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Stanford University architecture

Last Updated: 1-May-2014

Selected Stanford University architecture resources.

Subject Librarians

Daniel Hartwig
University Archivist
(650) 725-1161
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Photo of Jenny Johnson
Collections Management & Processing Archivist
(650) 721-1529

Published Sources

(available in the Field Reading Room's Archives reference collection)

Campus Architecture

Turner, Paul Venable, Marcia E. Vetrocq, and Karen J. Weitze. The Founders & the Architects: The Design of Stanford University. Stanford art book, 16. Stanford, Calif: Dept. of Art, Stanford University, 1976 (Call number LD3031 .T87).

Joncas, Richard, David J. Neuman, and Paul Venable Turner. Stanford University: the campus guide. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2006 (Call number LD3031 .J65 2006).

Joncas, Richard, and Gerhard Casper. Building on the Past: The Making of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University. Stanford, CA: The Center, 1999 (Call number N781 .J66 1999).

Faculty Housing

Historic houses of San Juan Hill: Book I. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Historical Society, Revised Edition, 2006.

Historic houses of lower San Juan district: Stanford Historical Society walking tour, April 26, 1998. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Historical Society, 1998 (Call number LD3035 .S26 H56 1998).

Historic Houses Book III: San Juan Neighborhood Stanford University. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Historical Society, 2005 (Call number LD3035 .S26 H58 2005).

Historic houses IV: early residential communities of the Lower San Juan district, Stanford University. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Historical Society, 2007. (Call number LD3035 .S26 H59 2007). 

University Records & Unpublished Sources

Architecture of Stanford University, 1886-1937 (SC0125)

Primarily 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 Musuem, 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; Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, architectural firm. Contains some photocopies of Olmsted correspondence.

Arthur Brown, Jr. papers, 1914-1961 (SC707)

These papers of Arthur Brown, Jr. include correspondence, professional papers, clippings, and architectural drawings, mostly pertaining to Hoover Tower and other buildings designed for Stanford University. The correspondence dates from 1923-61 and largely pertains to the design and construction of Hoover Tower, including the carillon bells. Correspondents include Ray Lyman Wilbur, Ralph H. Lutz, Herbert Hoover, Hunter and Hudson (consulting engineers), F. E. Terman (re installation of radio antennae on the tower), Clifford M. Swan (acoustical engineer), and Frank F. Walker. The professional papers include drawings, notes, reports, and photographs pertaining to Stanford buildings, including Hoover Tower, the education building, and proposed law and chemistry buildings. The architectural drawings date from 1916-41, with many drawings undated; Stanford buildings include Hoover Tower, Memorial Auditorium, education building, library, and proposed law quad and dormitories. There are also drawings for a new wing at the Stanford Hospital in San Francisco. Non-Stanford buildings include an unnamed church, 1925; Tower of the Sun, San Francisco Bay Exposition, 1936; and an unidentified house labeled "Le Verger."

Birge M. Clark architectural records and personal papers, 1919-1990 (SC0823)

This collection of papers has been organized into 4 series. Series 1, Office Files, contains chronological correspondence files, 1921-79; project files containing correspondence, contracts, financial documents, notes, small-scale drawings, memoranda, and other materials, 1924-1990; and files on administrative matters, articles and talks on Palo Alto's architectural history, and other professional activities. Series 2 consists of photographs of finished projects (homes, schools, municipal buildings, and businesses), 1927-77. Series 3 contains specifications and some drawings and plans. Series 4, Personal Papers, includes files from architecture classes Clark taught at Stanford containing syllabi, exams, informational materials, lectures, and correspondence, 1950-72; files from Stanford's Class of 1914 fundraising efforts, 1977-79; copies of his two memoirs, 1971 and 1982; and other miscellaneous papers.

Birge M. Clark architectural drawings, 1909-1954 (SC0838)

Collection contains architectural drawings by Birge M. Clark, his brother David B. Clark, and other partners Walter Stromquist, David F. Potter and Joseph Ehrlich, with a few drawings by his father A. B. Clark. Projects were mostly located in Palo Alto, Stanford, and other communities on the Peninsula and included residences, schools, businesses, and city offices. Most of the drawings are pencil on tissue but other formats are also represented.

