In 1852, Hubert Bancroft‘s brother-in-law, George H. Derby, wrote a letter of introduction for Bancroft, prior to his departure from Buffalo, New York, to California.
In his letter, Derby recommends Bancroft as being;
“capable honest, willing, industrious, virtuous, & in every way well calculated for a Pioneer in any Country, & especially in a new one, where these good qualities could be used to a good advantage.”
On 24 February 1852, Bancroft left New York by steamer and arrived in San Francisco on 1 April.
George H. Derby had entrusted Bancroft with an important consignment of books and stationery to sell.
While waiting for the shipment to arrive, Hubert Bancroft and his good friend, George L. Kenny, worked at a quartz mine at Long Bar and a general merchandise store in Rich Bar.
Bancroft also visited Sacramento where he contacted commission merchants with whom his brother-in-law had previously dealt.
Unfortunately, George H. Derby passed away on September 15, aged only 30. This left Bancroft and Kenny with the task of selling the stock as soon as quickly as possible so that Derby’s estate could be settled.
Kenny subsequently entered into partnership with William B. Cooke in San Francisco and successfully sold all of the books.
In 1856, Derby’s widow Cecilia, Bancroft’s sister, loaned Hubert Bancroft the $5,500 profit from the sale of the book consignment which he used as capital to start his own business in San Francisco.