Woman of the Century/Jane Lathrop Stanford
STANFORD, Mrs. Jane Lathrop, philanthropist, born in Albany, N.Y., 25th August, 1825. Her early life was passed in her native place until her marriage to Leland Stanford, a young man of great industry, courage and ambition, but without competency, so far as mere material prosperity is concerned. During the earlier years of struggle and varying fortune she proved herself a true, devoted and faithful wife, gladly sharing all the vicissitudes that came to the lot of her husband, whose indefatigable energy was tested in many a well-fought battle with ungracious fortune. When at last that triumph of human genius and endeavor, the overland railroad, brought marvelous wealth to the heroic men who planned and builded "far better than they knew," Mrs. Stanford found herself in a position to dispense vast means in whatever way she desired. JANE LATHROP STANFORD. She gave with liberal hand to charities, and helped with generous and wise consideration families and individuals who needed assistance. Mrs. Stanford's social life began in 1861, when Mr. Stanford was elected Governor of California. In 1874 Governor Stanford built a magnificent home in San Francisco, but of late years he and Mrs. Stanford have preferred "Palo Alto," their country seat, situated some thirty miles from San Francisco. There they have raised to the memory of their only child that seat of learning which bears the name "The Leland Stanford Junior University." In October, 1891, its doors were opened to over four-hundred students. In this memorial is centered the interest of both Senator and Mrs. Stanford. In all the details incident to the completion of the university Mrs. Stanford had a hand. Not a building was erected without the plans being submitted first to her, and their interior arrangement, decoration and furnishing have been executed under her immediate supervision. She has erected, at her own individual expense, a museum which will contain works of art and a collection of curios gathered by her son during his tours in foreign lands. Senator Stanford gives his wife his closest confidence in all business matters, whether political or financial; she has consequently a wide range of experience in worldly affairs. Besides the gigantic endowment to the university, she has given bountifully to many charitable institutions. In Albany the Children's Hospital was built from a gift of one-hundred-thousand dollars from her and is supported by an endowment of one-hundred-thousand dollars more. The kindergarten schools in San Francisco have also received a gift of one-hundred-sixty-thousand dollars from her. These are her public works of charity, done in remembrance of her son, but her silent deeds of mercy are almost as great as those about which the world knows. Her numerous servants have the greatest affection for her, and to them she is the kindest of mistresses. She has housekeepers, but they, as well as the servants, report to her for instructions. While in Washington, D. C., where she spends much of her time during her husband's service in the United States Senate, she audits and pays all the household bills, keeps the pay roll, and personally pays all the monthly wages. The Chinese have her sympathy, and she considers them somewhat abused.