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'Writing Themselves into History' with Kim Bancroft on Thursday's Access Utah


In the early years of California’s statehood, Emily Brist Ketchum Bancroft (1834–1869) and Matilda Coley Griffing Bancroft (1848–1910) had front-row seats to the unfolding of the Golden State’s history. The first and second wives of historian extraordinaire Hubert Howe Bancroft, these two women were deeply engaged members of society and perceptive chroniclers of their times, and they left behind extensive records of their lives and work. Kim Bancroft’s new book, Writing Themselves into History, offers a rich immersion in nineteenth-century California, detailing Emily’s and Matilda’s experiences with public life, motherhood, and business against the backdrop of San Francisco’s high society and the state’s growth amidst the tumult of the American Civil War. The book also highlights Matilda’s significant involvement in Hubert Howe’s trailblazing research on the history of the American West—including her work collecting oral histories from women members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—and her evocative descriptions of travels throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Longtime teacher turned editor and writer, Kim Bancroft earned a B.A. in English from Stanford, an M.A. in English and a teaching credential from San Francisco State University, and a doctorate in education from UC Berkeley. She has taught at high schools and community colleges in the Bay Area, at the Universidad de Guanajuato in Mexico, and at Sacramento State. In 2014 Kim edited H.H.Bancrofts.’s 1890 autobiography, Literary Industries, published by Heyday Books. She also wrote a biography of the founder of Heyday Books, called The Heyday of Malcolm Margolin: The Damn Good Times of a Fiercely Independent Publisher. Of many other memoirs that Kim has recently helped create, she has edited two of Native friends in the Willits area where she now lives in a cabin in the woods. Kim is also seeking to publish a book she wrote with a former classmate, David Waddell, called Same School, Different Class: A Dual Memoir of School Integration.

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Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.