Lane Library

Death of Mrs. Lane

Professor Cooper's somber prognosis of Mrs. Lane's condition was soon borne out. Priscilla C. Lane, aged 65, died in the Lane residence at 2302 Clay street on 9 August 1902 - six months following the death of Dr. Lane, and just two weeks after Professor Cooper's departure from San Francisco. The death certificate, filed at the San Francisco Department of Public Health by Dr. C. N. Ellinwood, her personal physician, assigned the chief cause of death to "Fatty Degeneration of the Heart," with "Dilatation of the Right Ventricle" as the contributing cause. It would have been simpler and perhaps more plausible to attribute the death of this accomplished and dutiful woman to a broken heart.


Annual Meeting of Cooper Medical College

This Twentieth Annual Meeting, held on 11 and 20 August 1902 , immediately after the death of Mrs. Lane, was the occasion for making funeral arrangements for the deceased and administrative adjustments in the governance of the College. [20]

It was announced that Mrs. Lane wished her body to be cremated after death and her remains to find a last resting place with those of her husband in a suitable receptacle in the College building.

Two new Members of Cooper Medical College Corporation were chosen by the surviving Members to replace Dr. and Mrs. Lane. Fortunately for the future welfare of the College, two strong men were unanimously elected to these positions - Drs. Adolph Barkan and Stanley Stillman. As a result of these and previous elections, the following were now the statutory six permanent Members of the Corporation; and the five Directors elected annually by the Members:

Members Board of Directors

  • Dr. C. N. Ellinwood, President
  • Dr. E. R. Taylor, Vice President
  • Dr. Henry Gibbons, Jr., Treasurer
  • Dr. Adolph Barkan
  • Dr. Stanley Stillman
  • Dr. Emmet Rixford (Secretary -not a Director)

In view of the unprecedented administrative problems soon to be encountered by the Members and Directors of Cooper Medical College , the composition of these important bodies (as of 11 August 1902) is outlined above for future reference.


Memorial Statement in Honor of Mrs. Lane

At a Regular Meeting of the Faculty on 17 November 1902 Professor Ellinwood read the following memorial statement to express the sorrow of the Faculty at the death of Mrs. Lane: [21]

We, the Faculty of Cooper Medical College, recognize in the death of Pauline C. Lane the loss of one whose life and ambition were in perfect unison with that of her husband, Dr. Levi Cooper Lane, in the founding, development and fostering care of Cooper Medical College and Lane Hospital.

We record to her all honor for her noble participation in the high aspirations and great achievements of Doctor Lane for the advancement of medical education; for her beneficent and intelligent interest in the Medical Profession and in humanity; and also for the crowning act of her long life of devotion to the diffusion of knowledge, for the welfare of mankind in the endowment of Cooper Medical College with one third of her entire estate, for the founding of the Levi Cooper Lane Library of Medicine and Surgery.

Well done noble woman; thy work lives, fitly entwined with the great deeds accomplished by thy love and loving husband.

May we, and those who come after us in maintaining the perpetuity and influence of this Institution be ever inspired with such laudable and self-sacrificing devotion to the love of truth and the advancement of knowledge for humanity's sake as was manifested in the life of Pauline C. Lane.


Purchase of Lots for Lane Medical Library

Anticipating the later availability of funds from the Will of Mrs. Lane, the Directors of Cooper Medical College on 18 September 1902 authorized President Ellinwood to purchase two lots with funds borrowed from the College as a future site for Lane Medical Library. The lots were ideally situated across from the College Building on the southeast corner of Sacramento and Webster streets. The asking price for the lots was $ 16,000. At the Director's meeting on 21 November 1902, President Ellinwood was pleased to report that he had purchased the two lots for $ 15,812. [22] [23]

A year later, after establishment of the Lane Medical Library Fund, the money borrowed from the College to buy the lots was repaid to the College by the Library Fund.


