Item #530 [Historically Significant Collection of Five Original Autograph Letters Including Four Signed by Stanford University Student Louise Norvell, Including Her Emotional Eye-Witness Account of the Infamous Earthquake on April 18, 1906, Written Just a Few Hours Later; With Four Period Studio Photos, Showing the Destruction in Stanford after the Earthquake, and an Original Autograph Letter Written to Norvell by Her Female Teacher Friend]. NORTH AMERICA - CALIFORNIA - SAN FRANCISCO – 1906 EARTHQUAKE AT STANFORD UNIVERSITY, PILLSBURY PICTURE CO, LOUISE SEVIER NORVELL.
[Historically Significant Collection of Five Original Autograph Letters Including Four Signed by Stanford University Student Louise Norvell, Including Her Emotional Eye-Witness Account of the Infamous Earthquake on April 18, 1906, Written Just a Few Hours Later; With Four Period Studio Photos, Showing the Destruction in Stanford after the Earthquake, and an Original Autograph Letter Written to Norvell by Her Female Teacher Friend].
[Historically Significant Collection of Five Original Autograph Letters Including Four Signed by Stanford University Student Louise Norvell, Including Her Emotional Eye-Witness Account of the Infamous Earthquake on April 18, 1906, Written Just a Few Hours Later; With Four Period Studio Photos, Showing the Destruction in Stanford after the Earthquake, and an Original Autograph Letter Written to Norvell by Her Female Teacher Friend].
[Historically Significant Collection of Five Original Autograph Letters Including Four Signed by Stanford University Student Louise Norvell, Including Her Emotional Eye-Witness Account of the Infamous Earthquake on April 18, 1906, Written Just a Few Hours Later; With Four Period Studio Photos, Showing the Destruction in Stanford after the Earthquake, and an Original Autograph Letter Written to Norvell by Her Female Teacher Friend].
[Historically Significant Collection of Five Original Autograph Letters Including Four Signed by Stanford University Student Louise Norvell, Including Her Emotional Eye-Witness Account of the Infamous Earthquake on April 18, 1906, Written Just a Few Hours Later; With Four Period Studio Photos, Showing the Destruction in Stanford after the Earthquake, and an Original Autograph Letter Written to Norvell by Her Female Teacher Friend].
[Historically Significant Collection of Five Original Autograph Letters Including Four Signed by Stanford University Student Louise Norvell, Including Her Emotional Eye-Witness Account of the Infamous Earthquake on April 18, 1906, Written Just a Few Hours Later; With Four Period Studio Photos, Showing the Destruction in Stanford after the Earthquake, and an Original Autograph Letter Written to Norvell by Her Female Teacher Friend].
[Historically Significant Collection of Five Original Autograph Letters Including Four Signed by Stanford University Student Louise Norvell, Including Her Emotional Eye-Witness Account of the Infamous Earthquake on April 18, 1906, Written Just a Few Hours Later; With Four Period Studio Photos, Showing the Destruction in Stanford after the Earthquake, and an Original Autograph Letter Written to Norvell by Her Female Teacher Friend].
[Historically Significant Collection of Five Original Autograph Letters Including Four Signed by Stanford University Student Louise Norvell, Including Her Emotional Eye-Witness Account of the Infamous Earthquake on April 18, 1906, Written Just a Few Hours Later; With Four Period Studio Photos, Showing the Destruction in Stanford after the Earthquake, and an Original Autograph Letter Written to Norvell by Her Female Teacher Friend].
[Historically Significant Collection of Five Original Autograph Letters Including Four Signed by Stanford University Student Louise Norvell, Including Her Emotional Eye-Witness Account of the Infamous Earthquake on April 18, 1906, Written Just a Few Hours Later; With Four Period Studio Photos, Showing the Destruction in Stanford after the Earthquake, and an Original Autograph Letter Written to Norvell by Her Female Teacher Friend].
[Historically Significant Collection of Five Original Autograph Letters Including Four Signed by Stanford University Student Louise Norvell, Including Her Emotional Eye-Witness Account of the Infamous Earthquake on April 18, 1906, Written Just a Few Hours Later; With Four Period Studio Photos, Showing the Destruction in Stanford after the Earthquake, and an Original Autograph Letter Written to Norvell by Her Female Teacher Friend].
[Historically Significant Collection of Five Original Autograph Letters Including Four Signed by Stanford University Student Louise Norvell, Including Her Emotional Eye-Witness Account of the Infamous Earthquake on April 18, 1906, Written Just a Few Hours Later; With Four Period Studio Photos, Showing the Destruction in Stanford after the Earthquake, and an Original Autograph Letter Written to Norvell by Her Female Teacher Friend].
[Historically Significant Collection of Five Original Autograph Letters Including Four Signed by Stanford University Student Louise Norvell, Including Her Emotional Eye-Witness Account of the Infamous Earthquake on April 18, 1906, Written Just a Few Hours Later; With Four Period Studio Photos, Showing the Destruction in Stanford after the Earthquake, and an Original Autograph Letter Written to Norvell by Her Female Teacher Friend].
[Historically Significant Collection of Five Original Autograph Letters Including Four Signed by Stanford University Student Louise Norvell, Including Her Emotional Eye-Witness Account of the Infamous Earthquake on April 18, 1906, Written Just a Few Hours Later; With Four Period Studio Photos, Showing the Destruction in Stanford after the Earthquake, and an Original Autograph Letter Written to Norvell by Her Female Teacher Friend].
Historically Important Archive Documenting the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake by Female Stanford Student

