Visiting Scientists

Besides the students who took part in regular summer course work in biology, a significant amount of scientific research was conducted by members of Stanford University, and visiting scientists from other institutions, who reserved private investigator rooms. Among the latter were Bashford Dean and William K. Gregory both from Columbia, Wesley R. Coe from Yale University, Ida H. Hyde of the University of Kansas, Howard Ayres, Director of Lake Laboratory, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Franz Doflein of Freiberg, Germany, Jacques Loeb and Charles Manning Child, Assistant Professor of Zoology, both from the University of Chicago, and Cornelia M. Clapp, Professor of Zoology, Mt. Holyoke College. Presented in the appendix of this book is a list of Stanford students, faculty and visiting scientists who made use of the investigator rooms through the years.


There are several references to the existence of a library room at the Hopkins Seaside Laboratory including the Stanford University Annual Report (1892), (Jenkins, 1893), (Davis, 1895), Sanborn Map (1897), (MacFarland, 1902), and Sanborn Map (1914).(16) Dr. Howard Ayers who visited the Seaside Laboratory in 1892 mentioned the availability of library:

Mr. Hopkins has not been unmindful of the library which is a fundamental need of all research work, for he proposes to make and keep it the most complete collection of biological literature in connection with any biological laboratory in this country. (17)

Besides there being space available for a library room at the Seaside Laboratory, Timothy Hopkins provided funds for the publication of research efforts conducted by the investigators titled "The Hopkins Laboratory Contributions to Biology" which allowed for thirty-two volumes to be published. (18) Beyond the education of those who attended the six-week summer session, there was the aforementioned scientific research conducted, and for the investigators of science, there was, at least on a minimal scale, a need for equipment.


In the early days of the first seaside laboratories, practically the only equipment that was necessary was a place to sleep and a building in which to work. Those first days of the early seaside laboratories was a period when general biological observations and field trips were the primary activities of the students and biologists, for whom the facilities were established. A little glassware and a microscope was nearly all that was required, even for the most technical investigative science. For a long time it was quite easy for the biologist to bring along with them the necessary equipment required for their summer research, and these items could be set up in a very minimal amount of time. (19)

Within the Stanford Annual Report of 1893 was presented a brief description of the equipment available for use to students attending Hopkins Seaside Laboratory: Each student will be furnished with a good compound microscope. There is a good supply of reagents and supplies for microscopical work—dissecting microscopes, imbedding apparatus, and glassware. Apparatus for work in experimental physiology is also provided. While there is a good supply of microscopes, and a fair supply of excellent microtomes, investigators who wish to have exclusive use of a microtome, or of immersion or higher power lenses, should bring such apparatus with them. (20)


According to Bashford Dean, there was also available for use a unique instrument that provided an individual viewing access to Monterey Bay’s subtidal communities.

As a convenient means of collecting in the shallow rocky bays a water-glass has been found of great service, especially in securing conspicuous forms such as echinoderms and holothurians, and has to a certain degree served as a substitute for diving apparatus, which here, might well prove of the greatest value” (21)

The water glass, mentioned by Bashford Dean, was a simple piece of research equipment commonly found at many of the early seaside laboratories. The usefulness of the water glass was described by Charles Cleveland Nutting in his Narrative of Bahama Expedition (1896):

"With the aid of the " water-glass." which is nothing more nor less than a glass-bottomed bucket, every detail of the sub-marine scene could be discerned almost as clearly as if one were looking into air rather than water, so exquisitely transparent is the sea around these islands. The bottom of the water-glass is sunk just a little beneath the surface, the bucket being held right side up. All the ripples are thus destroyed, with their attendant confusing reflections, and every object is as sharply defined as in the upper air. The scene thus revealed is one of such surpassing beauty that a poet, rather than a naturalist, should undertake its description." (22)


(16) Sanborn Map (1914).

(17) Ayers, Howard. (1894). Bdellostoma Dombeyi Lac. Biological Lectures Delivered at the Marine Biological Laboratory of Wood's Holl. Summer Sessions of 1893 and 1894. Boston: Ginn & Company.

(18) Elliott, Orrin Leslie (1937). Stanford University - The First Twenty Five Years 1891-1925. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

(19) Harris, R. G. (1931). The Marine Biological Laboratory at Cold Springs Harbor. The Collecting Net. [Woods Hole, Mass.,] 6 (1) 1-6.

(20) Leland Stanford Junior University. (Stanford Annual Report, 1893).

(21) Dean, Bashford. (1897). A Californian Marine Biological Station. Natural Science.

11 (65) 28-35.

(22) Bulletin From The Laboratories of Natural History of the State University of Iowa Volume III; Part I, Narrative of Bahama Expedition by Charles Cleveland Nutting on page 201. (1896)