Interment of the Ashes of Dr. and Mrs. Lane in Lane Hall

A meeting of the Directors of Cooper Medical College was convened in Lane Hall of the College Building on Saturday 17 January 1903 for the purpose of witnessing the interment of the ashes of Dr. and Mrs. Lane. Those present were President Ellinwood, and Drs. Taylor, Gibbons, Rixford and Stillman. The minutes of this meeting read as follows: [24]

At noon on 17 January 1903, President Ellinwood caused the ashes of Dr. L. C. Lane and Mrs. Pauline Lane to be interred in the central niche in Lane Hall, beneath the bust of Dr. L. C. Lane.

The ashes of Dr. Lane and of Mrs. Lane are in separate copper urns with the coffin plates of each officially sealed by the Odd Fellow Cemetery Association;

The case or casket in which the urns are contained also includes a copy of the record of the Exercises held in memory of Dr. L. C. Lane on 9 March 1902; and a copy of the resolutions passed on 17 November 1902 by the Faculty of the College on the death of Pauline C. Lane.

The casket was placed in the north brick wall beneath the marble slab on which the pedestal of the bust of Dr. L. C. Lane rests and was sealed therein in the presence of Drs. Ellinwood, Taylor, Gibbons, Rixford and Stillman, Members of Cooper Medical College.

The marble slab which covers the remains and supports the pedestal bearing the bust of Dr. Lane is inscribed with this record: "Here rest the remains of Dr. Levi Cooper Lane and his wife Pauline C. Lane, incinerated by their request, 1902." [25]

In 1959, Stanford Medical School, formerly Cooper Medical College, moved from San Francisco to the Stanford campus and the Cooper College buildings and Lane Hospital in San Francisco were incorporated into the Presbyterian Hospital and Medical Center. By 1974, both the Cooper College buildings and the Lane Hospital were hopelessly outmoded and unable to meet San Francisco earthquake standards. For that reason they were completely demolished in 1973 and '74 to make way for construction of the Pacific Medical Center.

Since the demolition of the Cooper College buildings which included Lane Hall, no trace has been found of the burial urns and casket containing the ashes of Dr. and Mrs. Lane, or of the marble slab covering them. There is no record of reburial of their remains in any of the many local cemeteries and burial parks that have been contacted. We continue to hope that the interment site of Dr. and Mrs. Lane in the wall of Lane Hall was identified before the demolition, and that their copper burial urns were removed and stored safely elsewhere, to be someday discovered and brought to the attention of the Archivist of Lane Medical Library. [26] [27]


Will of Pauline C. Lane Contested

Messrs. Bergin and Lloyd, Executors of Mrs. Lane's Will, submitted the Will to probate in the Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco on 15 September 1902. Immediately thereafter, as required by law, they published a notice of the probate to creditors and all others claiming to have an interest in the estate.

In the following letter to the Board of Directors of Cooper Medical College and C. N. Ellinwood dated 8 July 1903, the Executors notified them that a claimant had come forward: [28]

We are informed and believe that Mrs. Pauline C. Lane, deceased, left her surviving Mrs. S. F. Yager, a sister, who has a son, J. Frank Yager, and a daughter, Rose N. Yager, all residents of the City and State of New York. Mr. William M. Pierson, of this City, has already entered an appearance on behalf of Mrs. Yager. He has expressed the determination to contest the will of Pauline C. Lane, deceased, upon the grounds following, to wit:

(1) Mental incapacity; (2) That Mrs. Lane did not make a will; (3) That the will she left was made under undue influence; (4) That she made her will within thirty days of the date of her death; (5) That the will she made is in contravention of the provisions of Section 1313 of the Civil Code reading:

"No estate, real or personal, shall be bequeathed for charitable purposes in excess of one third of such estate. . . ."

The position upon this point taken is that in truth Mrs. Lane, in and by her will, devised all her estate to charitable purposes; that the devise to C. N. Ellinwood (of two-thirds of the estate) was a mere cover to evade the provision of the statute, as in reality the devise to Dr. Ellinwood was intended for the uses and benefit of the College.

