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Guide to the John Swett Papers, 1853-1913
BANC MSS C-B 352  
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Collection Details
 
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: John Swett Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1853-1913
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 352
    Creator: Swett, John, 1830-1913
    Extent: Number of containers: 2 cartons, 1 oversize folder Linear ft.: 5
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Letters, primarily from other educators and publishers; biographical sketches and memorial tributes; personalia; ms. of his Public Education in California; royalty statements and publishing contracts; appointment certificates; scrapbooks relating to his family (with photographs) and to his professional activities.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], John Swett papers, BANC MSS C-B 352, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Material Cataloged Separately

    • Photographs transferred to the Bancroft Pictorial Collections (BANC PIC 1914.003--PIC)

    Scope and Content

    John Swett, educator and author, was born at Pittsfield, New Hampshire, July 31, 1830. Educated at the Pittsfield and Pembroke academies and at the Merrimack Normal Institute, he became a teacher. Because of a serious weakness of his eyes, he undertook a voyage to California in 1852, around the Horn, with the hope of recovering his health. After six months of mining, he became principal of the Rincon School, San Francisco. In 1862 he was elected state superintendent of public instruction and served until 1868. Under his administration, the state school law was amended to provide effective means of levying and collecting money for school purposes, and education in California was raised to a profession with the establishment of state and county boards of examination and a system of teachers' institutes. After his defeat for reelection in 1868, he became principal of the Denman School, San Francisco, and served thereafter as deputy city superintendent of public schools, 1870-73, principal of the girls' high school and normal school, 1876-89, and city school superintendent, 1890-96. He then retired to a fruit farm at Martinez, California, where he resided until his death in 1913.
    His papers were given to the Library by his son, Frank T. Swett, ca. 1914, and additions were made in September 1954 by Mr. Swett and his daughters, Margaret S. Plummer and Elizabeth S. Knoll. Spanning the period ca. 1853-1913, they consist primarily of letters addressed to him by other educators; biographical sketches and memorial tributes; personalia; the MS of his book, Public Education in California; royalty statements and publishing contracts; appointment certificates; and scrapbooks relating to his family (with photographs) and to his professional activities. The collection is described in greater detail in the Key to Arrangement which follows. Some printed items and photographs were removed for separate cataloging.