Notable Students

Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover matriculated with the first class ever to enter Stanford University. These first students were known as "pioneers." Hoover learned field mapping from renowned geologist, John Casper Branner. Branner, the first professor hired at Stanford, would go on to be the second president of the university. Prior to coming to Stanford, Branner was the head of the Geological Survey of Arkansas. This map was drawn before the creation of a formal field geology class, which was created in the 1902-03 school year. Hoover, Diggles, and Mitchell survey and mapped the foothills on the Stanford lands. Hoover was the draftsman and noted this on the front of the map. He practiced his name five times on the back using different scripts.

Hoover graduated from Stanford with a Batchelor's Degree in Geology in 1895. He married Lou Henry in 1899, the first woman to receive a degree in geology from the university. Hoover worked as a geologist and mining engineer in Arkansas, California , New Mexico, and Colorado before heading overseas. He worked with mines in Australia and in China. The San Francisco Chronicle published a short article on February 3, 1899 noting that he as "on his way China to take charge for a big English syndicate of extensive explorations of gold districts near Tien-tsin." The Chronicle noted in an article in 1901 that he was being paid $33,000 a year in this position (about $1,000,000 in 2019 dollars) making him "the highest-salaried man of his age in the world."

Herbert Hoover would go on to become the thirty-first President of the United States and a major benefactor to Stanford University through the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. Read more about Herbert and Lou Hoover and their Stanford connections here.

Mary Balch Kennedy

Mary Balch Kennedy came to Stanford as a junior after completing her first two years of college at Mills. She was a tomboy and spent time in her childhood with her father who leased quicksilver mines trying to turn a profit by rehabilitating them. Mary was not allowed to attend the required Summer Geology Camp with the twenty men as it was considered too dangerous. Instead, she lived at home in Los Gatos and mapped the geology of the New Almaden Quadrangle under the direction of Chief Tolman. She notes, “There were lots of rattlesnakes and I was very scared of them.” She said it was rugged country and falling was a serious hazard. “I was probably in more danger, though, than if I had been in camp and had a partner!” After graduation in 1929 she spent many years working with geologists including three years at the US Coast and Geodetic Survey before leaving to start a family.

Thomas Dibblee

Thomas Dibblee, born in 1911, was born in Santa Barbara, California. He was allowed to participate in the field geology course before matriculating at Stanford (AB 1936). This notebook is from that first season in the field. Accompanying the notebook is a typed biography of Mr. Dibblee noting that his instructors were Si Muller and Paul Kerr with Ward Smith as the Teaching Assistant. Ben Page, later a faculty member in the School, was his classmate. The note goes on to say, "His field notes from the Humboldt Range and a tungsten mine in Nevada show his superb skills of observation and description." Mr. Dibblee spent his whole life mapping first for oil companies and later for the US Geological Survey spending significant time in Southern California including the Mojave Desert and the Los Padres National Forest. He died in 2004 at the age of 93.

Benjamin M. Page

Dr. Ben Page came to Stanford in 1929 earning three degrees, all in geology, culminating in his PhD in 1940. He participated in the Survey in 1932 mapping Humboldt Canyon and Tungsten, Nevada. His Master's thesis studied the Pleasant Valley fault zone, Nevada (1934) and his PhD thesis focused on the geology of the Chiwaukum quadrangle in Washington. Dr. Page joined the Stanford faculty in 1943 and was the Chair of the Department of Geology from 1957 until 1969. As was noted in his Stanford obituary written by Janet Basu, "[ed] how the faults and folds of California's geology were formed by the motions of two massive plates or sections of the Earth's crust, and he applied those insights to the geology of continental margins in other parts of the world." Dr. Page participated and often ran the summer field camps in the years 1939-41, 1943, and 1946-1949. He mapped the geology of the Stanford lands allowing the Stanford Linear Accelerator to be build on safe foundations and produced the Geologic Map of Stanford Lands and Vicinity, published in 1997, the year of his death.