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Guide to the John Casper Branner Papers
SC0034  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
These papers are Branner's personal and professional papers and do not contain any of his Stanford University Presidential records. The collection contains most of his outgoing and incoming correspondence for the years 1882 to 1921. The outgoing correspondence is in letter press books and has not been indexed. The incoming correspondence has been arranged, but not indexed except for a very few names of importance to Stanford University or of national significance. There is a fairly complete collection of articles and books by Branner as well as manuscripts, photographs, and line drawings of geographical formations; three scrapbooks of earthquake pictures; the report of the Commission investigating the Panama Canal slides; and the manuscript of the Baker genealogy which Branner made. There is a lot of material of interest to geologists and students of the history of geology. While State Geologist of Arkansas Branner refused to encourage speculation concerning gold and silver mines and finally said that there were none of importance, for which he was reviled in many newspapers and hanged in effigy twice. The letters from his field assistants give a rather complete (and amusing) picture of Arkansas in the 1880s. There is also correspondence, mostly during 1906, concerning Branner's dissatisfaction with the U. S. Geological Survey and finally his resignation from it. Branner had many students at Stanford who went on to make quite a reputation as geologists, among them Herbert Hoover and his wife, Lou Henry Hoover. There are many letters from these students from all over the world. Especially interesting are those from the Hoovers and N. F. Drake who were in Tientsin at the time of the Boxer Rebellion. Branner's great interest was Brazil. He had visited Brazil while a graduate student in 1882 and was to make return trips throughout his life. His interests were not purely geological as he also wrote a Portuguese grammar and translated a book on the Portuguese inquisition. A college classmate of his, Ajax J. Lamoureux, lived in Brazil from 1886 to 1906 and his letters give a detailed description of the life there.
Background
John Casper Branner, second president of Stanford University, was born in New Market, Tennessee in 1850. He entered Cornell University in 1870, but left in 1874 for Brazil first as assistant geologist on the Geological Survey of Brazil then as assistant engineer for the Sao Cyriaco Gold Mining Company. He returned to Cornell to finish his b.s. degree in 1882. Between 1883 and 1891, he served in a number of state positions including topographic geologist for Pennsylvania and State Geologist of Arkansas; between 1885 and 1891, he also served as professor of geology at Indiana University. The first professor to be named at the new Stanford University in 1891, Branner served as professor of geology at Stanford as well as executive head of the Geology Department. He later served as vice president of Stanford (1898-1913) and president of Stanford (1913-1915) and professor emeritus (1915-1922). He died on March 1, 1922.
Extent
40 Linear feet
Restrictions
Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.
Availability
Collection is open for research; materials must be requested at least 24 hours in advance of intended use.