Tall redwoods sheltered the first camps of the Stanford Geological Survey. Stanford field geology students since then have bedded down in deserts, along grassy creek banks, high in the mountains, and on the Baja beaches. At the turn of the [19th] century, John Casper Branner and John Flesher Newsom were taking students along to survey and find fossils in the thickly wooded Santa Cruz mountains just south and west of the campus. From this near-by beginning, a tradition has grown that has brought young apprentices to the rolling ranches of Souther California, over the high Sierra, across exposed, sunbaked rock in Nevada and Utah, and south to the shores of Mexico. Each summer, students went into the field, not just to learn, but to add new detail to the geologic history of the West.
The Stanford Geological Survey existed for 100 years from 1895 to 1995. During this time students and faculty went into the field to survey and map parts of California, Nevada, and Utah. The SGS manuscript collection has been available only to those who visited the library and located the few items shown in the library's catalog.
In the fall of 2001, Branner Earth Sciences Library and Map Collections received a grant from the California State Library to catalog, scan, and display the maps, field notebooks, and field reports from this collection. A subset of the entire corpus is now available online including over 450 maps and 50 field notebooks. The history of the Survey published in 1988 may be found here.