George Bancroft/Bibliography

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A list of key readings about George Bancroft.
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Chronological selection of Bancroft's most important writings

  • Poems. Cambridge, Mass.: Hilliard and Metcalf, 1823.
  • An Oration Delivered on the Fourth of July, 1826, at Northampton, Mass. Northampton, Mass.: T. Watson Shepard, 1826.
  • "Harvard University." North American Review 33, no. 72 (July 1831):216-26. (Published anonymously.)
  • History of the United States, from the Discovery of the American Continent. 10 vols. Boston: Little, Brown, and company, 1834-74. (Numerous editions. The first volume was published with the title A History of the United States, from the Discovery of the American Continent to the Present Time, by Charles Bowen in Boston, 1834).
  • An Oration Delivered Before the Democracy of Springfield and Neighboring Towns, July 4, 1836. Springfield, Mass.: George and Charles Merriam, 1836.
  • Address at Hartford, Before the Delegates to the Democratic Convention of the Young Men of Connecticut, on the Evening of February 18, 1840. Hartford: [n.p.] 1840.
  • The Necessity, the Reality, and the Promise of the Progress of the Human Race: Oration Delivered Before the New York Historical Society, November 20, 1854. New York: New York Historical Society, 1854. (Also in Bancroft's Literary and Historical Miscellanies.)
  • Literary and Historical Miscellanies. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1855.
  • "The Place of Abraham Lincoln in History." Atlantic Monthly 15, no. 92 (June 1865):757-64.
  • Memorial Address on the Life and Character of Abraham Lincoln, Delivered, at the Request of Both Houses of the Congress of America, Before Them, in the House of Representatives at Washington, on the 12th of February, 1866. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1866. (With an appendix on pages 55-69 on the history of Bancroft's oration and additional correspondence on pages 73-80.)
  • History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent. Centenary edition. Thoroughly revised. 6 vols. Boston: Little, Brown, 1876.
  • History of the Formation of the Constitution of the United States of America. 2 vols. New York: D. Appleton, 1882. (The fifth edition appeared 1885. Bancroft incorporated this last great work in the following:)
  • History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent. The Author's Last Revision. 6 vols. New York: D. Appleton, 1883-1885. (So, Bancroft condensed his History over the years.)
  • "Holmes's Life of Emerson." North American Review 140, no. 339 (Feb. 1885):129-43. (A review of one of the most important early biographies of Ralph Waldo Emerson, remarkable not just because of Bancroft's friendship with Emerson, but also because of Bancroft's changed style.)
  • "An Incident in the Life of John Adams." Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine 34, new series, 12, no. 3 (July 1887):434-40. (Recounts Bancroft's visit of John Adams in Quincy.)
  • "Self-Government: Address of Welcome to the American Historical Association." [Delivered on April 27, 1886] Papers of the American Historical Association 2 (1888):7-13.
  • Martin Van Buren to the End of His Public Career. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1889. (A belated campaign biography, so to speak.)
  • Complete books and pamphlets by Bancroft

Selections of Bancroft's letters

  • Howe, Mark Anthony DeWolfe. The Life and Letters of George Bancroft. 2 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1908. (A typical 'Life and Letter'-biography of the time; in a way, still the best biography of Bancroft.) Volume one in QUESTIA See also
  • "Martin Van Buren – George Bancroft Correspondence, 1830-1845." Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society 42 (Oct. 1908-June 1909):381-443.
  • "Correspondence of George Bancroft and Jared Sparks, 1823-1832: Illustrating the Relation Between Editor and Reviewer in the Early Nineteenth Century." Ed. by John Spencer Bassett. Smith College Studies in History 2, no. 2 (Jan. 1917):67-143.

Manuscript collections

  • The largest collection of Bancroft papers is to be found at the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston. Most of his books, his collected documents and excerpts are at the New York Public Library. Large collections are at following institutions: the Library of Congress, the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Mass., and the Cornell University Library. There are also many letters at the Houghton Library, Harvard University.
  • A good booklet on the George Bancroft Papers at Cornell University, which are available on microfilm in seven reels, edited by Herbert Finch, is also available online.

