Guide to the Zan Stark Collection M1816

Department of Special Collections and University Archives
2012 ; revised 2017
Green Library
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford 94305-6064

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Title: Zan Stark collection
creator: Stark, Alexander J. (Zan), 1889-1967
Identifier/Call Number: M1816
Physical Description: 11.25 Linear Feet (15 boxes, 2 cartons)
Date (inclusive): circa 1935-1955

Access to Collection

Open for research. Note that material must be requested at least 36 hours in advance of intended use.

Publication Rights

While Special Collections is the owner of the physical and digital items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Any transmission or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the owners of rights, heir(s) or assigns.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased by Stanford University, Special Collections in 2011.

Preferred Citation

[identification of item], Zan Stark collection (M1816). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

Related Materials

The Marin County Free Library holds the Alexander 'Zan' Stark Collection, c.1933-1955 ( which contains negatives from his Marin County/Muir Woods/Mount Tamalpais series.

Scope and Contents

The collection comprises over 3,000 real photo postcards and photographic negatives, a large portion of the output of Alexander J. Stark, a Mill Valley-based photographer who published under the name "Zan." Postcards and photographs focus on Northern California, circa 1935-1955, and depict scenes of nature, travel destinations including vacation & historical attractions, architecture, bridges, and various street & cityscapes. All images are in black and white, and most are captioned. Many of the postcards appear to have been removed from Zan's scrapbooks, and for the most part his ordering has been retained. However, most numbered series contain gaps or numbers used more than once, and images are also re-used with new numbers in some cases. Postcard numberings also may not relate to their respective negative, if present. More detailed descriptions of the postcards can be found below.

Biographical / Historical

Alexander J. "Zan" Stark (1889-1967) was a Michigan-born photographer who moved to San Francisco, California around 1914, where he established a photography and lantern slide business under the name Xan Stark, Alta Studios. In the early 1920s Stark produced at least three volumes of photographs of female nudes in an "Alta Art Studies" series. Stark moved to Mill Valley in the mid-20s and operated a studio at 324 Miller Avenue. He produced thousands of photographic postcards under the name "Zan of Tamalpais" through early 1950s. Zan photographed extensively throughout Northern California, as well as in Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and elsewhere. He was the official photographer of the Redwood Empire Association beginning in 1936, and many of the postcards bear the Association's name. Much of his work appears to have been on a promotional basis, capturing roadside attractions, hotels, resorts & restaurants, and natural wonders such as Yosemite and the redwoods. Along with his son, Stark was also involved with local politics and journalism. Around 1953 Stark moved to Boyes Hot Springs where he remained until his death in 1967.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Photography -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area
Photography -- California.
California -- Description and travel -- Views.
Stark, Alexander J. (Zan), 1889-1967



box 1, folder 1


Scope and Contents

16 un-numbered postcards of Robles del Rio, California, one postcard numbered 41, captioned "Sphinx, Mt. Tam and Muir Woods Ry."
box 1, folder 2


Scope and Contents

"A" prefixed postcards of Southern California, especially Los Angeles, Pasadena, Santa Barbara, Balboa Island, and San Luis Obispo.
box 1, folder 3


Scope and Contents

4 un-numbered Big Basin
1 un-numbered & uncaptioned man panning for gold
B series B1-8, 12, 14-16 Monte Rio, Russian River B23 un-numbered Sebastopol
BF series BF 1,2, 4-9 Bill Flynn's Top-o-the-World Ranch, Glen Ellen, Calif.
BH 2, 4 Bridge Haven, Russian River
BS series BS 1-12 Boyes Hot Springs
Zan B1-13 (some un-numbered) San Francisco, esp. Cliff House, Sutro Baths & Pacific Curio Shop in Fisherman's Wharf
box 1, folder 4


Scope and Contents

Bear [Bear Photo Co.?] postcards numbered 500, 504, 505, 506, 507, 511, 512, 516, 517, 518, 519, 520, 523. Oakland and University of California, Berkeley
box 1, folders 5-6


Scope and Contents

Zan C1-137. Lake County: Austin's Resort, Adams Springs, Loch Lomond, Whispering Pines, Cobb, Middletown, etc. Some Zan-C numbers filed under "Hobergs"
C1, 6-8 un-numbered, one captioned Coloma, Calif.
C1, 13, 16 Castlewood Country Club
box 1, folder 7


Scope and Contents

Portraits of Western classical composers
box 1, folder 8

C.H. and C.C.