Hanna House collection, 1935-1982 (SC0280)

Correspondence, blueprints, drawings, photographs, and other records relating to the planning, design and construction of the campus home of Professor and Mrs. Paul R. Hanna. The collection focuses on the Hanna's work with architect Frank Lloyd Wright extending from the initial planning of the house through later renovations. Also included is a plaster star burst medallion, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, from the proscenium arch of the Louis Sullivan designed Garrick Theater in the Schiller Building (1892) in Chicago.

Stanford University Architectural Drawings Collection (SC1043)

Architectural drawings of Stanford University buildings and grounds.

Stanford University Map Collection (SUMAP)

Maps in this collection pertain to the University campus, to other lands owned by Jane and Leland Stanford or the University, and to adjacent communities.

Stanford University Planning Office Records, 1945- (SC0486)

The Planning Office was officially organized in 1945 under the directorship of Eldridge T. Spencer. In addition to overseeing the architectural aspects of the campus, the office was also responsible for overseeing land use and traffic circulation. With the growth of the campus, the administration of planning activities has undergone several renovations. In 1972 the office was renamed Facilities Planning, Construction and Utilization; in 1978 it was known as Facilities Planning and Construction. In the 1980s these elements were handled by two offices: Facilities Project Management and the Planning Office. Other directors represented in these records include Spencer's successor, Harry Sanders, and Philip C. Williams, who became director in 1975.

Stanford University Plant Services Records, 1888-1953 (SC0123)

The bulk of this collection consists of building specifications for various campus buildings and some faculty homes. Includes plans and elevations from a number of campus buildings, primarily pre-1917; expense ledgers for construction costs for 1906 and 1922; and scrapbooks of clippings and photographs, 1944-1953, pertaining to campus planning and construction.

Card Catalog (Field Reading Room)

You will find some cards citing articles in publications (typically Stanford publications) as well as some cards for specific archival items or collections. The card catalog ceased to be updated in the 1980s; always be sure to search Socrates as well.

Ready Reference Sources

(Request from desk staff in Field Reading Room)

Stanford University Planning Office. Chronological Summary of Construction. March 21, 1972.

Nerrie, Robert. The Stanford Quad, A Study of the Quad’s Architectural and Planning Elements. 1978.

Spencer, Eldridge. Stanford University Plans and Builds. 1949.

Several resources available on campus houses

Several resources available on Frederick Law Olmsted and the original plans


Stanford Historical Photograph Collection (Digital Images | Finding Aid)

The Stanford Historical Photograph Collection contains more than 16,000 images documenting Stanford University and its founders. Photographs in the collection come from a wide variety of sources, including university offices and organizations, academic departments, and donations from alumni and others. The majority of the photographs are black and white gelatin prints, but nineteenth-century albumen prints are also represented as are cyanotypes and color prints. While some images may be as small as 2x2 inches, most are between 4x5 inches and 8x10 inches in size. The collection spans the late 1880s through the 1990s. More recent photographs can be found at the Stanford News Service.

SALLIE (Stanford All-Image Exchange)

SALLIE is Stanford's campus-wide system for managing and sharing digital assets (photos, video, and other file types) used in communications. SALLIE was created for:

    • departments who want to store, organize, and protect photographs and other types of digital assets used for communications
    • individual users who want to obtain images and other media for use in Stanford websites, publications, and other forms of communication

The project to implement SALLIE is a joint effort of University Communications and Administrative Systems.

Search Tips

For further resources, search the Online Archive of California or peform a SearchWorks search for the Library of Congress subject term "Stanford University Buildings." You may also use "Stanford Architecture" or the specific building in question as a keyword search. Remember that individual buildings are not always named in the collection description or the subjects. When searching for architectural records pertaining to a specific department or building, first check to see if that particular department or building has its own collection within the University Archives' finding aids in the Online Archive of California. Collection guides are available in the Field Reading Room; they are housed on shelving on the wall to the right of the reading room doors and are ordered by collection number.