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Libraries at Hopkins

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THE LIBRARY AT HOPKINS SEASIDE LABORATORY lab in first building at Hopkins Seaside Laboratory

The Hopkins Marine Station Library dates back to 1892 when the Hopkins Seaside Laboratory was established at Lovers’ Point in Pacific Grove, California.This original laboratory consisted of two wooden buildings, each two stories in height. Several published articles mention an available library in the first of two buildings constructed. According to Oliver P. Jenkins, “On the first floor of the first building were two general laboratories, a storeroom, and a library room.”1 Dr. Howard Ayers who visited the Seaside Laboratory in 1892 wrote: “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.”2 Frank Mace MacFarland, in an article published in 1902, mentioned a library on the second building built in 1894. “The second floor has a large room fitted with blackboard, tables, and bookshelves, used for lecture room and library, five private laboratories and a dark room for photography.3 There are several other references to a library room at the Hopkins Seaside Laboratory including the Stanford University Annual Report (1892), (Davis, 1895), Sanborn Map (1897), and Sanborn Map (1914). After twenty-five years at Point Aulon, the two wood framed buildings deteriorated to where they were inadequate for use. In 1916, through the efforts of President Ray Lyman Wilbur and the Stanford Board of Trustees, a land exchange was negotiated that secured five acres of land, one-half mile east of the Point Aulon (Fisher, 1918).4


According to Walter K. Fisher, plans for the Hopkins Marine Station’s first building resulted from the efforts of Professor Frank M. McFarland, of the Department of Anatomy, in discussions with Professor Charles Henry Gilbert, of the Department of Zoology. When completed in 1918, this structure built of reinforced concrete, stood forty-one feet wide by eighty-four feet long, and a height of three stories. Located on the third floor of the laboratory building, the Hopkins Marine Station Library featured a generous fireplace and an adjoining room for writing.5

With contributions made in later half of the 1920’s from the Rockefeller Foundation, Stanford University increased the amount and scope of the work being conducted at Hopkins Marine Station. The construction of the Jacques Loeb Laboratory was sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation to support scientist conducting experimental biology. One result of this directed research focus was acquiring the scientific literature associated with this field of study, associated with the Loeb Laboratory. It was this specific literature, which included monographs and periodic journals that filled the stack room on the second floor of the Laboratory. The Jacques Loeb Laboratory, completed in 1928, included a library on the second story of the building comprised of two stack rooms and a reading room. This elevated location delivered a magnificent view of the curve of Monterey Bay, from Lover's Point to the Santa Cruz Mountains.6

Mentioned in the Annual Report of the President Stanford University Bulletin Fifth Series, No. 101 November 1930, " The libraries at Pacific Grove (Hopkins Marine Station and Jacques Loeb Laboratory), although not directly under the administration of this office, have been visited twice during the year. Both were found to be in excellent physical condition and well administered."

During the 1930’s and into the 1940’s, these separate library collections were maintained in each of the two laboratories. One library was on the third floor of the Alexander Agassiz Laboratory and another library on the second floor of the Jacques Loeb Laboratory. The collection held in the Alexander Agassiz Laboratory supported the needs of researchers practicing the traditional lines of research in zoology and botany and the scientists conducting research associated with the hydrobiological survey of the Monterey Bay. The collection held in the Jacques Loeb Laboratory supported the needs of those conducting research in biochemistry, biophysics, physiology, experimental morphology, and marine bacteriology.

In 1930 - 1931, a secretary at the Marine Station, Mrs. Doris S. Mestre, wife of Professor Harold Mestre, worked part of her time as the librarian. For many years thereafter the Marine Station secretary was often responsible for keeping track of library matters.

These secretaries, over the years, included Mr. Robert Leslie Bruckman who served from 1934 -1942, took up the art of bookbinding in his spare time.  Bruckman began the craft when Anne Benson Fisher, wife of Walter K. Fisher gave him an old leather skirt for use in binding scientific journals. According to RL Blinks, he established a binding shop in a small room near the library on the second floor of the Loeb Laboratory.  Bruckman’s tenure was followed by Mrs. Ethel Mildred Myers, who served from 1943 – 1944. Mrs. Myers was the wife of Dr. Earl H Myers, a visiting scientist who was studying the ecology of the Foraminifera of the Java Sea.

Miss Frances Stobaugh 1945 – 1960, and Mrs. Anne B. Johnson 1961-1964. Beyond the supportive role of the Station secretary, Stanford University Libraries Director Nathan Van Patten and his staff provided everything possible to meet the library needs of the Hopkins Marine Station.