Mrs. Yager is advanced in years and in destitute circumstances. Her son J. Frank Yager is himself an attorney at law who, we are informed, has not been generous or liberal in his contributions to the support of his mother -- in fact, we learn that he has treated her with rather cold neglect. Her daughter Rose N. Yager is a young woman, destitute of means, but who is endeavoring to prepare herself as a student in Cornell University for the vocation of school teacher. She, we understand, has been attentive and considerate in the care of her aged mother.

Mr. Pierson, attorney for the Yagers, let it be known that his clients would consider an amicable settlement out of court for the sum of $ 125,000. The Executors of the Will advised that a counter offer be made.

President Ellinwood convened a meeting of the Directors of Cooper Medical College on 15 July 1903 to consider the question of making a counter offer. Dr. Gibbons then made the following motion which was adopted: [29]

That whereas there is no truth in any or all of the above mentioned grounds of contest of the Will of Pauline C. Lane, still in order to avoid expensive litigation and long delay in the settlement of the Estate, the Board of Directors of Cooper Medical College authorize the Executors to make a counter proposition looking to an amicable settlement of the claims of Mrs. Yager and her son and daughter, and to submit to this Board for final action a statement of the best terms at which they can arrive with the attorney for the contestants.

"Whereas there is no truth in any or all of the above mentioned grounds of contest of the Will. . ." Although this statement was hypocritical at the time, Ellinwood's later actions made it, instead, prophetic.

At a meeting of the Directors of Cooper Medical College on 22 August 1903, the Executors reported that they were successful in their negotiations with the litigants who agreed to withdraw their contest of the validity of Mrs. Lane's will upon the payment to them of $ 65,000. The Directors paid one third of this amount to the Yagers, Dr. Ellinwood paid the remaining two thirds, and the claim was dropped. [30]

Upon settlement of the claim, the estate of Mrs. Lane was awarded to the designated beneficiaries. At a meeting of the Directors on 25 September 1903 President Ellinwood announced that the Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco had on 16 September 1903 distributed the estate of Mrs. Lane, (total value: $ 500,000) according to the provisions of her will - one third ($166,667) to Cooper Medical College and two thirds ($ 333,333) to C. N. Ellinwood. [31]


The Lane Medical Library Fund

It was now, in September 1903, just over a year and a half since the death of Dr. Lane and a year since the passing of Mrs. Lane, a period during which the Directors of Cooper College were adjusting themselves to the loss of Dr. Lane's leadership, and to the responsibility for managing one third of his estate. They were convinced, a conviction which they assumed was shared by Dr. Ellinwood, that it was Mrs. Lane's expectation in leaving one third of the estate to the College and two thirds to Ellinwood that he would also devote his share of the legacy to the support of Dr. Lane's chosen projects - the Levi Cooper Lane Library of Medicine and Surgery, and the Lane Medical Lectures.

With a view to proceeding with construction of the Lane Medical Library as soon as possible all six Members of the College Corporation met on 29 September 1903 for the sole purpose of amending the Bylaws of the College to create a special fund, the "Lane Medical Library Fund." The terms of the Amendment were as follows: [32]

Into said fund shall be paid all the proceeds arising from the sale of the properties bequeathed to the College by Pauline C. Lane, and all moneys and all the proceeds from the sale of all properties which may be devised, bequeathed or given to this College for said library by any person now or hereafter; together with the rents, issues, interests and profits of all and singular of the aforesaid properties and moneys.

Out of said fund shall be paid all moneys necessary for the purchase of a site for a library building; for the construction of a library building on said site; for the fitting up, furnishing and appointment of said building; and such moneys for the maintenance of said library as the Board of Directors of this College shall deem necessary and all expenses including taxes necessary to be paid in connection with said lot, building and library.

The Members, who also constituted the Board of Directors, voted unanimously to adopt the Amendment. The wording of the Amendment, and the full participation of President Ellinwood in its enactment, clearly implied to the other Members that Ellinwood would contribute to the Lane Medical Library Fund from the assets he received from the Lane estate. In fact Dr. Rixford recalled that Dr. Ellinwood had promised the Board that the two-thirds of the Lane estate in his possession should be available whenever "you gentlemen (meaning the Board of Directors) get ready to build the library building."

Lane Library