Correspondence about Professor Ross' dismissal, including
resignation letters of faculty departing in protest, newsclipings, pamphlets, and
pamphlets by Ross.
In the late 1890s, sociology professor Edward A. Ross gained notoriety following several
years of political activism in favor of the free silver movement, municipal ownership of
utilities (including the railroads), and Japanese exclusion. While Mrs. Stanford found
his opinions personally objectionable, her main concern was the reputation of the
univeristy which, she felt, would be damaged by hasty espousal of political and social
fads. The founders had intended the university to be free from the pressures of
political partisanship; the apolitical nature of the university was now endangered by
Ross's activities. Publicly, Mrs. Stanford affirmed President Jordan's power as defined
in the Founding Grant to "remove professors and teachers at will," giving him full
responsibility for clearing up the matter; however, privately, she pressed for Ross's
dismissal. She disagreed with Ross's economic theories and was indignant about the idea
of municipal ownership of the railroads, but she was particularly shocked by his
anti-Japanese stand. Mrs. Stanford identified such attitudes with the earlier
anti-Chinese movement instigated by Dennis Kearny and its resulting "reign of terror"
which had pervaded San francisco. Ross, she felt, was a racist.
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