The Bancroft Survey Project began in February 2008. Funded by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon and the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundations, the survey project is intended to be a simultaneously broad and in-depth survey of all manuscript holdings of the Bancroft Library, which has been collecting for over a century. Four archivists were hired to scour the collections for a three year term, during which they will review the vast myriad of manuscript materials and use a survey instrument designed to gather data on collection scope, subject categories, and physical condition. The survey archivists are Marjorie Bryer, Amy Croft, Dana Miller, and Elia Van Lith, and they are also the authors of this blog.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Oh, Bancroft, brave Bancroft!

Hubert Howe Bancroft Middle School in Los Angeles, Calif., the "home of the cougars," was named after our very own founding father, H.H.B. And the school honors its namesake in its school song, the lyrics for which Amy and I came across when surveying the Hubert Howe Bancroft family papers, BANC MSS, 73/64. Just how the lyrics came to the Bancroft family we'll never know, but we can all be thankful they did.

It's a toss-up for my favorite lines.
After all, what archivist could resist the following lyric?:

"He collected many manuscripts and worked without delay.
To preserve for posterity.
To preserve for posterity."

But the chorus does tug at my heartstrings:

"Oh, Bancroft, brave Bancroft,
'Twas a name known to fame in days of yore;

May it ever be glorious

Till the sun shall climb in the heavens no more."

A note at the bottom of the sheet says the song should be sung to the tune of "Lord Jeffrey Amherst" the fight song of Amherst College. In case you have the irrepressible urge to honor H.H.B. in song, you can get the tune by listening to "Lord Jeffrey" at Just click on the button on the left for "Lord Jeffrey."


--E. Van Lith