Who Killed Jane Stanford?

By Richard White,

Book cover of Who Killed Jane Stanford?

Book description

In 1885 Jane and Leland Stanford co-founded a university to honour their recently deceased young son. After her husband's death in 1893, Jane Stanford, a devoted spiritualist who expected the university to inculcate her values, steered Stanford into eccentricity and public controversy for more than a decade. In 1905 she…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Who Killed Jane Stanford? as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Who knew that Jane Stanford, co-founder of Stanford University, was murdered in 1905?

Until recently, exhibits at University museums and family narratives represented the Stanfords as an ideal nuclear unit destroyed by the tragic death of Leland, Jr., at age 15 from typhoid fever. Jane Stanford devoted the rest of her life to honoring her son by creating a great university.

The founding of Stanford University, however, was fraught with conflicts between Jane Stanford, who was obsessed with the spiritual world that she consulted to make academic decisions, and David Starr Jordan, the University’s founding President, who appointed his favorites…

A page-turned, a Gilded Age whodunit, and a case study in how to dig and dig and dig into the historical record. This Stanford professor’s brilliant expose of the Stanford family and the university two of them founded is at its best when it reveals two things: how the public and private worlds of the rich and powerful (then and now) are utterly at odds with one another, and just how strange those private realms could (and can) be. Oh, and a murderer revealed, if but for a moment.

From William's list on family in California.

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