Friends of The Bancroft Library

Western Americana collection items on display for a Friends of The Bancroft Library event
Western Americana collection items are put on display for a Friends of The Bancroft Library event in The Bancroft Library. (Photo by Jami Smith for the UC Berkeley Library)

Who we are, what we do

There are about 1,500 of us now who are dedicated to supporting and developing this world-famous University of California, Berkeley, campus collection, which is open without charge to everyone engaged in relevant research.

Only with the Friends contributions has The Bancroft Library been able to augment its limited funds to acquire, preserve, and display rare books, manuscripts, maps, pictures, and other materials. When an important work or collection becomes available, often only the Friends are able to secure its acquisition through a "seed payment" or with a contribution matched by a foundation grant.

The university provides some basic funds to maintain Bancroft, but it cannot furnish all the support Bancroft needs for staffing, acquisitions, and such essential services as conservation, binding rare books, and restoring paintings. The Friends programs of lectures, receptions, exhibitions, and publications are paid for entirely from private contributions.

We ask you to help this important institution by becoming a member of the Friends of The Bancroft Library, and we invite you to participate in its stimulating programs.

Benefits of being a Friend of The Bancroft Library 

As a Friend you will become identified with the work of this great library and keep in touch with its activities through the lively newsletter Bancroftiana.

In addition, for every year that you donate $250 or more, you will receive a Keepsake — a handsomely printed volume or portfolio that is often the first publication of a unique artifact, manuscript, or rare document owned by The Bancroft Library.

To become a member

To become a member, please make a gift to the Friends of The Bancroft Library (check payable to Friends of The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720-6000) or donate online.

More information

Council of Friends

Chair: Robert Gordon Sproul III

Vice Chair: Frederick F. Gregory

Secretary: Charles Faulhaber

Treasurer: Peter Frazier

José Adrián Barragán-Álvarez

Kim Bancroft

B. Bradley Barber

John Briscoe

Candace Caldwell

Christine Campbell

Susan Honeyman Crawford

Narsai David

Brain Delay

Frances Dinkelspiel

Jenny Emerson

Chase Reynolds Ewald

Shelby Gans

J. Keith Gilless

Timothy Hachman

Sophie Hahn

Peter E. Hanff

Deirdre L. Henry

Sheila M. Humphreys

Judy Huret

Krishen Arvind Laetsch

David Y. Lei

Mary E. MacDonald

Alexandra Marston

Jodie Mathies

Paul Robertson

Donald Sarver

Julia Flynn Siler

Camilla Miner Smith

Charles G. Stephenson

James R. Sutton

Daniel Vencill

Dora L. Wang

Brian Van Camp

Milton Von Damm

Advisory Council members

Florence Fang

David P. Gardner

Robert D. Haas

Robert L. Hass

Thelton E. Henderson

Maxine Hong Kingston

Annual meeting

Each spring, the Friends host an annual meeting. It is open to all members of the Friends and their guests.

The luncheon gathering, often held in The Bancroft Library Reading Room, includes a business meeting with reports from the Director of The Bancroft Library, the Chair of the Council of the Friends, the Friends Treasurer, and the Chair of the Friends Nominating Committee.

The Hubert Howe Bancroft Award as well as various graduate and undergraduate fellowships and awards are presented.

2021
Peter Hanff
Deputy Director of The Bancroft Library and an authority on the works of L. Frank Baum

2020
No award given

2019
William Francis Deverell
American Historian and Professor

2018
Gary Kurutz
Author and Executive Director of the California State Library Foundation

2017
Leanne Hinton
Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at Berkeley

2016
William Taylor
Emeritus Professor of Latin American History at Berkeley

2015
Maxine Hong Kingston
Senior Lecturer for Creative Writing at the University of California, Berkeley, awarded the 2014 National Medal of Arts by President Obama

2014
Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. Senkewicz
Professors at Santa Clara University

2013
Wayne Thiebaud
Painter and Professor of Art, UC Davis

2012
Leon F. Litwack
Professor of American History Emeritus, UC Berkeley

2011
Charles B. Faulhaber
Director Emeritus, The Bancroft Library

2010
W. Michael Mathes
Historian of Spain, Mexico, and Baja California

2009
The Lane Family
Sunset Magazine

2008
Malcolm Margolin
Founder and Publisher of Heyday Books

2007
Isabel Allende
Writer

2006
Joan Didion
Writer

2005
Kevin Starr
Historian and California State Librarian

2004
William Barlow
Book Collector, Bibliographer, Bibliophile

2003
Bernard M. Rosenthal
Book Seller and Scholar

2002
John L. Heilbron
Historian of Science and Vice Chancellor Emeritus, UC Berkeley

2001
Willa Baum
Oral Historian

2000
J.S. Holliday
Historian and Author

1998
Jean Stone
Editor and Philanthropist

1997
Michael Harrison
Collector of Western Americana

Recent past speakers

2012
Kim Bancroft
Friends Council Member
"A Speech by Matilda Griffing Bancroft"

2008
Charlie Chin
Artist-in-Residence, Chinese Historical Society of America
"The Guest of the Flower Flag: The Chinese American Experience in the 20th Century"

2007
William Taylor
Professor, UC Berkeley
"Trouble with Miracles in The Bancroft Library: A Mexican Episode"

2006
Kevin Starr
State Librarian Emeritus and University Professor, University of Southern California
"The Bancroft Library: One Hundred Years of Helping California and the West Understand Itself"

2005
Lynne Withey
Director, University of California Press and author
"Abigail Williams and the American Revolution"

2004
Maxine Hong Kingston
Author and Poet
"Poetry and Peace"

2003
Martin Cruz Smith
Author of Gorky Park, Stallion Gate, Havana Bay, December 6, and other novels
"A Conversation with Orville Schell, Dean of the School of Journalism"

2002
Thomas Sanchez
Author of Rabbit Boss, Mile Zero, Zoot-suit Murders, and Day of the Bees
"Native Notes from the Land of Earthquake and Fire: Journey of a California Writer"

2001
David Nasaw
Professor of History, City University of New York
"Biography of a Biography: The Chief: William Randolph Hearst"

2000
Moderator: Michael Krasny
Panelists: Maxine Hong Kingston, Richard Rodriguez, and Al Young
"California Literature in the Twenty-first Century"

List of speakers from 1948-1999

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