Who Killed Jane Stanford?: A Gilded Age Tale of Murder, Deceit, Spirits and the Birth of a University

Who Killed Jane Stanford?: A Gilded Age Tale of Murder, Deceit, Spirits and the Birth of a University by Richard White 1324004339 9781324004332
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In 1885 Jane and Leland Stanford cofounded a university to honor their recently deceased young son. After her husbands death in 1893, Jane Stanford, a devoted spiritualist who expected the university to inculcate her values, steered Stanford into eccentricity and public controversy for more than a decade. In 1905 she was murdered in Hawaii, a victim, according to the Honolulu coroners jury, of strychnine poisoning. With her vast fortune the universitys lifeline, the Stanford president and his allies quickly sought to foreclose challenges to her bequests by constructing a story of death by natural causes. The cover-up gained traction in the murky labyrinths of power, wealth, and corruption of Gilded Age San Francisco. The murderer walked.

Deftly sifting the scattered evidence and conflicting stories of suspects and witnesses, Richard White gives us the first full account of Jane Stanfords murder and its cover-up. Against a backdrop of the citys machine politics, rogue policing, tong wars, and heated newspaper rivalries, Whites search for the murderer draws us into Jane Stanfords imperious household and the academic enmities of the university. Although Stanford officials claimed that no one could have wanted to murder Jane, we meet several people who had the motives and the opportunity to do so. One of these, we discover, also had the means.

Author: Richard White

Language: English

Binding: Hardcover

Pages: 384

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Publication Date: 2022-05-17


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