Scope and Contents

Confusion Hill (near Garberville), Curious Canyon (AKA the Mystery Spot, near Santa Cruz)
box 1, folder 9


Scope and Contents

Zan E1-75 Petaluma, Sebastapol, Bridge Haven, Santa Rosa, Boyes Hot Springs, Sonoma, Glen Ellen, Healdsburg, other nature & coast
EL1-3 Elk Creek Lodge, O'Brien, Oregon
4 un-numbered Buena Vista Winery, Sonoma
box 1, folder 10

G, H and Hawaii

Scope and Contents

G3 un-numbered menu postcard, The Glad Hand, Sausalito G4 un-numbered menu postcard, The Farm Hand, Russian River
aprox. 30 un-numbered Hawaii
HS2,5,6,11 un-numbered California Hot Springs
box 1, folder 11


Scope and Contents

AKA Hobergs in the Pines.
H2-36 (some gaps) un-numbered
Zan C54-56, 69, 71, 73, 75
box 2, folder 1

K and Lazy T

Scope and Contents

K1-39 Mendocino County: Albion, Navarro rivers, Noyo Harbor, Mendocino, Little River
KL 1-4 Kiami Lodge, Scottsdale, Arizona
2-10 Lazy T Ranch, Joseph, Oregon
Zan L99 Adam's Springs, Lake County
box 2, folder 2

Marine life

Scope and Contents

5 un-numbered postcards from Steinhart Aquarium, California Academy of Sciences.
box 2, folder 3


Scope and Contents

Many stamped or printed Ed Wood Post Card Co., Forestville, California. Includes Plymouth, Mass., Russian River, Paradise, Carmel, Robles del Mar, Clear Lake Highlands, Calistoga, uncaptioned motels, etc.
box 2, folder 4

M and N

Scope and Contents

Zan M1-20 Mystery Spot, Santa Cruz
M358 Mountain Home Inn
M402, 405, 408, 409 San Francisco: Cliff House, Sutro's, Playland
Zan N1-72 Napa, St. Helena, Vallejo, Mare Island, Lake Hennessey/Conn Dam, Yountville, Angwin
box 2, folder 5

MW and Mck

Scope and Contents

"MW" un-numbered Mark West Resort, Santa Rosa
"Mck" McKenzie Guest Ranch, Clio
box 2, folders 6-7


Scope and Contents

Zan R-160, 165, 167, 184, 195-198 Forest of Arden Resort, Redwood Highway, Miranda 201-219 Bodega Bay
301-393 Calistoga, Mt. Saint Helena, hot springs, St. Helena, Napa Valley, Conn Lake, Beringer Winery, Angwin
400-475 Clearlake Highlands, Lake County, Kelseyville, Clear Lake, Austin's Resort, Larson's Resort, El Cielito Resort, Edgewater Resort, Middletown, Whispering Pines Resort
502-507 Russian River, Sonoma County
box 2, folder 8

Richardson Grove

Scope and Contents

Richardson Grove, Redwood Highway. 5 un-numbered postcards, four containing 4 images each and one possibly unrelated.
box 2, folder 9


Scope and Contents

Rough & Ready, California
RR1-26 un-numbered postcards, many reproducing historical images
box 2, folders 10-11


Scope and Contents

S1-201 Geyserville, Valley of the Moon, Glen Ellen, Boyes Hot Springs, Sonoma, Sebastapol, Russian River, Guerneville, Monte Rio, Jenner, Healdsburg, Bridge Haven, Rio Nido Beach & Resort, Johnson's Beach, Cloverdale, Mark West Resort, Santa Rosa, Mirabel Park, Summer Home Park, Cazanoma Lodge, Keefe's Cove, Hilton Beach, Drake's Beach, Cazadero Creek, Elk Grove Resort, Forest Hills Beaches, Forestville, Hacienda Beach, Russian River Terrace Beach, Tyken's Resort, Occidental, lumber, apple orchard, Roland's Beach
box 2, folder 12


Scope and Contents

San Francisco Bay Area, 12 un-numbered postcards, four images per postcard.
box 2, folder 13


Scope and Contents

Sherrod Studio 1-61 Feather River, Paradise, Sterling City, De Sabla
box 3, folders 1-3


Scope and Contents

Y2-426 North & South Fork of Stanislaus River, Columbia, Kennedy Meadows, Sonora Pass, Patterson Grade, Copperopolis, Angel's Camp, Dardanelle Resort, Jamestown, Knights Ferry, Pinecrest Lodge, Confidence, Strawberry Lake, Lyons Dam Lake, Pinecrest, Long Barn, Kennedy Meadows Lodge, Highway 108, Sonora, Tuolumne, Douglas Flat, Douglas Lodge, Calaveras County, North Fork of Tuolumne River, Vallecito, Tuolumne, Sugar Pine, Mokelumne Hill, Placerville, Hornitos, Sutter's Mill/Coloma, Diamond Springs, Fiddletown, Coulterville, Murphy's, Waterfall Lodge, Dorington, Calaveras Big Trees, Twain-Harte, Sparrow's Strawberry Resort, Silver Lake, Pilot Hill, Tyken's Resort, Russian River, San Andreas, Volcano, Kit Carson Lodge, Amador County, Leavitt Meadow Lodge, Bear Valley, Mariposa, Bagby, Kay's Resort
box 3, folder 4

