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Garvin Mine, Arkansas

You know you've made people mad when they hang you in effigy.

Before John Casper Branner came to Stanford, he spent several years as the State Geologist of Arkansas. In 1887-1888, he and his team completed the second-ever geological survey in Arkansas -- and the first in 30 years. Residents of the state were intent on having Branner verify the various reports of gold in the area; companies were busy making money off prospectors willing to buy up gold stock that promised riches and wealth.

This week's Branner 100 exhibit tells the story of the Second Arkansas Geological Survey.

This exhibition honors faculty research from the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences. Many of the papers highlighted in this exhibition are seminal works in the fields of energy, environmental sciences and climate change, and geologic and geophysical research.

Ever wondered what the most checked out books by Stanford authors were at Branner Library? So did we. Included in the exhibit are two such titles that are frequently used: Introduction to Geochemistry by Prof. Dennis Bird and Reservoir Geomechanics by Prof. Mark Zoback. Other notable titles are more recent, such as books authored by Dean Pam Matson and Prof. Rosamond Naylor.

A sampling of faculty titles on display at Branner Library.

Before the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, the map collection at Branner Library consisted mostly of geologic and topographic maps.  Stanford's "Central Map Collection," which had resided in the badly-damaged west wing of Green Library, was subsequently transferred to Branner.

Among the many thematic maps acquired after that time were a number of fanciful "pictorial maps," some of the most interesting being from the 1930's.

For example, there is a 1937 Dole Pineapple map of the Hawaiian Islands, with pictures of boats, fish, cattle, surfers, wildlife, palm trees and airplanes.  The top margin displays distinctive Hawaiian flowers, and the bottom margin shows fish.  The Hawaiian Pineapple Co., Ltd., prepared and distributed this map, presumably to attract visitors.

The Dole Map of the Hawaiian Islands, U.S.A.  Found at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/8514913

Mappa [sic] geologico do Brazil, Geological Society of America, 1991 Branner, John Casper, Contributor.

The Branner Earth Sciences Library is named after John Casper Branner (1850-1922). Branner was, among many things, a geologist, an academic and a founding member of the faculty at Stanford and went on to become Stanford’s second president. He was also president of the Geological Society of America and served as the president of the Seismological Society of America.

 

Mappa [sic] geologico do Brazil, Geological Society of America, 1919. Branner, John Casper, Contributor.

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.  

John Casper Branner, Stanford Historical Photograph Collection (SC1049)

The Stanford University Archives is very glad to announce a one-week exhibit of materials relating to John Casper Branner, the first Professor of Geology at Stanford University, and its second President. This exhibit will be on display at Branner Earth Sciences Library from April 10-17.

Women have been involved in the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences from the early days of the university.  In the beginning a few intrepid women navigated their way through an environment not designed for them.  They were not allowed in the field with the men and were sometimes treated poorly as they competed for lucrative jobs with their male counterparts.  Over the years, these women pioneers became part of the faculty, department chairs, and finally the Dean.  The population of women in the School has grown to where they are now 61% of the undergraduate population and 42% of the graduate students.

As part of the 100 days to 100 years: Branner Earth Sciences Library Celebration, we celebrate these pioneering women who were trailblazers, who literally and figuratively broke new ground in the field.  You may see items related to each of these women on display in the Branner Library exhibit case on the 2nd floor of the Mitchell Earth Sciences Building.

  • Lou Henry Hoover (B.A. Geology, 1898): the first woman to major in geology at Stanford.
  • Mary Balch Kennedy (B.A. Geology, 1929): an early student in the geology program.
  • Dr. A. Myra Keen (B.A., Ph.D. Psychology, 1934): the first woman faculty member and a professor of paleontology.
  • Dr. Gail Mahood (A.B., M.A., Ph.D. Geology, 1980): the first woman to be named department chair in the School.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Miller (B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Geology and Geophysics, 1977): the first woman run the Stanford Geological Survey.
  • Dr. Pamela Matson (B.S., M.S., Ph.D. Forest Ecology, 1983): the first woman to be named Dean of the School.

Have you ever wondered why Stanford is represented by the color cardinal, and not the original choice of gold? Or why the university's motto is in German?

The University Archives, in collaboration with Kathleen Smith, Curator of Germanic Collections and Medieval Studies, is pleased to announce a new exhibition focused on the development of Stanford's insignia. Becoming Stanford: The History and Meaning of the University’s Insignia is now on display in the South Lobby of Green Library.

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