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Guide to the Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park Photographic Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Park History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material at California State Parks
  • Additional Information

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park Photographic Collection
    Dates: 1868-2014
    Bulk Dates: 1979, 1987-1991, 2010-2014
    Collection number: Consult repository
    Creator: California State Parks
    Collector: California State Parks
    Collection Size: 948 images
    Repository: Photographic Archives.

    California State Parks
    McClellan, CA 92262
    Abstract: The Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park Photographic Collection contains 948 cataloged images that date from 1868 through 2014. Images depict the property as a residence, an orphanage, and a state park.
    Physical location: For current information on the physical location of these materials, please consult the Guide to the California State Parks Photographic Archives, available online.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection is open for research by appointment.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the repository. Copyrights are retained by the creators of the records. For permission to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head Curator of the California State Parks Photographic Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item including photographer and date when available], Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park Photographic Collection, [Catalog number], California State Parks Photographic Archives, McClellan, California

    Acquisition Information

    Images donated by private parties, generated by California State Parks staff, and transferred from Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park at various times.


    Further accruals are expected.

    Park History

    Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park contains nearly one acre of historical resources. Located in Sacramento County, the park sits at the southeast corner of 8th and “N” streets in the city of Sacramento. The park is accessible by car and by foot via “N” Street.
    Prior to John Sutter’s 11-league land acquisition, the Sacramento Valley housed the Nisenan (Southern Maidu) tribe for a few thousand years. Making their home in the area contained by the Sacramento River and the Sierra Mountains, the Nisenan were hunter-gatherers who subsisted on fish, local game, acorns, and seeds. With roughly 75 percent of the Nisenan population decimated by a disease epidemic in 1833, Sutter easily subdued the remainder when he established his fort six years later. Most of the Nisenan suffered extermination in the years surrounding the Gold Rush.
    Originally deeded in 1841, Sutter’s land grant ultimately comprised major portions of the city of Sacramento. With first the influx of forty-niner prospectors and then the introduction of state government, the city rapidly expanded to accommodate its growing population, burgeoning industries, and emerging business class. By 1851, six of the eight lots comprising Block 95, the area between “N” and “O” and 8th and 9th streets, were owned by Massachusetts-born land speculator William Dodd. The following year, Dodd purchased the remaining two lots from Honolulu-based merchant George S. Kenway. In 1853, Dodd sold the block to a local stock merchant, R. T. Hall, who began selling off individual lots two years later; that year, local wholesale merchant Shelton C. Fogus purchased lots 1 and 2, where the mansion stands today.
    In 1857, Fogus hired local architect Seth Babson to design a brick and plaster house. As originally built, the 4,000-square-foot Fogus residence was two stories and possessed an asymmetrical, three-bay facade, with the front entry occupying the easternmost bay. Within months, the house was expanded to add two rooms to each floor, an alteration that created a symmetrical, five-bay facade, with the front entry now occupying the central bay. As redesigned by Babson, who later designed the B. F. Hastings house, the Renaissance Revival-style residence contained symmetrical fenestration, a central classical portico, Baroque-style ornamental detailing, a wood-frame two-story service wing, a one-story enclosed gallery with an open veranda, and a detached carriage house at the property’s rear.
    In July 1861, Leland Stanford, recently named Central Pacific Railroad president and Republican gubernatorial candidate, purchased 800 “N” Street from Fogus for $8,000. That September, Stanford handily won the election, becoming California’s eighth governor. That decade, the two-story mansion housed not only Governor Stanford’s office, but also the offices of subsequent governors Frederick F. Low and Henry H. Haight while the nearby State Capitol building underwent construction. In the fall of 1871, Leland and his wife, Jane Lathrop Stanford, began a major expansion of the house: they not only added a story below, as Sacramento at that time was regularly deluged with flooding (Governor Stanford attended his 1862 inauguration in a rowboat), but also a mansard-roofed story above and a three-story brick service wing to the rear of the building, a renovation that increased the mansion’s size to 19,000 square feet.