Zan 1-199

Scope and Contents

Zan 1-11 plus one un-numbered: Confusion Hill Zan 59, 188: Yosemite
box 3, folder 5

Zan 200's

Scope and Contents

Zan 266 San Francisco
Zan 296, 297, 299 University of California, Berkeley (see also 201-219 Bodega Bay in R series)
box 3, folder 6

Zan 300s

Scope and Contents

Zan/Zʃ 301-399 University of California, Berkeley, Lake Merritt, Oakland, Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Pacific Grove, Carmel/Carmel by the Sea, Monterey, Lake Idell, Glen Ellen, Monte Rio, Redwood Highway bridge over Klamath, Prairie Creek State Park, Petaluma
Zan 330-339 Pacific Union College, Angwin
box 3, folder 7

Zan 400's

Scope and Contents

Zan/Zʃ 400-498 Monterey, San Francisco, Prairie Creek Park, Garberville, Salinas, Klamath, Old Hearst Ranch, Rancho Hacienda, Pleasanton, Redwood Highway, Hawleywood Heights, Eldridge, Tan Oak Park, Mt. Hermon, Santa Clara, Sonoma
box 4, folder 1

Zan 500's

Scope and Contents

Zan 500-599 Sonoma, Yosemite, Old Hearst Ranch, Pleasanton, Patrick's Point, Redwood Highway, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Eldridge Berkeley, Klamath River, University of California, Berkeley, Angelo's, Monte Rio, El Rancho Mesom, Willits, Colusa, La Honda, Cummings, St. Helena, San Francisco, Salinas, Prairie Creek State Park, Calistoga, Big Tree Park, Santa Cruz, Skeleton Park, Klamath Glen, San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Crescent City
box 4, folder 2

Zan 600's

Scope and Contents

Zan 600-699 Prairie Creek Park, San Luis Obispo, San Francisco, Morro Bay, Redwood Highway, Yosemite, Wonderland Redwood Park, Old Adobe, Sonoma, Vallejo, Pismo Beach, Santa Lucia Inn, Salinas, Underwood Park, Skeleton Park, Clam Beach, Stewart, Nevada
box 4, folder 3

Zan 700's

Scope and Contents

Zan 700-792 Stewart, Nevada, San Francisco, Golden Gate Park, Hornitos, Yosemite, O'Shaughnessy Dam, Hetch-Hetchy, Vallejo Adobe, Sonoma, Eureka, Petaluma, Golden Gate Bridge, Cloverdale, Woodland Villa, Requa, Redwood Highway, Treasure Island, Eel River, Lane's Redwood Flat, Underwood Park, Wolf Creek Tavern, Wolf Creek, Oregon, Golden, Oregon, Nevada
box 4, folder 4

Zan 800's

Scope and Contents

Zan 800-899 Tan Oak Park, Reynold's Redwoods, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Vallejo residence, Sonoma, Sacramento, Carquinez Bridge, Crockett, San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, Treasure Island, Beringer Bros. Winery, St. Helena, Redcrest Motor Inn, Highway 101
box 4, folder 5

Zan 900's

Scope and Contents

Zan 900-997 Jack London Ranch, Wolf House, San Francisco, Sonoma, Patrick's Creek, Riverview Ranch, Piercy, Santa Cruz, 17 Mile Drive, Vallejo, Martinez, Calistoga, Orick
box 4, folder 6

Zan 1000's

Scope and Contents

Zan 1001-1096 Monte Rio, Russian River, San Francisco, Merced County figs, Calistoga, Napa Valley, Mt. St. Helena, Laurman's Edgewater Resort, Clear Lake, Oakland, Dann Creek Park, Redwood Highway, Big Basin, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Tan Oak Park, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Fetter's Springs, Boyes Hot Springs, Valley of the Moon
box 4, folder 7

Zan 1100's

Scope and Contents

Zan 1103-1199 Sonoma, Redwood Highway, Eel River, San Francisco, Napa, Golden Gate Park, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, Russian River, Guerneville, Monte Rio, Guernewood Park, Calistoga, St. Helena, Veterans Home of California
box 4, folder 8

