Frederic Bancroft

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Frederic Bancroft (October 30, 1860 in Galesburg, Illinois – February 22, 1945) was a historian, author, and librarian.


Bancroft was born in Galesburg, Illinois, and graduated with an A.B. from Amherst College and a PhD from Columbia University. He was a lecturer for one year at Columbia, and served as Librarian of the State Department from 1888 to 1892.[1]

Bancroft was an active member of the American Historical Association, and was the unofficial leader of a group from 1913–1915 that called for the reform of the organization's election procedures, ultimately securing such reforms at the 1915 meeting although failing to topple what he viewed as the oligarchy led by J. Franklin Jameson.[2]

Bancroft was the author of two well-regarded books on the South, "Slave-Trading in the Old South,"[3] and "A Sketch of the Negro in Politics, Especially in South Carolina and Mississippi"[4] He also wrote a biography of William H. Seward.[5]

Through his bequest, in 1948 the Bancroft Prize was established at Columbia University in his memory and that of his brother, diplomat and attorney Edgar Addison Bancroft.[6] It is considered one of the most distinguished academic awards in the field of history.[7]


  1. ^ Obituary, The Journal of Negro History, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Apr. 1945), pp. 245–247
  2. ^ [1] Presidential Address of R. R. Palmer, American Historical Review 76:1 (February 1971): 1–15
  3. ^ [2] University of South Carolina Press, 1996, Southern Classic Series, 464 pages, 12 illus. paper, ISBN 1-57003-103-7
  4. ^ New York : AMS Press, 1976, Reprint of the 1885 ed. published by J. F. Pearson, New York.
  5. ^ The life of William H. Seward, P. Smith, 1967. Gloucester, Mass., c. 1899–1900.
  6. ^ [3] Time Magazine, Monday, March 12, 1945.
  7. ^ [4] Columbia University Hosts 2006 Bancroft Prizes Dinner, Columbia University Libraries News & Information.

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