Monday, July 16, 2012

Destruction of Stanford's Library in 1906

"It was soon after sunrise April 18, 1906, that the ground now solid underfoot began to heave, to tremble. As one journalist described the sensation of the earthquake, 'It pounced on the earth as some sidereal bulldog, with a rattle of hungry eagerness. The earth was a rat, shaken in the grinding teeth, shaken, shaken, shaken, with periods of slight weariness followed by new bursts of violent rage.' Everyone had supposed the massive construction and modest dimensions of this building would ensure its safety. As a matter of fact, the splendid masonry was stripped off that steel frame under the dome like flimsy paper from a bill-board. The walls that looked as if they might outlive Europe's cathedrals crumbled like lumps of sugar at afternoon tea."  The previous quotation is from the back of a stereoview (see above) showing the destruction of the newly completed library building at Stanford University in Palo Alta, California by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Fortunately, the new library was not yet occupied. More about the impact of the earthquake on Stanford University including the library can be found on the University's website. The stereoview was created by Underwood & Underwood a major publisher of stereoviews. Stereoviews are double images of a scene on a card that when viewed with a stereoscope appear to be three dimensional. Several decades before libraries appeared on picture postcards they could be viewed on stereoviews. I only have a handful of stereoviews in my collection of librariana.

1 comment:

Chris Bourg said...

Thanks for highlighting some of the history of Stanford Libraries. Readers might be interested to note that we have done a bit of renovation since 1906: <a href="> Phoenix Rising: Restored Bing Wing respects past, present, and future </a>.