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The Stanford Geological Survey Exhibit at Branner Library

California, Palo Alto Sheet, 1895

From the very start of Stanford University, geology students were sent into the field to learn mapping.  John Casper Branner and John Flesher Newsom taught field mapping to budding geologists first on the campus and then in the Santa Cruz mountains.  In 1903, an official course was inaugurated called, "Field Geology," taught by geology and mining professors Dr. Branner and Dr. Newsom.  Summer field trips took place every year until 1987.  Students mapped areas such as Mt. Hamilton (San Jose), the Sonoma Range, the Summit King Mine, the Santa Lucia Mountains, and the Snake Range in Nevada. 

The current exhibit at the library includes a map from 1895 by R.B. Marshall covering all of the Stanford lands and out into the marshy Bay, Thomas Dibblee's field notebook from 1932 when he was still in high school, Mary Balch's report on the geology of the New Almaden quadrangle from 1929, the expense account ledger from 1937 showing the expenditures for the season, and more.  

Many of the items in the collection now reside at Branner Library.  In the fall of 2001, Branner Earth Sciences Library and Map Collections received a grant from the California State Library to catalog, scan, and display the maps, field notebooks and field reports from this collection. The project now has over 450 maps and 50 field notebooks online. The collection can be viewed through the Luna Insight browser.

This exhibit is part of the anniversary celebration commemorating the 100th year since the founding of the Branner Earth Sciences Library & Map Collections (June 14, 1915 - June 15, 2015.)

Counting down to the anniversary on June 14, each week we will be exhibiting items from our collection and archive.  This exhibition is part of an ongoing series of anniversary events that culminate with a public celebration, speakers, and tour of the library on Thursday, June 11, 2015 from 4-6:30pm.  Please be sure to join us.

Author

Photo of Julie
Assistant Director of Geospatial and Cartographic Services, Head of the Branner Earth Sciences Library & Map Collections
(650) 725-1102