Lane Library

Stanford Medical School in San Francisco (1909-1959)

Throughout most of the 50-year period from 1908 to 1959, instruction in Stanford Medical School consisted of 2 years of basic science teaching on the Stanford campus 35 miles south of San Francisco, followed by 2 years of clinical teaching centered on the San Francisco facilities that Stanford inherited from Cooper Medical College.

Two major additions were made to these facilities by Stanford. In 1912 an imposing new building was completed to house the Lane Medical Library, the finest medical collection west of Chicago. In 1917, the 180-bed Stanford University Hospital was inaugurated.

These developments were accompanied by continuing efforts by the School to keep pace with progress in medical education which, increasingly after World War II, called for a strong cadre of full-time faculty with the capability and resources to advance the frontiers of biomedical research. As for medical education at Stanford, it was distinguished by excellent clinical teaching, and by faculty and students whose dedication and esprit de corps are recalled to this day with pride and affection by alumni.

Nevertheless, aging and outmoded facilities both in San Francisco and on the Campus; lag in the basic science area and in research productivity generally; inertia in the educational program; and other factors caused grave doubts about the School's capacity with existing resources to meet increasingly rigorous national norms. In response to these circumstances, the Medical Faculty and the University, with the indispensable guidance of J.E. Wallace Sterling, University President from 1949 to 1968, carried out a bold and timely plan that consolidated the School in a new medical center on the Stanford Campus in 1959.

Again at a crucial juncture in the affairs of the School, its future hinged on the foresight and intervention of a single individual: first Cooper, next Lane, then Jordan, and now Sterling.

Lane Library