In 1931, the Hopkins Marine Station Library was integrated into the Stanford University Libraries system and the collection of 693 volumes cataloged. Index cards for the journals and books in the library were duplicated and made available in the central catalog of the University libraries. All acquisitions were processed through the Order Division, and the cataloging handled by Stanford Libraries prior to books being shipped to Pacific Grove. During these years, the Hopkins Marine Station Library was visited several times by the Reviser of the Bibliography Division and the Director of University Libraries.7

During the first years of the library, finances for establishing and adding to the collection were limited. In 1932, the Rockefeller Foundation provided a generous donation of $20,000 toward a library fund for Hopkins Marine Station with the understanding that Stanford University would contribute an equal amount toward the fund.8

According to the Annual Report of the President of Stanford University of 1932, Stanford Board of Trustees adopted a resolution to provide supporting funds to match the donation offered by the Rockefeller Foundation:


Under date of September 8, 1932, the Board adopted a resolution, as follows: Resolved, That, in order to match the $20,000.00 appropriated in April, 1930, by the Rockefeller Foundation to Stanford University as a Library Fund for the Hopkins Marine Station, the Acting President be authorized to use the following funds:

$4,154.24, already contributed by President Wilbur to the Hopkins Marine Station Library Fund;
$ 500.00, covering the Mary Matilda Storey bequest;
$ 100.00, from T. H. Morgan;
$3,500.00, from the equipment and expense funds of the Jacques Loeb

$2,500.00, from the Equipment and Expense funds of the Hopkins Marine Station.

The balance required to make up the sum of $20,000.00 to be covered by setting aside the necessary amount from the income of the Jewel Fund of the University Library. (1932-1933). 9

In 1934, E. S. Pillsbury provided the Hopkins Marine Station Library with an endowment of $15,250 for the purchase of books (1933-1934).10  

With this endowment of $50,000, the Hopkins Marine Station Library’s future development of the collection was secured.  These funds allowed for the acquisition of scientific literature in the fields of marine botany and zoology, biophysics, biochemistry, oceanography, and related subjects of great importance to the faculty, students, and staff of the Hopkins Marine Station.

During the year 1933, a significant amount of scientific literature was purchased by the library to support a research program named the Hydrobiological Survey of Monterey Bay. These acquisitions brought the total collection to 4,000 titles held in the library, each of which had been cataloged, classified, and indexed.11


Loeb Laboratory 1962. library top floor left

Until the 1940s, the Library was cared for by HMS faculty and students, after which time it became part of Stanford University Libraries under the guidance of the Chief Science Librarian Frederick Falconer. During this decade the collection held on the third floor of the Alexander Agassiz Laboratory was transferred to the library on the second floor of the Jacques Loeb Laboratory, which offered 2400 square feet of space and a panoramic view of the Monterey Bay. 12

During the 1940s and 1950s Stanford's Chief Science Librarian, Frederick Falconer, frequently traveled to Pacific Grove to work on the collection. In addition to the Hopkins secretary, he regularly assigned a graduate student to carry out the daily routines of processing interlibrary loans, serial check-in, and re-shelving materials.

Lawrence Blinks, director of Hopkins Marine Station described the Stanford librarians diligent efforts as follows: “Frederic Falconer, made frequent visits to Hopkins Marine Station: driven down by his wife Edith as he could not hear and balance and coordination were poor.  When visiting, Mr. Falconer worked on bindery efforts.  While on main campus, he often spent his entire evenings and weekends on the job, compiling bibliography cards, which he sent down to faculty here.

The following letter from Frederic Falconer to the Secretary of Hopkins Marine Station, Frances Stobaugh, allows one to appreciate the librarian skills required for this position and the light-hearted communication shared by the two Stanford employees.

July 17, 1948

Miss Frances Stobaugh
Hopkins Marine Station
Pacific Grove, Calif.

Dear Miss Stobaugh:

Thanx much for yours of June 29th; tis a matter which should have been taken care of ages ago.

With respect to two of the four items, Bayliss, ac. no. 433087 and 631550 are now on the desk waiting wrapping and will be sent you today or tomorrow·. Mitchell Textbk.

of general physiology is not on the shelf, which could mean, and probably does that it is missing. A replacement has been ordered. Same should be here within a week, at which time will send or bring to you. Barely possible that replacement might be the third ed. instead of second, but that could be all to the good (or so we hope). Barnes: Lab. manual of general physiology Ac. 516638 has never been here. As far as can be ascertained there are not any other books here belonging to the Station or Dr. Blinks.

It is my fervent hope to be able to spend two days at the Station, subject of course to Dr. Blink’s approval and conditions here. Tentative dates wd. be July 9th and 10th, perchance might there be space in the Dormitory for me the eve of July 9th? If not, I could probably stay elsewhere, which problem could be solved later (a library table really isn't such a bad place to sleep).

F. M. Falconer

Before the mid-1960s, there had been no appointed library personnel assigned to support the Hopkins Marine Station Library.  In 1966, with the encouragement of Stanford Director of Libraries, Rutherford Rogers and Hopkins Marine Station Director, John Phillips, the Station hired Alan Baldridge as the first full-time professional librarian. Baldridge held the position until 1974 when he took a position as associate professor and librarian at the University of Miami's Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

During this eight-year period of Baldridge’s tenure at Hopkins, there was a sizable increase to the scope of the collection in an effort to support the research and teaching goals of the station. This broadened range of the collection resulted in the serial records and local card catalog being revised and brought up to date.  A large backlog of binding was completed and considerable improvements with new equipment, furniture, and shelving. 13

Remaining in her position as Library Services Assistant, Ms. Susan Harris continued to support the library ensuring the full functionality and access to the collection remained available.