Biographies and other secondary sources

  • Blumenthal, Henry. "George Bancroft in Berlin: 1867-1874." New England Quarterly 37, no. 2 (June 1964):224-41. ISSN: 0028-4866 in JSTOR
  • Buell, Lawrence. New England Literary Culture: From Revolution Through Renaissance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986. (Though not a work on historiography, it is excellent on the background of Bancroft's time, its thought and culture.)
  • Canary, Robert H. George Bancroft. New York: Twayne, 1974. (A short account especially of his historiography with many quotations from Bancroft's unpublished letters.)
  • Davis, Andrew McFarland. George Bancroft. [n.p. 1891] (First in the Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, new series 18 (May 1890-May 1891):355-70.
  • Dawes, N. H., and F. T. Nichols. "Revaluing George Bancroft." New England Quarterly 6, no. 2 (June 1933):278-93. in JSTOR
  • Ellis, George E. "Remarks on the Death of George Bancroft." Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 2nd ser., 6 (1890-91):295-300.
  • Ernest, John Richard. "The Language of Truth: Narrative Strategies in the Histories of William H. Prescott, George Bancroft, and Henry Adams." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Virginia, 1989. DAI 1990 50(10): 3227-A. DA9008176
  • Green, Samuel Swett. George Bancroft. Worcester, Mass.: Press of Charles Hamilton, 1891. (First in the Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 7 (1890-91):237-56.)
  • Handlin, Lilian. George Bancroft: The Intellectual as Democrat. New York: Harper and Row, 1984.
  • Howe, Mark Antony De Wolfe. The Life and Letters of George Bancroft (2 vol 1908) online vol 1' online vol 2
  • Johnson, Edgar Hutchinson, III. "George Bancroft, Slavery, and the American Union." Ph.D. dissertation, Auburn University, 1983.
  • Kraus, Michael. "George Bancroft, 1834-1934." New England Quarterly 7, no. 4 (Dec. 1934):662-86.
  • Levin, David. History as Romantic Art: Bancroft, Prescott, Motley, and Parkman. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1959.
  • Lewis, Merrill. "Organic Metaphor and Edenic Myth in George Bancroft's History of the United States." Journal of the History of Ideas 26, no. 4 (Oct. 1965):587-92. ISSN: 0022-5037. in JSTOR
  • Long, Orie W. Literary Pioneers: Early American Explorers of European Culture. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1935. (Important for the early years.)
  • Long, Orie W. "Goethe and Bancroft." Studies in Philology 28, no. 4 (Oct. 1931):820-29.
  • Lovejoy, B. G. "Authors at Home: vi. George Bancroft at Washington." Critic, new series 3, no. 57, Feb. 7, 1885, 61-62.
  • Lukacs, John. "Bancroft: The Historian as Celebrity." American Heritage 12, no. 6 (Oct. 1961):65-68.
  • Nye, Russel B. George Bancroft: Brahmin Rebel. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1944). (Nye's book won the Pulitzer Prize in the category 'Biography'; the standard account, though without any notes.)
  • Nye, Russel B. "The Religion of George Bancroft." Journal of Religion 19, no. 3 (July 1939): 216-33. in JSTOR
  • Ross, Dorothy. "Historical Consciousness in Nineteenth-Century America." American Historical Review 89, no. 4 (Oct. 1984):909-28. ISSN: 0002-8762. in JSTOR
  • Scheiber, Harry N. "A Jacksonian as Banker and Lobbyist: New Light on George Bancroft." New England Quarterly 37, no. 3 (Sept. 1964):363-72.
  • Sloane, William M. "George Bancroft - in Society, in Politics, in Letters." Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine 33, new series 11 (Nov. 1886-April 1887): 473-87. Online edition
  • Stewart, Watt. "George Bancroft." In The Marcus W. Jernegan Essays in American Historiography 1-24. Ed. by William T. Hutchinson. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1937.
  • Vitzthum, Richard C. "Theme and Method in Bancroft's History of the United States." New England Quarterly 41, no. 3 (Sept. 1968):362-380. ISSN: 0028-4866. in JSTOR
  • Vitzthum, Richard C. The American Compromise: Theme and Method in the Histories of Bancroft, Parkman, and Adams. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1974. (Probably the best comparative study of Bancroft's historical work.)
  • Wish, Harvey. The American Historian: A Social-Intellectual History of the Writing of the American Past. New York: Oxford University Press, 1960. (Chapter 5 on Bancroft.) in QUESTIA