Limited Financial Resources


As previously mentioned, as soon as the intention of establishing a seaside laboratory became known, the city of Pacific Grove contributed $300 to the initiative. To this sum, the Pacific Improvement Company contributed $500 and offered free lease of the land for the use of a seaside laboratory. Besides these contributions, Timothy Hopkins donated $1,000, then through his encouragement, the Pacific Improvement Company increased the amount of land provided and gifted this property to Stanford University in the form of a deed. With the property and funds in hand, the directors constructed the first building, furnished the laboratories, plumbed the structure, built a seawater storage tank, and engineered a gas powered pump to distribute seawater throughout the building. The year following the opening of the laboratory, a severe winter storm damaged the building, to which Mr. Hopkins contributed $255 for its repair. Beyond this amount, Timothy Hopkins contributed $5000 for the construction of a second laboratory building on the property and an additional $5000 for the purchase of books on the subject of biology. (1)


In 1905, a letter written to President David Starr Jordan outlining the activities and accomplishments of the seaside laboratory, from the Directors of the Hopkins Seaside Laboratory, CH Gilbert and OP Jenkins, mentioned the source of financial support beyond the initial funding:

The class of investigators [Stanford faculty and visiting scientists] were given the use of the laboratory and its equipment free of all expenses. Of the other two classes [the students of Stanford University, and the schoolteachers and students of the Pacific slope taking summer courses] a corps of instructors was employed. From these fees the salaries of the instructors, the whole expense of running the laboratory, and the rest of the repairs of the laboratory were paid up to the year 1903, in addition a windmill was purchased. (2)

This communication regarding the financing of the seaside laboratory was also mentioned in a letter written by George C. Price, then Emeritus Professor of Zoology to Walter K. Fisher, then Professor of Zoology, and Director of the Hopkins Marine Station, in which he describes the level of support, or lack there of, from both Timothy Hopkins and Stanford University during these years. (3)

Lafayette, Indiana August 15, 1934

My dear Fisher:

Your letter on July 2nd reached me just as I was on the point of starting for the East. I shall try to find a picture of myself and send you. I may possibly have some group pictures of the people at the laboratory, although I never took any myself. I was at the laboratory in 1893, 1894 and 1895. These years Jenkins and Gilbert were there in charge. As I remember they were never there after the summer of 1895 and did practically nothing for the laboratory though they kept their names as directors.

I was in charge of the work the following years, 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1914 and 1915. During those years the laboratory did not receive a cent from either Mr. Hopkins or from the University. The instructors, the tax, the water and the repairs were all paid from tuition money. Investigators did not pay anything yet some people found fault with the institution giving courses to undergraduates and for not doing more for investigation.

I understand that at first Mr. Hopkins was much interested in the laboratory, and was liberal in supplying money, but stopped when Dr. Jordon spent the money for fish bottles and for law books. I couldn’t prove this.

Sincerely Yours

G. C. Price

And so it was that during the first twenty-five years of its existence, the Hopkins Seaside Laboratory, beyond the initial support from Timothy Hopkins, the Pacific Improvement Company and the city of Pacific Grove, was dependent for its upkeep and extension, chiefly upon student fees. It would not be until the year 1917, when the biological laboratory was relocated to China Point, that an increase in the amount of financial support would be provided.


(1) Letter from the Directors Charles Henry Gilbert and Oliver Peeble Jenkins to David Starr Jordan. February 22, 1905. . [Quoted by permission of the Harold A. Miller Library, Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University.]

(2) Ibid.

(3) Letter written by George C. Price, then Emeritus Professor of Zoology, Stanford University, to Walter K. Fisher, then Professor of Zoology, and then Director of the Hopkins Marine Station. August 15, 1934. . [Quoted by permission of the Harold A. Miller Library, Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University.]