Century at Stanford

Courtesy Stanford University Archives

100 YEARS AGO (1907)

Sophomores won the freshman-sophomore clash—a struggle to see which class could capture and tie up the greatest number of its opponents. After a 30-minute melee in a field near Encina Hall, all but one freshman had been tied.

75 YEARS AGO (1932)

The Board of Athletic Control sold its 300 sheep to Theodore Hoover, dean of engineering (and the brother of U.S. President Herbert Hoover, Class of 1895), and shifted to lawn tractors to clip athletic fields. Billy McClintock, a Scot who had herded the University’s sheep for 30 years, was too ill to continue. Hoover moved the sheep to his ranch at Pescadero.

50 YEARS AGO (1957)

At the Hoover Institution, wire and lead seals were broken on 17 wooden boxes containing the Paris embassy office files of the Russian czar’s imperial secret police. Basil Maklakoff, last pre-Communist ambassador to France, supposedly had destroyed the records but instead hid them until 1926. He arranged for them to be sent to the Hoover War Library to be opened after his death. The records provided a treasure trove of information on the years leading up to the overthrow of the Romanovs in 1917.

George Forsythe joined the mathematics department as the first faculty member specializing in computing. Four years later, he formed the computer science division in the department. In 1965, it was spun off as a separate department, one of the first in the nation.

25 YEARS AGO (1982)

Big Game ended with The Play. Inspired by graduating quarterback John Elway, ’83, the Cardinal had gained the lead on a last-minute drive. With four seconds remaining, Stanford “squibbed” the kickoff. Recovering the ball, Cal tossed five laterals and sprinted into the end zone, bowling over members of the Stanford Band, who had prematurely spilled onto the field as the clock ran out. Officials declared Cal the winner, 25-20, but the outcome remains controversial to this day, with Stanfordites claiming that one Bear’s knee was down before he tossed the ball.


KAREN BARTHOLOMEW, ’71, writes this column on behalf of the Stanford Historical Society.