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Guide to the Adolph Sutro Papers, 1861-1899 JL004
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  • Title: Adolph Sutro Papers,
    Identifier/Call Number: JL004
    Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 1.0 Linear feet
    Date (inclusive): 1861-1899

    General note

    NOTE: The correspondence on the Sutro Tunnel contains letters written by Pelham Ames and R.S. Raw; many of these are directed to one another rather than to Sutro himself. Both men were secretaries to Adolph Sutro. With very few exceptions, all other correspondence is addressed to Sutro himself.


    This collection of his papers includes correspondence dealing with the construction of the Sutro Tunnel (1869-1896; with a possible date of 1867); applications for employment on the tunnel project (1873-1877) and in the Baths (1892-1895); personal bills (1869-1890); miscellaneous correspondence (1870-1895); miscellaneous papers and printed matter (1865-1889); and a safe book (1861-1899).
    The correspondence dealing with the Sutro Tunnel is arranged in alphabetical order by author; with few exceptions all correspondence is addressed to Sutro. The number in parenthesis following each name indicates the number of letters written by that correspondent; when only one piece of correspondence is included, there is no such indication. The miscellaneous correspondence is also listed alphabetically, with each letter listed with date and a brief subject identification. A letter of particular interest in this group is one written by Cyrus Adler of the Smithsonian Institution; Adler was a Jewish scholar, educator and author, and wrote to Sutro in 1890 regarding a manuscript that Sutro possessed in his library. Certain personal letters, such as correspondence to Sutro from the schools that his children attended, are also included.
    The large percentage of material pertaining to the Sutro Tunnel makes this collection of his papers particularly valuable to anyone interested in that important achievement; in addition, certain aspects of his character and personality are given some light through the varied miscellaneous correspondence.


    Adolph Heinrich Sutro was born in Prussia in 1830. He came to the United States in 1850, to California in 1851, and to Nevada in 1860. Sutro was the mining engineer who planned the Sutro Tunnel, which was constructed through Mount Davidson to reach the Comstock lode. The tunnel was built between 1869 and 1878 and cost $6,500,00 to build. In 1878 Sutro sold his interest in the tunnel and invested in San Francisco real estate, most notably the Cliff House and the Sutro Baths. He was elected mayor of San Francisco in 1894 for one term, and died in 1898.

    Preferred Citation:

    [Identification of item] Adolph Sutro Papers, JL004, Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.


    Gift of the Sutro family, date unknown

    Publication Rights:

    Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.

    Access Restrictions: