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What Is the Book of Wealth by Hubert Howe Bancroft?

Updated on April 23, 2019
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An author of several books, C L Grant is an avid reader who enjoys non-fiction books, especially those about self-improvement.

Hubert Howe Bancroft 1832 - 1918
Hubert Howe Bancroft 1832 - 1918

The Book Of Wealth

The Book of Wealth is the wealth book bible written by Hubert Howe Bancroft in 1896. Until recently, The Book of Wealth had been confined to the wealthiest of families and individuals but now it is available as an online book.

Whenever, an original volume of these works comes up for sale at auction, you can guarantee that it sells for thousands of dollars.

Finally, the secrets of The Book of Wealth, can be known to everyone as all 10 Volumes are now available in digital or print format from Amazon..

However, if you're looking for a 'get rich quick' method, then Bancroft's works are probably not for you. The Book of Wealth is a thought provoking insight into how wealth has been created throughout the ages.

The Book Of Wealth - New York Times Advertisment 21 February 1898
The Book Of Wealth - New York Times Advertisment 21 February 1898 | Source

The Book Of Wealth Description

The Book of Wealth is an investigative exploration of people and cultures who amassed the greatest wealth in the history of civilization. Examining the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks and Romans all the way through to modern day, analysing the massive wealth creation of individuals and companies.

The Book of Wealth

The Book of Wealth is an incredible 10 Volume compilation of Bancroft's finest works. No other works has attempted such a detailed historical and forensic analysis of wealth creation throughout the world.

Hubert Howe Bancroft In His Younger Years
Hubert Howe Bancroft In His Younger Years | Source

Hubert Howe Bancroft Biography

Born on 5 May 1832 in Granville, Ohio, Hubert Howe Bancroft became a self made millionaire through his publishing business.

Between 1848 and 1852 Hubert Bancroft was employed in his brother-in-law's bookstore in Buffalo, New York. He then moved to San Francisco, California where he founded a bookselling and publishing business.

Bancroft published 39 volumes of his works covering the American and Canadian West, Central America, and Mexico. He collected 60,000 volumes of history, manuscripts, and personal narratives, which he donated to the University of California in 1905.

There is some controversy surrounding Bancroft's works as it is claimed that he did not properly acknowledge his researchers who contributed vastly to his publications. In this regard, some claim that Bancroft's role was more of an editor rather than an author.

Hubert Bancroft passed away on 2 March 1918 in Walnut Creek, California.

Hubert Bancroft and Daughter Kate Bancroft c1870
Hubert Bancroft and Daughter Kate Bancroft c1870 | Source

Hubert Bancroft's Family

Hubert Bancroft's first wife was Emily Ketchum of Buffalo, New York, who he married in 1858. She was a very religious woman. The couple had one daughter together, Kate, who was born in 1860. Emily sadly died in 1869.

Bancroft's second wife was Matilda Cooley Griffing whom he married in 1876. Matilda bore him four children; Paul, Griffing, Philip and Lucy. Matilda died circa 1908.

Although Bancroft was very close to Kate, during he childhood, she left her husband and the United States to go and live in France for several years. Although Bancroft instructed her return, following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, there remained a rift between them, due to Kate's decision to leave her husband.

Lucy never married but adopted a German boy, to whom she gave the family name Bancroft, a matter which Hubert Howe Bancroft resented.

Hubert Bancroft on the cover of "The Wasp," a satirical magazine. The caricature of Bancroft, with the many hands writing, was intended to depict the general belief that he did not write much of his works, relying on his many researchers instead, and
Hubert Bancroft on the cover of "The Wasp," a satirical magazine. The caricature of Bancroft, with the many hands writing, was intended to depict the general belief that he did not write much of his works, relying on his many researchers instead, and | Source

The Book of Wealth - Bancroft Wealth Creation Secrets

"The Book of Wealth" by Hubert Howe Bancroft has been promoted by some motivational speakers as being the elixir of wealth creation. Reputedly better than Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich," this 10 volume epic is a forensic analysis of how wealth has been amassed throughout time.

Indeed, if anyone was well placed to write a masterpiece about wealth creation it was Hubert Bancroft. He became a self made millionaire through his publishing business. To have been able to purchase his wealth building secrets in the late 1800s you would have needed to have been extremely rich. An advertisement in the New York Times, dated 21 February 1898, confirms the selling price of "The Book of Wealth" as being $2,500 per copy for the first, or cygne noir edition. The second edition was priced at $1,000 per copy. Allowing for inflation, this equates to a staggering 25 fold increase in today's economy.

The same advert promotes "The Book of Wealth" with the words:

"It is to deal with all that is worth knowing concerning wealth, from the dawn of history to Joe Leiter's wheat deal."

Nonetheless, in his book, Bancroft reveals that the meaning of the term "wealth" has evolved over time and is relative to what we have and where we live. He further confirms that the subject of wealth is not treated in a scientific manner. Bancroft's works are therefore a philosophical and historical analysis of wealth creation and concentration of power through the ages.

In "The Book of Wealth," Bancroft questions how longing for wealth can possibly be a bad thing if it leads to enjoyment, power, independence and physical and intellectual well being. Such desire, he believes, only becomes evil if it develops into greed. Bancroft further claims that the pursuit and anticipation of wealth is far more pleasurable than the actual possession of it.

The vast majority of the public have not had an opportunity to read "The Book of Wealth," even though it was initially printed in 1895. This is attributable not only to its price but also the limited number of copies published. Whenever Bancroft's works come up for auction, there is usually fierce bidding. Consequently, Bancroft's wealth creation secrets have been confined to the richest of families.

Such scarcity has undoubtedly increased the mystery surrounding the contents of the book. However, it was never intended to be a "get rich" scheme. As Bancroft himself affirms, "The Book of Wealth" is:

"An Inquiry into the Nature and Distribution of the World's Resources and Riches, and a History of the Origin and Influence of Property, its Possession, Accumulation and Disposition in all Ages and among all Nations."

Hubert Howe Bancroft Controversy

This satirical caricature of Hubert Howe Bancroft, featured on the cover of "The Wasp," in 1885, is intended to portray the volume of researchers and writers that Bancroft had working for him and questions the true authorship of his works.

Bancroft's defence was simply that his researchers' work did not necessitate re-writing. Had Bancroft properly credited his assistants' vast input, in his publications, then this explanation would probably have sufficed. Unfortuately, this was not done and some of Bancroft’s former employees, including Henry Oak and Francis Fuller Victor, subsequently claimed authorship for large sections of “The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft.”

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 C L Grant


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    • Marketing Merit profile imageAUTHOR

      C L Grant 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you very much for your comments KawikaChann. I actually encountered this book as part of my life coach studies. Truthfully, you would need some perseverance to read this as it's 10 volumes long.

      My interest lies more with Hubert Howe Bancroft himself. I recently uncovered some further information and will write more about him in the near future.

      I have seen a kindle version of this book for sale but I am uncertain what the quality would be like. The pages are actually in jpeg format I believe and I am uncertain as to how this would convert into kindle format.

      Glad you enjoyed the hub and thanks for stopping by!

    • KawikaChann profile image

      Kawika Chann 

      7 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place

      Nicely done MM - sounds like more of a historic account filled with philosophical drivel (the book I mean, not your hub. lol) Had a great time - your writing intrigues me though - I think I'll look it up and see if it's available for my kindle. Thanks. Upvoted/interesting/follow. Peace. Kawi.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      great job thank

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      great hub!


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