UC Berkeley Library

Donating to Bancroft

Content section: 

Donating to Bancroft

A History of Donor Support

Types of Financial Gifts

            Endowments

            Current Projects

A Guide to Donating Collections

            What to Preserve

            Privacy and Copyright

            Tax Deductions

Whom Do I Contact?

A History of Donor Support

For more than a century, dedicated donors have made The Bancroft Library more than it could ever have been if its only support had come from the state.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Phoebe Apperson Hearst funded an archaeological expedition to Egypt that brought back the collection of texts now housed in Bancroft’s Center for the Tebtunis Papyri.  These precious fragments provide rare day-to-day information about life in Fayum Egypt. Many of them were preserved as the wrappings of mummified crocodiles.

Only a few years later, Hubert Howe Bancroft himself contributed $100,000 to help enable the University to buy his fabulous collection of books, manuscripts, maps, and transcribed interviews with original settlers of the American West, which form the core collection of the institution that bears his name today.

In 1956, University Regent James Moffitt donated his book collection and set up an endowment in memory of his wife to maintain and build the collection. As a result Bancroft has a significant collection of works by the Roman poet Horace, one of Moffitt's passions.

Samuel L. Clemens's daughter, Clara Clemens Gabrilowitsch Samossoud, generously donated his private papers in 1949 to form the massive core of the world-renowned Mark Twain Papers & Project.

In 1972, Robert Bransten (of the B in MJB Coffee) donated his collection of 81 rare books on the history of coffee and tea and an endowment to maintain the collection, which now numbers nearly 400 titles. Thanks to his generosity, Bancroft's collection about coffee is among the best and most heavily used.

One of the great donors to Bancroft as the 20th century drew to a close was Jean Factor Stone, widow of novelist Irving Stone.  She donated not only her husband's manuscripts and correspondence, but also his research library and nearly 500 editions and translations of his books. The seminar room that she funded to house these materials is one of Bancroft’s most sought-after teaching spaces. Mrs. Stone, who was a terrific fundraiser, encouraged others to donate by telling them, “The Bancroft Library is offering you a little bit of eternity.”

Contributions to Bancroft support the acquisition, preservation, display, and study of priceless and irreplaceable pieces of our heritage.

Types of Financial Gifts

Gifts come in many forms: archives, books, scrapbooks, cash, stocks, and estate planning. The Bancroft Library staff is happy to provide information about various ways of making gifts:

  • Donation to enable a purchase
  • Donation of personal books, paintings, family papers
  • Establishment of a fund, named by the donor to help create, expand, process, or support research on a collection

Endowments

In a very real sense, endowments are the gifts that keep on giving. The University has exercised laudable stewardship of its endowment funds.  Endowments can fund acquisition and restoration of collections, improvements and upkeep of the building, library fellowships and prizes, staff positions, and general support. The James D. Hart Directorship of The Bancroft Library is an endowment from Norman Strouse.

Current Projects

Gifts for current projects let donors see their contributions at work, meeting Bancroft’s immediate needs. Recent Gilbert Foundation grants have funded the processing of remarkable archival collections that are now open for the first time to researchers. A challenge gift from the Anglo-California Foundation recently prompted more than two dozen other donors to join forces to begin an endowment for the Center for the Tebtunis Papyri. Current-use gifts also support a number of annual Study Awards for students working with Bancroft collections.

A Guide to Donating Collections

The Bancroft Library is dedicated to the preservation of collections of written, visual, audio, and electronic records that are related to California, the American West, Mexico, and Latin America.  These records include diaries, letters, scrapbooks and other documents of many types; paintings, posters, and plans; as well as documentation of recent times such as photographs, film, and computer hard drives.

What to Preserve

Archival records generally fall into two main groups: records of private individuals and the records of organizations.

The former includes correspondence, legal and financial documents, diaries, scrapbooks, and an array of memorabilia. Such records may span several generations. Many people underestimate the importance of the records that may be stored in their attics or basements. Lives both extraordinary and common help historians to piece together the past. 

The records of organizations—such as businesses, churches, clubs, and professional organizations—usually include correspondence, reports, minutes, financial and legal papers, printed material, and other documentation. 

Privacy and Copyright

  • The Bancroft Library prefers to receive donations as gifts in which, at a minimum, property rights are transferred to the Regents of the University of California.
  • Researchers using records often wish to quote in their publications from materials they have examined at Bancroft. We ask donors to include copyright in their gifts in order to save researchers the difficulty of identifying, locating, and securing from numerous copyright holders permission to quote, as well as to save donors the need to answer such requests. Copyright should be discussed with the Curator during negotiation of the gift.
  • Sensitive material in a collection should be discussed with a Bancroft Curator during the negotiation of the gift. Although Bancroft strives to make all records open to the public, it will agree to close a portion of a collection for a finite period in order to protect the privacy of a donor and third-party confidences.

Tax Deductions

It may be possible for the donors of some materials to claim a tax deduction for the value of their gifts. Here are some initial guidelines:

  • The value of materials donated by their creators is not currently tax deductible, although such deductions may be made by their heirs or estates.
  • Those who wish to use the value, if any, of their materials as a tax deduction should discuss the matter with the Curator and their tax advisor at the time of the negotiation of the gift.
  • An appraisal of the value by an independent appraiser would be required for tax purposes. This issue should also be discussed with the Curator.

Whom Do I Contact?

If you are interested in donating collections to The Bancroft Library, initial contact should be made with:

Steven Black, (510) 642-1320

Bonnie Bearden, (510) 642-8171

If you are interested in planning a current or future gift to The Bancroft Library, initial contact should be made with:

David Duer, 510 642-6795