At a glance

Branner Earth Sciences Library & Map Collections


Branner Earth Sciences Library and Map Collections had its origins when Stanford's first faculty member and second President, John Casper Branner, began buying books as an 18 year old student at Cornell. He continued to acquire books, maps, and reports while at the Pennsylvania and Arkansas Geological Surveys. When he came to Stanford in 1891, he and his wife brought a boxcar full of books, which became the de facto departmental library, with himself also as the university's first librarian. He oversaw its continued growth and use by colleagues and students until he sold it to the University in 1915. He continued to buy and donate books to the collection until his death in 1922.

Three years later, Branner's former student, Dr. Solon Shedd, '96, retired as Geologist of the State of Washington, and became the second curator of the library. His assistant, LeVern Cutler, took over the collection upon Dr. Shedd's death in 1938. With LeVern's departure for wartime duties, his wife, Kathryn Cutler, became librarian, serving for forty years. During her tenure (1939-1979) the library had been moved from its long-time location on the second floor of Geology Corner to its current location in the Mitchell building. Charlotte Derksen became the Head of the Branner Library and the Earth Sciences Bibliographer in 1980 and retained that position until her retirement in 2004. Julie Sweetkind-Singer took over as the Head of Branner Library in 2004. From 2005-2008, Samantha Teplitzky served as the Earth Sciences Bibliographer. Hannah Winkler became the Earth Sciences Librarian and Bibliographer in 2011.

The Earth Sciences library over the years collected a substantial number of maps. These resources were managed by Michael Noga (1982-1986), Rich Soares (1986-1987) and Leilani Freund (1987-1988). The map collection nearly doubled in size after the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989. 100,000 maps were added from Green Library's central map collection. These maps were not cataloged in Socrates, the online library catalog, but were listed in the accompanying card catalog. J.K. Herro, the first official map librarian (1988-1996), began the work of integrating the two collections, online and in reality. His successor, Jean Kan (1996-2000), and map bibliographer Phil Hoehn (1996-2000) continued to catalog the central map collection as well as the Stanford Geological Survey map and field notebook collection.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) program was started, integrating hardware, software, data, and technical expertise for the entire Stanford campus. In support of this important program, the library hired geographers Heather Murapa (1996-1999), Meredith Williams (1999-2006), Mindy Syfert (2006-2009) and Patricia Carbajales (2010-present) to manage this service.

The current GIS & Map Librarian, Julie Sweetkind-Singer (2000-present), and Assistant Map Librarian, Jane Ingalls (2000-present), continued the work of integrating Stanford's map resources by accepting the maps from the Hoover Library and East Asia collections in the summer of 2003. In 2011, G. Salim Mohammed was introduced as the new Digital and Rare Maps Librarian at Stanford University, curating the David Rumsey Map Collection slated to open in 2014. This expansion has led to innovations in the digitizating of maps at Stanford.

With the development of Stanford's Data Managment Services, the library brought on Science Data Librarian Lynn Yarmey, 2010-2011, and Amy Hodge (2012-present).

In addition to John Branner's original collection, the library has been made richer by the gifts of the following collections: Joseph Perrin Smith Malacology Collection, Montessus di Ballore Earthquake and Seismology Collection, the William R. Moran Geology and Map Collection and the Richard Jahns Collection. The current faculty have continued Branner's tradition of building up the library's collections with personal gifts of maps, books, and atlases. 

(Compiled in part by Charlotte Derksen, Head Librarian, 1980 - 2004)