In 1977, the Monterey Boat Works was renovated to provide space for the Marine Station’s lecture hall, an extensive set of dive lockers and showers, front

office and the library. The following year the collection was relocated from the second floor of Jacques Loeb Laboratory to the Boat Works building.  The new library space and collection was then christened the C. B. van Niel Library of Biological Sciences. The following year the director of the Station, Professor Colin Pittendrigh, convinced Alan Baldridge to return to his position.  In 1979, Baldridge resumed his position at Hopkins Marine Station as head librarian of the C. B. van Niel Library and assistant to the director. 14

For twelve years, the van Niel Library held space in the Boat Works, which proved to be less than adequate as the location.  Challenges to this new location for the library included poor lighting, increased crowding, the noise of typewriters, telephones, and foot traffic. Through this period, Alan Baldridge served as Head Librarian and Ms. Susan Harris as Library Services Assistant, providing stellar support despite the inadequacies.15


With growing concern of the susceptibility of the wooden Boat Works building to fire and overcrowding in the van Niel library, Stanford recognized the need to provide a modern fire-safe facility to protect the collection and properly accommodate the patrons.

In 1985, a handful of Hopkins supporters formed a committee to raise the estimated $1.5 million for construction of a new library building. The Committee had great success with the fundraising effort. Major donors included the Monterey Bay Aquarium providing a gift of $200,000; Two anonymous donors provided $300,000 and $100,000; Mrs. Harold A. Miller of Portland, Oregon extended her and her late husband's exceptional history of financial support for Hopkins Marine Station with a naming gift to the library in the amount of $500,000.16

In the spring of 1988, construction of the new library building began. The chosen location was a treeless plateau overlooking the shoreline of Pacific Grove toward Lover’s Point Park and the outer Monterey Bay. Esherick, Homsey, Dodge and Davis of San Francisco, the architects selected for the library, had also designed the recently completed Monterey Bay Aquarium.  Their plan for the Marine Station was a single-story 9,000 square foot structure, which provided over three times the floor space of the C. B. van Niel library. The new library was named after the late businessman, philanthropist and Stanford alumnus, Harold A. Miller, whose estate was the major donorThe Harold A. Miller Library dedication ceremony took place on May 16, 1989. Doors opened to the Stanford faculty, students and staff shortly thereafter.17

During this period, Alan Baldridge continued as Head Librarian until his retirement in 1993. Ms. Susan Harris continued as Library Services Assistant until her retirement in 2008.


1. Jenkins, Oliver Pebbles  (1893). The Hopkins Seaside Laboratory. Zoe, 4: 58-63
2.  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.
3. MacFarland, F. M. (1902). The Hopkins Seaside Laboratory. Journal of Applied Microscopy and Laboratory Methods. 5 (7) 1869-1875.
4. Fisher, W. K. (1918). The New Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University Science, New Series, Vol. 47, No. 1217 (Apr. 26, 1918), pp. 410-412.
5. Fisher, W. K. (1918). The New Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University Science, New Series, Vol. 47, No. 1217 (Apr. 26, 1918), pp. 410-412.
6. Hopkins Marine Station Bulletin, 1930. Stanford University Bulletin.  Fifth Series, No. 86.  February 3, 1930.  Stanford University, California.
7. Annual Report of the President of Stanford University For The Thirty-Ninth Academic Year ending August 31, 1930. Stanford University, California.  Published by the University.
8. Annual Report of the President of Stanford University For The Forty Second Academic Year ending August 31, 1933. Stanford University, California.  Published by the University.
9. Ibid.
10. Annual Report of the President of Stanford University For The Forty Second Academic Year ending August 31, 1933. Stanford University, California.  Published by the University.
11. Ibid.
12. Library Profiles I: Hopkins Marine Station.  Library Bulletin of Stanford University Libraries. Volume 27, Number 14, Page 63.  April 4, 1975.
13. Ibid
14. Baldridge, Alan and Wible, Joseph G. (2006).  Hopkins Marine Station Library, old and new. Imprint of the Stanford Libraries Associates ; v. 24, no. 2. p. 4-14. Spring 2006
15. Ibid
16.  Hopkins Marine Station Library will be named the Harold A. Miller Library.  Fundraising in the home stretch. Report to Committee Members. Stanford University Major Gifts Program. (September 1986: Final Issue).
17. Baldridge, Alan and Wible, Joseph G. (2006).  Hopkins Marine Station Library, old and new. Imprint of the Stanford Libraries Associates ; v. 24, no. 2. p. 4-14. Spring 2006

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