Born: August 25, 1828 in Albany, NY
Died: February 25, 1905 in Honolulu, Hawaii
Married: Leland Stanford on September 30, 1850
Maiden Name: Lathrop
Father: Dyer Lathrop
Mother: Jane Ann Shields
Husband: Leland Stanford
Children: Leland Stanford, Jr.
Find out more about the time period and interests of Jane Stanford
The third of seven children, Jane Lathrop grew up in a well-to-do home in Albany. She was educated at the Albany Female Academy. Jane met Leland Stanford while he was studying law in Albany. They married on September 30, 1850. Leland left for California shortly after their marriage while Jane remained in New York for five years caring for her ill father. After her father’s death, Leland returned to New York and he and Jane set sail for San Francisco on November 16, 1855. The Stanfords eventually moved to Sacramento where they purchased the mansion on Eight and N Streets that now operates as the Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park. When Jane was First Lady she established the custom where the first call of ladies visiting Sacramento should be to the First Lady. As one of the “Big Four” Leland Stanford brokered political and business deals at the mansion while Jane made it the social entertainment center of the city. In 1900, Jane donated the mansion to the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento for the “nurture, care and maintenance of homeless children.” The home was used as an orphanage by the Sisters of Mercy until 1987. After their only son, Leland Stanford Jr. died in 1884, the couple endowed Leland Stanford Junior University in Palo Alto, in honor of their beloved child. Jane oversaw the University’s operations until her death on February 28, 1905. Jane Stanford is buried on the campus grounds next to her husband and son.
- Cook and LaDue, The First Ladies of California, Xlibris Corporation, 2007