UC Berkeley Library

Online Exhibits

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The following are digital representations of past physical exhibitions sponsored by The Bancroft Library.  For a full list of previous exhibitions, please visit Past Bancroft Exhibits.

Mark Twain in the West

Samuel Clemens spent much of the years 1861–1866 in Nevada Territory and California. Selections from his letters, notebooks, autobiographical dictations, and scrapbooks, as well as mining deeds and photographs, give an inside look at some of the experiences, people, and places that provided material for stories and literary works throughout his career. This online exhibit is based on the exhibition created for the Seventh International Conference on the State of Mark Twain Studies held at Elmira College, in August 2013.

Fiat Lux Redux: Ansel Adams and Clark Kerr

The Bancroft Library is pleased to present the online companion exhibit to Fiat Lux Redux: Ansel Adams and Clark Kerr, which opened in The Bancroft Gallery on September 27, 2012. Featuring photographs of the University of California System in the 1960s by legendary photographer Ansel Adams, these photographs — commissioned by former UC President Clark Kerr, and published in the 1967 book Fiat Lux which celebrated the educational system's centennial — offer a rarely seen look at the evolution of the renowned University of California system through the eye of a master photographer best known for his iconic California landscapes. The online exhibit also showcases related archival materials about the controversial Kerr himself, and the evolution of his ideas and ideals.

Shrouded in Mysteries: The Dark Underbelly of the Golden Gate Bridge

In honor the 75th anniversary of the official opening of the Golden Gate Bridge, The Bancroft Library is pleased to present Shrouded in Mysteries, a guided tour of the bridge as depicted on the covers of mystery, detective, and crime novels.  Within just a few short years of its opening to traffic on May 28, 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge began appearing on the covers of San Francisco mysteries. The earliest known depiction of the bridge on a mystery novel occurred in 1940, on the cover of John Mersereau's Murder Loves Company. Since then, the span has been featured on dozens of books. With its grace and beauty, and as the Bay Area's iconic landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge immediately connects the reader to the setting of the story. Just as the physical bridge is often shrouded in fog, the image of the bridge is now shrouded with the stories told in these fictional mysteries. 

A Place at the Table: A Gathering of LGBT Text, Image & Voice

You have been invited to a grand party. Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas are your hosts. Gathered in one room are over 150 years of Americans embodying a rainbow of diversity who have one thing in common: a non-normative sexual orientation. In text, image and voice these Americans have taken their unique and often difficult life experiences and have transmuted them into beautiful and fierce art. In 1919 a Crow Indian named Woman Jim explained life as a berdache in four words: "That is my road." For the LGBT guests at this party — the poets and the novelists, the cartoonists and the classical composers, the drag queens and the blues singers, the starving artists and the superstars — this is their road.

Women at Cal, 1910-1915

In October 1911 California became the sixth state to embrace equal suffrage for women, one of the signal reforms of the Progressive Era. Meanwhile, women in the university were pursuing their academic careers with vigor - and glaring inequality. Although women students had been admitted on an equal basis since 1870, their access to the university's intellectual, social, recreational, and athletic resources was restricted in comparison with men. Drawn primarily from the University Archives' collections, this exhibition examines the status of women on campus in this critical period.

A Centennial Celebration: California Women and the Vote

With material drawn from collections held in The Bancroft Library, this exhibit celebrates the centennial anniversary of woman suffrage in California. Brought to light are the faces of the state's suffragists, many from the Bay Area, along with those of the movement's support and opposition. This exhibit also illustrates the suffragists' vigorous campaign to rally votes for their cause, as well as the media frenzy to predict the election's final outcome.

"I am bound to stick awhile longer"—The California Gold Rush Experience

The title for this exhibit — "I am bound to stick awhile longer" — is taken from a gold rush letter sent by N.A. Chandler, from the diggings at Michigan Hill. It expresses something of the hope and persistence of these early miners, working against hard odds yet drawn on by the gleam of gold. Through journals, letters, emigrant guides and other early accounts of the gold fields, photographs, lettersheets, sheet music, maps, lithographs, drawings and other pictorial materials, the exhibit presents the experience of those affected by the gold rush during the early years of discovery and first diggings, 1848 through 1853.

Mark Twain at Play

Mark Twain was a hardworking and prolific writer, but how did he spend his time when the "bread-and-butter element" was put aside and he was free to relax and amuse himself? This exhibition brings together manuscripts, documents, notebooks, albums, vintage photographs, and other artifacts from The Bancroft Library's Mark Twain Papers. It was the inaugural exhibition (October 2008-April 2009) in the new exhibit space within the retrofitted and renovated Bancroft Library.

The Foundations of Anthropology at the University of California

This exhibit tells the story of the key individuals and events driving the establishment of an academic program in 1901 that within a few decades achieved worldwide stature. Based on the exhibition The Foundations of Anthropology in California, 1901-1960, held in the Bancroft Library Gallery in 2002, this online exhibit draws on the extensive collection of records, documents, and images held by The Bancroft Library including departmental records and faculty papers. A few items have been lent by other institutions, most notably several audio and video clips provided by the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology.

Breaking Through: A Century of Physics at Berkeley

This exhibit showcases more than 100 images (and accompanying text) of documents, correspondence, photographs, and published materials drawn from Bancroft's extensive history of science collections of books, faculty papers, and departmental records. This online exhibit is a virtual representation of the Bancroft Gallery exhibition of the same name that was held in 2004, and includes additional digitized full text and multimedia relating to J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project.

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire

Created for the 100th anniversary of this disaster, the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Digital Collection includes an online exhibit, the ability to search and browse the collections, an interactive map of the city of San Francisco, and the presentation of a 360-degree panoramic view of the ruined city. A list of resources for further study is also provided. Some 14,000 digital images and 7,000 pages of text documents from various libraries and archives throughout the state have been prepared for this digital collection.

