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At a Glance
Selected materials cataloged; remainder arranged.
Box 1 (original acquisition) includes letters, manuscripts, and memorabilia, including four letters from Columbia professors relating to Bancroft's participation in General Studies Day, May 1977. The manuscripts consist of two diaries, one from 1926-1929, which includes her account of a European trip and a second for 1969; a typescript she prepared for the use of her students in General Studies History 5 in 1941, entitled "The Old Stone Age" (357 p.) with several pen-and-ink sketches of early man; and four notebooks on ancient art taken at a course taught by Professor Richard Brilliant in 1974.
Boxes 2-5 (2021 acquisition) consists of over 1,000 letters, primarily to and from Bancroft's brother Richard, as well as ephemera.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Other Finding Aids
Detailed dealer description for boxes 2-5 available in repository.
Restrictions on Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
Boxes 2-5 are unprocessed, but may be made available without further review. kws 2021-10-22
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Margaret Bancroft papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Ownership and Custodial History
Gift of the estate of Margaret Bancroft (via Gifts & Exchange), 1980.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Source of acquisition--Bancroft, Margaret (via Gifts & Exchange). Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--1980. Accession number--M80.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Surveyed Christina Hilton Fenn 03/27/89.
A basic folder list for boxes 2-5 (2021 purchase) was created by the curator. No further arrangement was done.
2009-06-26 File created.
2012-01-20 XML document instance created by Catherine C. Ricciardi
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
2021-10-22 Basic box list for new addition added. kws
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Margaret Bancroft was born about the year 1891, the daughter of Edward Erastus Bancroft (1858-1950) and his wife Josephine Augusta Given (1857-1924), of Wellesley, Massachusetts. Margaret's father appears to have attended Amherst College and eventually became a physician. Margaret attended the local schools at Wellesley and graduated with an A.B. in 1912 from Wellesley College and then an A.M. in 1913 from Columbia University. Her doctoral dissertation at Columbia was titled "The Popular Assemblies in the Municipalities of Spain and Gaul." In the 1920 Census she is found living at home, in Wellesley, Massachusetts, with her parents and siblings and working as a teacher at Wellesley College, where she worked for four years.
Her journal of 1913-1914 (in the collection), indicates she had a relationship with a woman by the name of Florence. One of Margaret's correspondents, a woman by the name of Helen Knowlton Goss Thomas, is known to have been a lesbian, and is enumerated in the census records with her female "partner". Among the materials in the collection is Bancroft's personal journal, in which she writes of her relationship with a woman named Florence and writes on several occasions about her turmoil over this relationship.
In 1959, Columbia made her the first recipient of an award given to a "distinguished retiring General Studies teacher." According to the Spectator, this award was subsequently given in her name. After her retirement in 1960, Margaret kept an informal salon once a month at her Morningside Heights apartment, where students and friends would drop in. Margaret Bancroft died in June 1979 of cancer in New York. She was 87 years old.