Zan 1200's

Scope and Contents

Zan 1202-1299 San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, Sonoma, Eldridge, Southern Pacific-Golden Gate Ferries, San Joaquin Valley, University of California, Berkeley, River Inn, Big Sur, Redwood Camp, Pfeiffer Grove, Carmel, San Francisco, Tan Oak Park, Redwood Highway, Pierson Wonder Valley Ranch, Del Pietra
box 4, folder 9

Zan 1300's

box 5, folder 1

Zan 1400's

Scope and Contents

Zan 1401-1499 San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge, Redwood Highway, Richardson Grove, Hornitos, Crescent City, Golden Gate Park, Klamath, Lane's Redwood Flat, Cedar Creek Bridge, Big Dam Creek Bridge, Lilley Redwood Park, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Requa
box 5, folder 2

Zan 1500's

Scope and Contents

Zan 1500-1597 Golden Gate Bridge, Mission San Carlos De Rio Carmelo, Carmel, Rainbow Bridge, Carmel-San Simeon Highway, Del Monte Lodge, Pebble Beach, San Francisco, Mission San Juan Batista, San Juan, Monte Rio, Russian River, Rio Nido, Villa Grande, Redwood Highway, Richardson Grove, La Honda, Redwood Terraces, Sonoma, Eureka
box 5, folder 3

Zan 1600's

Scope and Contents

Zan 1600-1699 Eureka, Bull Creek Flat, Redwood Highway, La Honda, Boyes Hot Springs, Santa Cruz Big Trees, Ben Lomond, Cuesta La Honda Lake, Brookdale, Brookdale Lodge, Lane's Redwood Flat, Prairie Creek State Park, Richardson Grove, Monterey, San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, San Francisco
box 5, folder 4

Zan 1700's

Scope and Contents

Zan 1700-1739 San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Sonoma, Redwood Highway, Trinidad Head, Glen Ellen, Salinas, Carmel by the Sea, Point Lobos
box 5, folder 5

Zan 1800's

Scope and Contents

Zan 1802-1816 Five postcards of Yosemite, one portrait of John Muir
box 5, folder 6

Zan 1900's

Scope and Contents

Zan 1911, 1915, 1918 Yosemite
box 5, folder 7

Zan 2000s

Scope and Contents

Zan 2013-2043 Pismo Beach, Shell Beach, Morro Beach, Mission San Luis Obispo ; Zan 2095 Wawona Tree
box 5, folder 8

Zan 2,200's

Scope and Contents

Zan 2232-2234 Weott, Redwood Highway ; Zan 2265-2267 Pacific Union College, Angwin ; Zan 2270-2288 Trees of Mystery Park, Redwood Highway
box 5, folder 9

Zan 2,300's

Scope and Contents

Zan 2306-2399 Grundy's Redwood Terraces, Redwood Highway, Eel River, Shangri-La near Willits, Cummings, Bishop Pine Lodge, Orick, Pacific Union College, Angwin, Prairie Creek State Park, Monte Rio, Russian River, Jenner by the Sea
[note: postcards w/ 2300#'s are actually mis-numbered- they correspond to 2,300 # Series]
box 5, folder 10

Zan 2,400's

Scope and Contents

Zan 2400-2499 Monte Rio, Redwood Highway, Cazadero, Santa Cruz, Prairie Creek State Park, Klamath River, Mills Field - San Francisco Airport, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge, Brookdale Lodge, Brookdale, Santa Cruz Big Trees, Shangri-La, Willits, Forest of Arden Resort, Miranda, Lilley Redwood Park, San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, Crescent City
box 5, folder 11

Zan 2,500's

Scope and Contents

Zan 741, K2, 4-9 (#2501-2509 negatives) Stanford University ; Zan 2510-2596 San Francisco, Totem Pole Park, Crescent City, Pleasure Court, Willits, Unique Log House Museum, Garberville, Golden Gate Park, Armstrong Grove, Guerneville, Murphy's Guest Ranch, Villa Grande, Russian River, Shangri-La, Riverview Inn, Monte Rio, Angelo's Beach Casino, Prairie Creek State Park, New Hartsook Inn, Redwood Highway, Empire Modern Camp, Tales of Mystery Park


box 6

Negatives: A1 - E74

box 7

Negatives: E47 - N57

box 8

Negatives: N58 - S75

box 9

Negatives: S77 - Y217

box 10

Negatives: Y218 - Z410

box 11

Negatives: Z411 - Z1030

box 12

Negatives: Z1034 - Z1550

box 13

Negatives: Z1551 - Z2270

box 14

Negatives: Z2271 - Z2596 (incl. unnumbered and random negatives)



box 15

Empty negative sleeves (no order)

box 16

Empty negative sleeves (no order)

box 17

Empty negative sleeves (no order)