In 1998, the Stanford University Libraries, under the direction of University Librarian Michael A. Keller, celebrated the centennial of Sunset Magazine with a comprehensive published volume containing historical portraits and a chronological bibliography of selected topics, titled Sunset Magazine: A Century of Western Living, 1898-1998: Historical Portraits and Bibliography. Concurrently, an early and ambitious web site containing key content from the published volume was produced by the Library. This exhibit aims to recreate the key elements and feel of that site as faithfully as possible, employing SUL’s new SpotLight exhibit platform, as well as present a newly digitized version of the print publication.

To be sure, much has changed since the volume and companion website were published in 1998. Key contributors L.W. “Bill” Lane, Jr. and Melvin B. Lane have passed, as has Dr. Kevin Starr, eminent historian of California. In 2015, Sunset Magazine left its iconic corporate headquarters in Menlo Park for new offices in Oakland.

Yet, despite these changes, the Stanford Libraries’ commitment to preserving historical content from Sunset Magazine continues unabated. Thanks to the generosity of the Lane family, the papers of L.W. “Bill” Lane, Jr. were donated to the Department of Special Collections in Green Library in 2011. In 2015, with the move of Sunset out of Menlo Park, the magazine generously donated a large archive of records, chiefly comprised of the photographic files of the magazine from the 1940s through the late 1990s, as well as a variety of administrative records and published books. As University Librarian Michael Keller noted in his 1998 foreword, “The relationship between Sunset and Stanford is deep, multivalent, and lasting.” The rebirth of the 1998 website and published volume is a testament to that lasting relationship.

Sunset magazine: a century of Western living, 1898-1998: historical portraits and a chronological bibliography of selected topics

The text in this digitized volume is fully searchable. A video tutorial demonstrating full-text search is available; please check it out: