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Bancroft Library - Women's Collections: Home

Overview of Bancroft's Collections by and about Women

Women's History Collections

For hundreds of years women have given shape to our culture, homes, workplaces, and our lives in California. Women from every walk of life have strengthened and served our state, as landowners, homemakers, basket weavers, educators, entrepreneurs, entertainers, community leaders, inventors, settlers, artists, activists, and scientists. Undaunted by discrimination and closed doors, women opened windows instead, raising their voices for their respective causes and pursuits. We celebrate their tenacity and fortitude, raising our collective voice in honor of these women, whose memories live on in the collections of The Bancroft Library.

The voices of women in Bancroft’s collections send thoughtful, inspiring, and unforgettable messages. Reminiscences of Californio women written during the 1800s join the writings of pioneer women who helped build and develop California in the 19th and 20th centuries. Recorded interviews with suffragist leaders such as Alice Paul partner with the recollections of Japanese American women relocated to internment camps during World War II and the records of powerful women who have come to be known as “Rosie the Riveter.” Additional materials represent noted and anonymous women who contributed to such diverse fields as California’s gold rush, civil rights efforts, politics, the environmental movement, literature, the arts, and the physical sciences.

As we continually add new collections, our collections index is not exhaustive. We will add content periodically.


For further information, please contact The Bancroft Library's reference desk during open hours at 510-642-6481 or email

Curator of Western Americana