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Pearls for Wisdom

Courtesy Cantor Arts Center

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100 YEARS AGO (1908) Trustees established a “Jewel Fund” endowment for the library. As early as 1897, Jane Stanford had tried to sell her extensive collection of jewels, which she valued at $500,000, for the University’s benefit. Economic conditions and her high asking price initially produced no sales. Two weeks before she died, in 1905, she directed that trustees sell the remaining jewels to create a library endowment for book purchases. The $500,000 fund is now worth about $20 million.

75 YEARS AGO (1933) Trustees on May 11 voted to rescind the women’s enrollment quota of 500. Jane Stanford imposed the cap in 1899, when the proportion of women students had grown to nearly 40 percent and she feared the university that memorialized her son would become largely a girls’ school. But by fall 1932, women made up only 14 percent of the student body. Competition for the 500 spots was intense, and rejection of fully qualified women was creating much ill will. With total enrollment and tu­­ition income dropping because of the Depression, trustees decreed that the ratio of women could increase to what it had been in 1899. (In the early 1970s, the University got court approval to remove Mrs. Stanford’s 1899 amendment to the Founding Grant.)

50 YEARS AG0 (1958) Stanford in Germany, the University’s first overseas campus, opened in June on a 30-acre estate outside Beutelsbach, 12 miles east of Stuttgart. In a harbinger of coed living on the home campus, the 33 men and 30 women, chosen from 197 applicants, took meals together, although they lived in separate buildings. Professors Friedrich “Willi” Strothmann, German, and Robert Walker, political science, conceived the program.

Ernest Arbuckle, ’33, MBA ’36, became dean of the Graduate School of Business. In the next 10 years, he more than doubled the size of the faculty and dramatically strengthened the school. Arbuckle, who died in 1986, had a long association with Stanford: student body officer, assistant to the dean of men, manager of his fraternity, Block S winner, professor and dean, Red Hot Prof, and member of the Board of Trustees.

25 YEARS AG0 (1983) A new bell tower was dedicated near the Quad and the Education Building to house the bells and clockworks from the original steeple of Memorial Church. Nine years after the 1906 earthquake, the Meneely Bell Co. bells and 1901 Seth Thomas clock had been installed in a wooden tower behind the church. That tower had been removed in 1967 and the bells and clockworks placed in storage.

The Stanford Blood Bank became the first in the nation to begin screening blood to prevent the spread of AIDS. It was still not clear that the AIDS virus could be transmitted by blood transfusion.

KAREN BARTHOLOMEW, ’71, writes this column on behalf of the Stanford Historical Society.


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