San Francisco: The History Company, Publishers, 1889. Hardcover. 808pp. Thick octavo [23.5 cm] Brown cloth covered boards with a gilt stamped title on the spine. Recent endsheets and flyleaves. Good. Ex-library, with only subtle library markings. The spine and covers are mildly rubbed, and the covers are gently bowed. There are two large areas of light glue staining on the mildly rolled spine, and there are multiple tiny splits in the cloth at the ends of the spine. The edges of the text block are slightly darkened and scratched. Library numbers on the copyright page. The text block is beginning to crack at p. 369. Yellowed pages. Item #30957
Bancroft had formed a large collection of source materials on the history of the American West and decided to write the definitive work on the subject. He employed assistants to prepare statements of the facts for large sections of the proposed history. Originally, he intended to use these statements as the basis of a narrative from his own hand, but as the work progressed he came to use them with slight changes. We have his own word that the assistants were capable investigators and there is independent evidence to show that some of them deserved his confidence. Bancroft considered himself the author of the series. According to Howes: "Colossal co-operative undertaking; nothing approaching it has ever been attempted in this country"