[Historically Significant Collection of Five Original Autograph Letters Including Four Signed by Stanford University Student Louise Norvell, Including Her Emotional Eye-Witness Account of the Infamous Earthquake on April 18, 1906, Written Just a Few Hours Later; With Four Period Studio Photos, Showing the Destruction in Stanford after the Earthquake, and an Original Autograph Letter Written to Norvell by Her Female Teacher Friend].

Five autograph letters signed: Stanford University & “Home,” [1903, 1905, 1906 & 1909]. Eighteen leaves of various size from ca. 25,5x19,5 cm (10 x 7 ¾ in) to ca. 21x13 cm (8 ¼ x 5 ¼ in). In all ca. 35 pp. of text. Blue and brown ink on wove paper. Seven leaves (or two letters, including the account of the 1906 earthquake) with printed letterheads of “Stanford University, California” on the top margins. Four letters with original envelopes addressed to “Mrs. J.A. Norvell, Merced, Cal.” and “Miss Nita Norvell, Merced, California;” all envelopes with postage stamps and ink postal stamps. Fold marks, envelopes with several tears on extremities, the leaves of Norvell’s friend’s letter slightly trimmed on the top margins, but overall a very good collection. With: four loose original gelatin silver photos ca. 20x25 cm (8x10 in); all photos are signed by the studio and captioned in negative. A couple of the photos very mildly faded; minor creases, but overall very good strong photos.

Historically significant collection of original autograph letters, written by a female Stanford University student to her family in the early 1900s. The author, Louise Norvell, was the daughter of Joseph A. Norvell (ca. 1846-1909), a California resident since 1860s. She worked as a school principal and superintendent in Tulare County and later became the editor and owner of the “Merced Express.” Louise Norvell studied at Stanford in ca. 1903-1906; in the “Stanford Quad” yearbook for 1907 she was mentioned as an associate editor. For 46 years (1910-1956), Louise Norvell worked in the Merced Union High School, at first as a teacher and later as a vice-principal and dean of girls. She was a member of the American Association of University Women and the Merced Women’s Club (Rites Set for Merced Educator// Merced Sun-Star. Merced, Ca., 21 May 1973, p. 16).
The letters, addressed to Ms. Norvell’s mother Mary Slinkard (1858-1943) and younger sister Nita Norvell (1898-1962), give a vivid illustration of the private life of a young Stanford female student, talking about her going dancing and horse riding, watching a football game, looking after a sick friend, discussing young men, family members, &c. Among others, the letter dated “9:30 Wednesday morning” and supplemented with an envelope stamped “Stanford University, Apr. 18, 1906” remarkably stands out. It is an emotional eye-witness account of the San Francisco earthquake, which happened at about 5 am on the same day. Despite the author’s obvious shock, the account is very accurate and mentions both victims of the earthquake (staff member Otto Gerdes, killed by a falling smokestack, and sophomore Junius Hanna, who died in Encina Hall). She also describes which Stanford buildings were damaged, how she managed to escape from her dormitory and notes that the university President David Starr Jordan (1851-1931) had breakfast with the students that morning. Overall the letter is a valuable eye-witness account of the 1906 earthquake. Four large period studio photos with the scenes of destruction in Stanford provide a visual supplement to the letter. The collection also contains a letter addressed to Ms. Norvell from her fellow female teacher (apparently, from California), with interesting notes on her work and personal life.
A list of photos: Fallen Arches, Stanford, No. 88; Memorial Church, Stanford, No. 93; Interior, Memorial Chapel, No. 94; Library Building, Stanford, No. 98.
Excerpts from the letters:
Louise Norvell’s letters, all signed “Dot”:
1) A letter to “Dear Old Nit.” “Sunday Evening,” [November 23, 1903]. Two bifoliums ca. 21x13 cm (8 ¼ x 5 ¼ in) with 5 pp. of text. Brown ink on blueish wove paper. With the original envelope stamped “Stanford University, Nov. 23, 1903” and “Merced, Nov. 24, 1903.”
“Your pretty little picture came all right and Snittie was much “edified.” Snittie thinks it’s just the prettiest most graceful little picture she ever saw and all the girls think Nit is just lovely. <…> when you and Mama come down you can play with the little girl. She went to the football game all dressed in red and wore a little roofers hat. That reminds me of an Englishman over at the game. He didn’t seem to understand it at all and turning to his friend he said “I heard a good deal of rooters. What are they?” <…>”

