the finding aid show you there is correspondence between Waters and Kennedy now you know where to find it (Box 1, folder 17).

Where to Look

Electronic access- All formats can be searched on Oskicat (the University of California Berkeley Library’s online catalog). The catalog description will include information about the creator, extent of collection, subjects, any restrictions as to use, collection specific notes, and also will indicate location of material (onsite, NRLF). More extensive groupings of materials, including manuscripts and pictorial material may have detailed finding aids that will provide more detailed information about the contents of the collection.

Finding aids

Because manuscript and archival collections are often quite voluminous and contain unique materials, a finding aid, e.g., inventory, box list, or other summary of the intellectual organization of the collection is often available to help a researcher determine the contents of the materials. Finding aids provide an overview of how the collection is organized. It often includes a biographical or historical note about the creator, a scope and content note about what is in the collection, and a container listing. Most of these are available online at the Online Archive of California. If an online version of the finding aid does exist you will see a link to it in the catalog record. Print copies of the finding aids are also kept in the Reading Room of the Bancroft Library.

Online Archive of California (OAC)

The Online Archive of California is a digital information resource that facilitates and provides access to materials such as manuscripts, photographs, and works of art held in libraries, museums, archives, and other institutions across California. The OAC includes a single, searchable database of "finding aids" to primary sources and to their digital facsimiles which are selectively available. Describing primary sources in detail, finding aids are the guides and inventories to collections in archives, museums, libraries and historical societies. Access to the finding aid is essential for understanding the content of a collection and for determining whether it is likely to satisfy your research needs.

For more information on using the Finding Aids on the OAC see: http://oac.cdlib.org/help/detailedhelp.html#guides.


Calisphere is the University of California's free gateway to primary sources. More than 150,000 digitized items, including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other cultural artifacts, reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history. Calisphere's content has been selected from the libraries and museums of the UC campuses, and from a variety of cultural heritage organizations. Calisphere includes digital images of material available via the OAC and provides easy access to material via its straightforward keyword searching option.

For more information on primary resources see:  http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/instruct/guides/primarysources.html

Manuscripts and Archives- Definitions


Archive and manuscript materials consist of a wide variety of forms, many requiring special conditions of use. They typically comprise correspondence, diaries, case files, business records, memoranda, circulars and other unpublished textual records. They may also, however, contain documents published in the course of organizational activities, such as reports, directories, posters, or advertisements. Modern archives also include photographs, films, sound recordings, microfilm, and increasingly electronic records. (The Bancroft Library processes and catalogs the different formats as separate groupings of materials – e.g. manuscript material is separated from pictorial materials.)


Archives:  The records of any corporate body, government agency, or group as well as records produced by an individual working for such an organization, created or accumulated in the course of daily activities, and saved by the creator because they are useful for continuing administration and activities of the organization and may be useful for later research, as they provide a vital historical record of the organization. (Examples of such records are: Calif. Dept. of Industrial Relations, Division of Immigration and Housing Records, Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Records, Records of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)

Historical and literary manuscripts:  The papers of  an individual, family, or a subject collection. Like archives, manuscript collections reflect the daily activities of the individuals represented in the collection. These materials are also collected by repositories because of their potential research value in reflecting the wide range of cultural, social, and political activities. (Examples of such records are: A. L. (Alfred Louis) Kroeber Papers, Carey McWilliams Papers, Vallejo Family Papers)

Pictorial Materials: Consists of photographs, paintings, prints, drawings, postcards, posters, etc. that provide visual documentation of a subject.

Oral Histories: The Regional Oral History Office is part of The Bancroft Library, and has many of their oral histories available on line: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/ROHO/collections/subjectarea/index.html

Online Archival Resources

Primary Sources

In addition to The Bancroft Library, primary sources can be found via a variety of library tools:

For specific search strategies, see the Library's Guide to Finding Historical Primary Sources

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