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United States History

Last Updated: 24-Oct-2013

The American History collections have been an integral part of the Stanford University Library since its founding in 1891, with particular strengths in California history, the history of American railroads, and U.S. Government Documents.

Important early accessions include Timothy Hopkins' donation of over 2,000 items from his personal railroad library, which in expanded form became the Hopkins Transportation Library. Hopkins also donated a set of mammoth-plate albums of photographs taken by prominent San Francisco photographer Carleton Watkins. Leland Stanford's personal papers contain correspondence, speeches, and journals integral to the study of 19th century California politics.

In 1895, Stanford was designated an official depository of publications by the U.S. Government Printing Office. The first respectable collections of early government documents were secured for the University by Leland Stanford, then a U.S. Senator for California. Stanford's collections in American history were further bolstered by San Francisco Judge Elmer E. Robinson's 1939 donation of his collection containing books, newspapers, manuscripts, and photographs dealing with American history from the American revolution to the Civil War. In the later 20th century, the library's holdings in American history have been bolstered by the acquisition of important manuscript collections dealing with African-American history (Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation Collection) and Asian-American history (Emory M. Lee Papers).

To conduct research in more specific areas, the U.S. Collections page provides a breakdown of critical primary and secondary resources by subject and by type.

Subject Librarians

Curator for American and British History, Head, Humanities and Social Sciences Resource Group, Interim selector for Political Science (March 2015-)
(650) 485-9851



Individual Newspapers

  1. Online version: (1868-1929) offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue. The collection include...