Guide to the Architecture of Stanford University Collection SC0125

Processed by Special Collections staff; machine-readable finding aid created by Patricia White
Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Green Library
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford 94305-6064


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Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Title: Architecture of Stanford University collection
creator: McMillan, John G
creator: Stanford, Leland
creator: Olmsted, Frederick Law
creator: Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge.
creator: Douglas, Thomas H.
creator: Hodges, Charles Edward.
creator: Lamb, Joseph.
creator: Lathrop, Charles G. (Charles G
Identifier/Call Number: SC0125
Physical Description: 0.75 Linear Feet
Date (inclusive): 1886-1937
Physical Location: Special Collections and University Archives materials are stored offsite and must be paged 36-48 hours in advance. For more information on paging collections, see the department's website:


This collection consists primarily of original correspondence concerning the early stages of planning, construction and landscaping of Stanford University, 1886-1906. The construction of Memorial Church, the Library (1906), the Gymnasium (1906), the Museum, and parts of the Quadrangle are featured. Major correspondents include Leland Stanford; Frederick Law Olmsted and J. C. Olmsted, landscape architects; John McMillan, supervising engineer at the Stanford construction site; Charles Lathrop, Business Manager, Stanford University; Charles Edward Hodges, draughtsman and later resident architect; Thomas H. Douglas, nurseryman; Henry S. Codman, Olmsted partner; Joseph Lamb, manufacturer of stained glass windows; and Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, architectural firm. The collection also contains some photocopies of Olmsted correspondence.

Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item], Architecture of Stanford University Collection (SC0125). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford, Calif.


This collection contains material acquired from a variety of sources. The Olmsted-McMillan correspndence came to the Archives sometime before 1965, source unknown. The letters from the Olmsted firm to Emory Smith and the copies of Frederick Law Olmsted's letters provided by the Olmsted firm form another group of records, which seem to have come to the Stanford Collection (precursor of the University Archives) through Orrin Leslie Elliott, first University "historian." The Charles Edward Hodges, Joseph Lamb, and Charles Lathrop letters were included in a group of materials purchased in 1972 from Frank Spingola of San Francisco (with funds provided by Mr. David Canfield, Santa Fe). In 1976, photocopies of correspondence in the Frederick L. Olmsted papers and the Olmsted Associates papers, both in the Library of Congress, were ordered and received to expedite research for the "Founders and Architects" exhibit.

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 and University Archives.

Access Restrictions:


Subjects and Indexing Terms

Universities and colleges -- Buildings.
Stanford University -- History.
School buildings -- California -- Design and construction.
Architecture -- California -- Stanford.
McMillan, John G
Stanford, Leland
Olmsted Brothers
Olmsted, Frederick Law
Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge.
Douglas, Thomas H.
Hodges, Charles Edward.
Stanford University
Lamb, Joseph.
Lathrop, Charles G. (Charles G


Architectural documentation

Architectural documentation

box 1, folder 1

Correspondence 1886-1888

Scope and Contents note

Major correspondents include Frederick Law Olmsted; J. C. Olmsted; J. G. McMillan; Ariel Lathrop; Francis Walker; and J. MacLaren. Corresondence in this folder is primarily concerned with the development of the campus plan, and the begining stages of construction of the university. Included are many letters from Olmsted to Leland Stanford and Mr. J. G. McMillan (supervising engineer). There are also numerous communications to Mr. McMillan from the Lathrop brothers, who served as Leland Stanford's representatives on the site.
box 1, folder 2

Correspondence 1889 Jan-Aug

Scope and Contents note

Major correspondents include Frederick Law Olmsted, J. C. Olmsted, J. G. McMillan, and Thomas H. Douglas. The contents of this folder deal primarily with the construction and landscaping of the campus. Correspondence is primarily between the Olmsteds, Leland Stanford, and J. G. McMillan.
box 1, folder 3

Correspondence 1889 Sep-1892

Scope and Contents note

Major correspondents include Frederick Law Olmsted and J. C. Olmsted; Henry S. Codman; Ariel Lathrop; Thos. H. Douglas; and Charles Edward Hodges. Contents of this folder deal with the visit of Henry S. Codman (an Olmsted partner) to the Palo Alto site; disputes between Olmsted and Ariel Lathrop; the dismissal of Mr. McMillan; and Olmsted's withdrawal from the Stanford University project. Included is Olmsted's letter to David Starr Jordan introducing the firm, May 6, 1891.
box 1, folder 4

Correspondence 1898-1902

Scope and Contents note

Major correspondents include Charles Edward Hodges, Charles Lathrop, and Joseph Lamb. Contents include corespondence between Charles Edward Hodges, Jane Stanford, and Charles Lathrop regarding construction of the Museum additions, Memorial Church, parts of the quadrangle, the gymnasium and the library. There is also corresondence between university officials and Joseph Lamb, manufacturer of stained glass windows.
box 1, folder 5

Correspondence 1904-1937

Scope and Contents note

Major correspondents include Joseph Lamb, Charles Lathrop, firm of Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge, and the Olmsted Brothers firm. Contents include correspondence regarding construction of the library (destroyed in the 1906 earthquake); copy of letter (1910) from Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge to J. C. Branner stating their role in construction of the university; copy of letter (1914) from firm of Olmsted Brothers to the Stanford Board of Trustees with their recommendations regarding campus landscaping; copies of letters (1930s) from the Olmsted Brothers to Emory Smith regarding F. L. Olmsted's role in the construction of the university; and Charles Coolidge's reminiscences (1937).
box 1, folder 6

Notes Explanatory of the Leading Motives of the Plan 1888

Scope and Contents note

"Notes explanatory of the leading motives of the plan," 2p., typescript copy, n.a.
box 1, folder 7

News clippings and notes

Scope and Contents note

Clippings regarding F. L. Olmsted; Register of the Frederick Law Olmsted Papers in the Library of Congress; and photocopies of bills for tile roofs of some of the original buildings.
box 2

Olmsted Correspondence, Library of Congress

Scope and Contents note

Photocopies of papers relating to Stanford University in the F. L. Olmsted Papers (box 46, folder on Stanford University, 88p.) and the Papers of Olmsted Associates (Lab File 1032, box 74b, 355 p.).
box 3

Clinton Day letters to Jane Stanford re: Stanford Memorial Church 1901-1902