The 1895 women seem to enjoy a placid promenade, but the university was enduring stormy days. Sen. Leland Stanford’s death two years earlier and legal claims on his estate made keeping the university open a monumental achievement for his widow, co-founder Jane Lathrop Stanford. Still, women like those strolling here enjoyed freedoms and opportunities denied them at many other colleges. At the turn of the 20th century, nearly a quarter majored in what are today called STEM fields. They rowed on Lagunita, helped launch women’s intercollegiate basketball and, like today’s students, found bicycles indispensable in navigating the campus.
Credit: Stanford University Archives/John Holleman