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Rare Early View of Stanford University Four Years Prior To Its First Opening In 1891

Rare early lithographic view of Stanford University prior to its opening in 1891. lithographed by Britton & Rey in San Francisco.

The view is one of the earliest surviving views of the University and one of the rarest.

The view shows a mission style complex of buildings, with carriages in the foreground.  

Building Stanford

The original grant for the University was dictated by Leland Stanford on November 11, 1885. Frederick Law Olmstead designed the campus in the following year. An original set of 14 preliminary sketches was drawn by Charles Allerton Coolidge and presented to Leland Stanford and his wife in April 1887. The cornerstone for the University was laid on May 14, 1887.

Much of the campus was destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake, making these among the only large format printed illustrations of the original campus architecture.


OCLC locates 1 copy (Huntington Library). We also note a copy at Stanford in the Stanford Architectural Collection formed by Paul V. Turner and in the Robert B. Honeyman Collection at the Bancroft Library.

Condition Description
Minor toning and soiling. Signature? of Leland A. Mowry.