Thomas Welton Stanford

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Thomas Welton Stanford
Thomas Welton Stanford.png
Died28 August 1918(1918-08-28) (aged 85–86)
Melbourne, Australia
Known forbusinessperson; spiritualist; philanthropist

Thomas Welton Stanford (1832–1918), also known as Welton Stanford, was an American-born Australian businessman, spiritualist and philanthropist, most notably toward Stanford University, which was founded by his older brother Leland Stanford. Although living most of his adult life in Australia, he kept his American citizenship and served intermittently as honorary American vice consul-general in Melbourne.

Stanford University Private research university in Stanford, California

Leland Stanford Junior University is a private research university in Stanford, California. Stanford is known for its academic strength, wealth, selectivity, proximity to Silicon Valley, and ranking as one of the world's top universities.

Leland Stanford American politician and railroad tycoon

Amasa Leland Stanford was an American tycoon, industrialist, politician, and the founder of Stanford University. Migrating to California from New York at the time of the Gold Rush, he became a successful merchant and wholesaler, and continued to build his business empire. He spent one two-year term as Governor of California after his election in 1861, and later eight years as a United States Senator. As president of Central Pacific Railroad, beginning in 1861, and later Southern Pacific, he had tremendous power in the region and a lasting impact on California. He is widely considered a robber baron.

Melbourne City in Victoria, Australia

Melbourne is the capital and most populous city of the Australian state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Its name refers to an urban agglomeration of 2,080 km2 (800 sq mi), comprising a metropolitan area with 31 municipalities, and is also the common name for its city centre. The city occupies much of the coastline of Port Phillip bay and spreads into the hinterlands towards the Dandenong and Macedon ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley. It has a population of 5 million, and its inhabitants are referred to as "Melburnians".



Thomas Welton Stanford was born in 1832 in Albany, New York, the youngest of six sons of Josiah Stanford, a public works contractor, and his wife Elizabeth, née Phillips. He was educated at Troy Conference Academy in Vermont. In 1852, he left for California, attracted by the California Gold Rush as were all of his brothers. They ran a store in the gold fields for a few years; [1] by 1858 the brothers were running the largest oil company in the West. [2] In December 1859, Thomas and his brother DeWitt Stanford moved to Melbourne. [2]

Albany, New York Capital of New York

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The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) was a gold rush that began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The news of gold brought approximately 300,000 people to California from the rest of the United States and abroad. The sudden influx of gold into the money supply reinvigorated the American economy, and the sudden population increase allowed California to go rapidly to statehood, in the Compromise of 1850. The Gold Rush had severe effects on Native Californians and resulted in a precipitous native population decline from disease, genocide and starvation. By the time it ended, California had gone from a thinly populated ex-Mexican territory, to having one of its first two U.S. Senators, John C. Frémont, selected to be the first presidential nominee for the new Republican Party, in 1856.

In Australia, he became a distributor for Singer sewing machines and rang up record sales, using innovative sales techniques such as time payment. By the time Singer stopped using independent distributors in the 1880s, Stanford was a wealthy man. He became increasingly reclusive after DeWitt's death and developed a strong interest in spiritualism. He founded the Victorian Association of Progressive Spiritualists, together with W. H. Terry and J. B. Motherwell, and sponsored many séances, becoming known as the "father of spiritualism in Australia". [2]

Singer Corporation American manufacturer of sewing machines

Singer Corporation is an American manufacturer of domestic sewing machines, first established as I. M. Singer & Co. in 1851 by Isaac Merritt Singer with New York lawyer Edward Clark. Best known for its sewing machines, it was renamed Singer Manufacturing Company in 1865, then The Singer Company in 1963. It is based in La Vergne, Tennessee, near Nashville. Its first large factory for mass production was built in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1863.

He served on the board of trustees of Stanford University, which had been founded in 1891 as a memorial to Leland and Jane Stanford's only son Leland Stanford Jr., almost from its inception until his death. He was also a generous and frequent benefactor to the university. When he received a legacy from his brother Leland's will, he donated half of it ($300,000) to Stanford. [3] He donated his books on Australia and his art collection to the university, and underwrote the construction of a library to house them. The Thomas Welton Stanford Library, built in 1900, was the university's main library until the completion of a new main library (now the Green Library) in 1919. [4] His art collection formed the nucleus of the university's art department, and his contributions built the Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery on the campus, which was completed in 1917 [5] and is still the art department's main gallery. [6] The first Director of the Gallery was Pedro Joseph de Lemos, the former head of the San Francisco Art Institute, who staged during his tenure from 1917 to 1945 a near continuous series of exhibitions focused on important contemporary artists as well as crafts. [7] Many of T. W. Stanford's donations to the university were earmarked for "psychical research", resulting in the publication of a 640-page volume called Experiments in Psychical Research at Leland Stanford Junior University, published in 1917. [8] At the insistence of university lawyers, his later donations were earmarked for "psychical research and related phenomena", which was interpreted to mean the entire psychology department; for several years his grants supplied almost the entire budget for the department. [8]

Jane Stanford philanthropist, first lady of California, Co-founder of Stanford University

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Pedro Joseph de Lemos American designer, painter, printmaker, architect

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He died 28 August 1918, at his home in East Melbourne, and left the bulk of his estate to Stanford University. His papers are housed in the university archives. [1]

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  1. 1 2 "Series 12 Thomas Welton Stanford [1832–1918] Papers". Online Archives of California. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 Potts, E. Daniel. Stanford, Thomas Welton (1832–1918). Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
  3. "Memorial Resolution: Thomas Welton Stanford, 1832–1918" (PDF). Board of Trustees. Stanford University. Retrieved 25 August 2012.[ permanent dead link ]
  4. Stanford University (1919). New Building of the Stanford University Library and a History of the Library 1891–1919. Stanford University.
  5. "1917: Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery is compleated". Xtimeline. Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
  6. "Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery". Department of Art and Art History. Stanford University. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
  7. Edwards, Robert W. (2015). Pedro de Lemos, Lasting Impressions: Works on Paper. Worcester, Mass.: Davis Publications Inc. pp. 18–36, 44–48. ISBN   9781615284054.
  8. 1 2 "History of the Department of Psychology". Stanford University. Retrieved 25 August 2012.

Further reading