November 17, 2022 • Noon • via Zoom
Land, Wealth and Power: Digitizing the California Land Case Files, 1852-1892
Presented by Adrienne Serra, Digital Project Archivist, The Bancroft Library
In 2021, The Bancroft Library launched a large-scale digitization project to preserve and provide online access to more than 127,000 pages of California Land Case Files dating from ca. 1852 to 1892. These records tell an important story about the use and distribution of land, as well as social and legal justice in California following statehood in 1850, when all Spanish and Mexican land grants holders were required to prove their land claims in court. A lengthy process of litigation followed, which resulted in many early Californians losing their land. The Land Case Files are heavily used by current land owners, genealogists, historians, and environmentalists to understand the land, its uses, and ownership over time. The digitization project, Land, Wealth and Power: Private Land Claim Cases in California 1852 to 1892 (Mary Elings, Principal Investigator) was awarded a 2019 Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives: Amplifying Unheard Voices grant. Digital Project Archivist Adrienne Serra will discuss the collection and the project, including the challenges of preparing and imaging fragile materials under pandemic restrictions, and plans for future community engagement projects.
The land case files may be accessed here: https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/hb109nb422/