Leland Stanford Jr.

Leland Stanford Jr.

Leland Stanford in 1872
Born Leland DeWitt Stanford
(1868-05-14)May 14, 1868
Sacramento, California, U.S.
Died March 13, 1884(1884-03-13) (aged 15)
Florence, Italy
Cause of death Typhoid fever
Nationality American
Known for Namesake of Stanford University
Parent(s) Leland Stanford (father)
Jane Lathrop (mother)
Leland Stanford's death mask on display at the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts

Leland Stanford Jr. (May 14, 1868 – March 13, 1884), known as Leland DeWitt Stanford until age nine,[1] is the namesake of Stanford University, adjacent to Palo Alto, California, United States.

Early life

He was the only child of Governor Leland Stanford of California and his wife Jane Stanford née Lathrop.

Illness and death

Leland caught typhoid two months before his 16th birthday, while on a Grand Tour of Europe with his parents. He originally fell ill in Athens. His parents rushed him to Italy for medical treatment, first to Naples, then to Rome, and eventually to Florence, where he died after weeks of alternately improving and worsening.[2]

Stanford University

Leland Stanford Sr. told his wife that "the children of California shall be our children."[3][4][5] To honor their son upon returning to the United States, the Stanfords devoted their fortune to a memorial in his name, Leland Stanford Junior University. The university opened its doors in 1891.

Leland Stanford Jr. is interred beside his parents at the Stanford family mausoleum on the Stanford campus. After the death of his father on June 21, 1893, his mother guided the development of the university until her death on February 28, 1905.


Although the university is generally referred to as "Stanford University" or "Stanford", its official name is still "Leland Stanford Junior University", as seen on the university seal.[6]


  1. Stanford Founders
  2. Mirielees, Edith R., Stanford:The Story of a University, G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1959, page 20
  3. The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. II, p. 129. New York: James T. White & Company, 1899. Reprint of 1891 edition.
  4. Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. XVII, p. 504. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1935.
  5. Cleveland Amory, Who Killed Society?, pp. 432-433. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960.
  6. Viz.

External links

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