Bear in Mind: The California Grizzly at The Bancroft Library

Here is the brief history of the California Grizzly through the eyes and voices of the narrators of its demise; the story of the eradication of a species and its reinvention as the proud and ubiquitous emblem of our state. This virtual exhibit offers digital reproductions of rare and unique materials on display at The Bancroft Library in 2002. In addition to more than one hundred and fifty digital images and related texts, the online exhibit includes links to online resources about the California Grizzly Bear as well as a digital reproduction of "A Walking Tour of the Berkeley Bears," a campus map of bear statues and artwork found throughout the university's grounds.

Looking Backward, Looking Forward: Visions of the Golden State

This online exhibit looks at four key events and celebrations in California during the last 150 years of statehood and examines a few aspects of California's unique development, noting accomplishments as well as a few missteps. The exhibit begins with the Constitutional Convention and California's campaign for statehood in 1850; then looks at two grand world's fairs: The Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915 and The Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939; and ends with the celebration of California First Days, 1962-63, when California overtook New York as the most populous state in the Union. California has been perceived by many as the embodiment of "progress," a place that not only looks towards the future but also shapes it.

Building Bancroft: The Evolution of a Library

This exhibit presents the documentary history of The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, tracing the library's development from its beginnings as the personal collection of businessman and historian Hubert Howe Bancroft to its current role as one of the premiere archival and special collections repositories in the nation. Documents, photographs, illustrations, and other materials offer an introduction to more than one hundred and fifty years in the life of The Bancroft Library.

The University at the Turn of the Century: 1899-1900

The year 1899 pushed the University of California into the twentieth century in more ways than just on the calendar: it laid the groundwork for the campus we recognize today, physically as well as academically. The exhibit focuses especially on two events of 1899 that brought about a major change: the arrival of Benjamin Ide Wheeler as president and the completion of the Phoebe Hearst Architectural Competition for the University of California. This online exhibit is based on an exhibition displayed at Doe Library in 1999.

Images of Native Americans

Presenting a selection of visual materials relating to Native Americans, the panorama of images selected includes illustrations from rare books, pamphlets, journals, pulp magazines, newspapers, and ephemera in addition to selections of original photographs, including stereographs, lantern slides, and cyanotypes. The diverse scholarly treasures represented in this exhibition include materials that reflect European interpretations of Native Americans, scientific and anthropological research, United States military surveys, images of popular culture, literary and political observations, and artistic representations. This digital exhibit offers several enhancements to the original exhibition of 2000, including additional images and text, a timeline to facilitate the viewing of materials in a chronological sequence, and a checklist of exhibit items.

Bioscience and Biotechnology in History

1998 marked the 25th anniversary of the development of recombinant DNA by Stanley N. Cohen of Stanford University and Herbert W. Boyer of the University of California, San Francisco. The Bioscience and Biotechnology in History exhibit celebrates this discovery and suggests its broad implications for science, society, and industry. It also provides a glimpse of bioscience research and discovery at Berkeley preceding the recombinant DNA revolution, as documented in the archives and oral histories of four prominent scientists: Karl Meyer, Melvin Calvin, Wendell Stanley, and Gunther Stent.

Bridging the Bay: Bridging the Campus

This exhibit includes books, documents, architectural drawings and renderings, blueprints, artifacts, maps, and photographs. The bridges documented include the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the Carquinez Bridge, the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, the Antioch Bridge, and the Dumbarton Bridge. The exhibit also contains documents detailing Bay Area bridge projects that were seriously considered, but were never built.

The Lehmer Family at Berkeley

The professional careers of the Lehmer Family have been intimately tied to the University of California at Berkeley for a century. Derrick Norman Lehmer joined the mathematics faculty at Berkeley in 1900, and later served as Chair of the Department. Son Derrick Henry (Dick, as he was known to friends and family) received a bachelor's degree in Physics at Berkeley, and later continued the Berkeley tradition of the family as professor and Chair of the Mathematics Department. Emma Trotskaia received her B.A. degree in Mathematics from Berkeley with honors in 1928, and met her future husband through his father, her employer in the Mathematics Department. This online exhibit is based upon the exhibition originally displayed at The Lehmer Conference held by the UCB Department of Mathematics in 2000.

Roma Pacifica: The Phoebe Hearst International Architectural Competition and the Berkeley Campus, 1896-1930

In the late 1890s, a focus of special pride was the growing state university in Berkeley. Organized in 1868 as a land-grant institution, it now sought greater stature to match its promise. These aspirations led in many directions, including the international competition held in 1898-99 to determine a master plan for the buildings and setting of the University of California. The patron who made the whole campaign possible with a generous gift in 1896 was the mining and real estate heiress, Phoebe Apperson Hearst, who would become the University's greatest early benefactor. To build this online exhibit, a selection of items were scanned or photographed on site from the original exhibition displayed at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in 2000.

Mark Twain at Large: His Travels Here and Abroad

In 1853, at the age of seventeen, Samuel Langhorne Clemens left his home in Hannibal, Missouri, for his first extended trip. Over the next fifty-seven years he crisscrossed the globe, at first working as an itinerant typesetter in several major eastern cities, then as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River, and later as a prospector and newspaper reporter on the American frontier, where he first used the pseudonym "Mark Twain." Clemens's lifelong habit of travel left both literary and documentary remains: correspondence with people throughout the world, notebooks, lecture texts, hotel bills, invitations, newspaper clippings, mementos, photographs both posed and candid, and unpublished manuscripts, as well as the familiar travel books and articles. This online exhibit showcases many digital reproductions of these treasures.