    Leland Stanford died in 1893, having built a massive financial empire, served as a United States Senator, and founded an educational institution—the Leland Stanford, Jr. University, named after Jane and Leland’s son, who died at 16 years of age. A consummate philanthropist, Jane Stanford donated the mansion and its furnishings to the Catholic Bishop of Sacramento for use as an orphanage in 1900. Under the direction of the Sisters of Mercy and later the Sisters of Social Service, the mansion provided homes for many “friendless children” until 1987, and even served as an emergency treatment facility during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. In 1957, the mansion was declared a State Historical Landmark, purchased by the State of California for use as a state park in 1978, and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987. In 1991, the Leland Stanford Mansion Foundation was formed as a public-private fundraising partnership to restore the property to its appearance during the Stanford family’s tenure. After a 14-year restoration project costing roughly $22 million, the mansion reopened to the public as a state historic park in 2005. The mansion also serves as a formal reception area for the governor and the State Legislature.
    California State Parks, coordinating with the Leland Stanford Mansion Foundation, preserve and maintain historical resources at Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park. In addition to the mansion house-museum, which has been restored to the era of the Stanford family’s residence, the park also includes a Visitor Center and a plaza garden. The mansion is open for guided tours seven days a week, except on holidays and during official State functions.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park Photographic Collection spans the years circa 1868-2014, with the bulk of the collection covering the years 1979, 1987-1991, and 2010-2014. There is a total of 948 cataloged images, including 168 photographic prints, scans, and negatives, 560 35 mm slides, and 220 born digital images. Photographs originated primarily from California State Parks staff.
    The collection mainly depicts the mansion in the decade after its acquisition by the State of California in 1978. Thoroughly documenting the property, images include numerous interior and exterior views from various vantages. Interior views capture the formal, informal, and servants’ dining rooms, the lower entry, the ballroom, the kitchens and prep kitchens, the billiards room, the entrance, stairway, and other hallways, the lesser and greater parlors, the music room, the lounge, the governor’s office, the master bedroom, and multiple unidentified rooms in varying degrees of disuse. Exterior views depict the front entrance with cascading stairs and Baroque-style detailing.
    Images from this time also document the initial archaeological surveys performed on the property in advance of the later restoration. Images depict volunteers performing a number of restorative tasks, including: exposing panels, brick walls, and other original features; removing non-original paint, walls, and fixtures; working with ultra-violet lamps; identifying historic flood-level evidence; measuring furred space; applying archaeological “push tests” in the numerous rooms of the mansion; and displaying various recovered artifacts, such as a birthing-room basin, a tobacco pipe, Fogus glass knobs, a boot, a mailing label, a bank check, a cable message, a newspaper article, and an election ballot.
    Later images from the collection reveal the end result of the painstaking restoration work. Included are numerous interior and exterior views of the mansion, including the above-mentioned rooms with period furnishings as well as various shots of the building’s facade from multiple vantages.
    The collection also documents several events held at the park unit. Events include the Governor’s Historic Preservation Award Ceremony held in 2010 and the mansion’s 150th Anniversary Celebration in 2014.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Babson, Seth
    California. Department of Parks and Recreation
    California. Governor's Office
    Cultural resources
    Haight, Henry H., 1825-1878
    Historic preservation--California.
    Historic house museums
    Low, Frederick Ferdinand, 1828-1894
    National Historic Landmarks Program (U.S.)
    National Register of Historic Places
    Renaissance revival (Architecture)
    Sacramento (Calif.)
    Sacramento County (Calif.)
    Sisters of Mercy
    Sisters of Social Service
    Stanford, Jane Lathrop, 1828-1905
    Stanford, Leland, 1824-1893
    Stanford University

    Related Material at California State Parks

    Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park Collection

    Related Material at Other Repositories

    Governor's Office Records, California State Archives
    Jane Lathrop Stanford Papers, Stanford University: University Archives
    Leland Stanford, Jr., Collection, Stanford University: University Archives
    Leland Stanford Papers, Stanford University: University Archives
    Leland Stanford Photograph Album, Stanford University: University Archives
    Leland Stanford's Sacramento Residence Photographs, Stanford University: University Archives
    Stanford Collection, Stanford University: University Archives
    Stanford Family Photograph Collection, Stanford University: University Archives
    Stanford Family Scrapbooks, Stanford University: University Archives
    Stanford Properties Records, Stanford University: University Archives
    Stanford Sacramento House Papers, Stanford University: University Archives

    Additional Information