The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Stanford, Leland

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STANFORD, Leland, American capitalist and philanthropist: b. Watervliet, Albany County, N. Y., 9 March 1824; d. Palo Alto, Cal., 21 June 1893. He studied law and commenced its practice at Port Washington, Wis., but in 1852 went to California and engaged in mining for four years. In 1856 he founded a business in San Francisco which became the nucleus for a fortune estimated at over $50,000,000. In 1860 he entered public life as a delegate to the convention that nominated Abraham Lincoln for the Presidency. About this time he became president of the Central Pacific Railroad, an enterprise in which he was deeply interested financially. He was governor of California, 1861-63; and United States senator, 1885-91. He did much to promote the agricultural development of California and to increase its transportation facilities, but he will probably be longest remembered, however, as the founder of Lebnd Stanford Jr. University, for which he made an initial gift of $20,000,000. This work, begun in commemoration of his son, was continued by his wife. Jane Lathrop Stanford (q.v.), who erected at Palo Alto a beautful and costly memorial church to his memory. See Leland Stanford Jr. University.