2) A letter to “Dear Mama.” “Saturday A.M.,” [February 11, 1905]. Three single leaves ca. 25,5x19,5 cm (10 x 7 ¾ in) with 5 pp. of text. Black ink on watermarked wove paper. Printed letterheads of “Stanford University, California” on the top margin of each leaf. With the original envelope stamped “Pale Alto, Feb. 11, 1905” and “Merced, Feb. 12, 1905.”
“Dear Mama, Your letter enclosing $30 has just arrived. I fear in case a little more is not forth coming, I’d have to come home and join you in destroying our villainous old shack <…> I haven’t seen Fred Mugler for a long time. Don’t know who I’m to dance with or anything but think I’ll have a good time. <…> Mab hired a horse and run about last Tuesday afternoon and we went riding. The day was a dream and how we did swell around. Went down to the Bay - to Priests’ College where John McGarr holds forth – to Menlo and Fair Oaks. Didn’t know where half the time but just followed the horse. Saw lots of beautiful places and Ma there are more pretty modern houses in Paly, and they are cheap too - $2000 for instance. Why can’t we have one? Not in Paly, in Merced. <…> I have a game lag. Have in some way sprained the cord at the back of my foot and am on the limp…”

3) A letter to “Dear Mut.” “9:30 Wednesday morning.” [April 18, 1906]. Four single leaves ca. 25,5x19,5 cm (10 x 7 ¾ in) with 4 pp. of text. Blue and brown ink on watermarked wove paper. Printed letterheads of “Stanford University, California” on the top margin of each leaf. With the original envelope stamped “Stanford University, Apr. 18, 1906” and “Merced, Apr. 20, 1906.”
“Dear Mut, old Death shook his finger hard at me this morning and then passed on. It came at 5:30. I was awakened by a terrible shaking and crashing. The building was wrenching terribly. You see we were on the 3rd floor and the shock was awful. The 4th floor cracked in, [Maude?] and I screamed at each other and just waited every second for the 4th floor to crash in on us. It came through right next door, knocked the floor through and carried [Ruth?] Blodgett clear through to the 1st floor. It was the toughest minute in my life. Oh Mut you can’t imagine how terrible we all rushed out in our bath robes and there was the Quad in ruins. The Great Arch, the Chem. Building, Museum and Lib., the Quad itself all torn to pieces. The Engineer at the power house was killed by its chimney falling on him, and Great Magnificent Encina just telescoped, one floor falling into another and under it all over little waiter Hanna lied. He was the last to be rescued and was alive when they finally got him, but his neck was broken and he died immediately afterward. It was a mighty sad breakfast served at Roble. Dr. Jordan ate with us and talked to us. He said work would begin Friday, but some of the Profs. say he’s “cracy” [sic!], that it’s impossible. It’s an awful calamity Mut. The wardrobe near my bed fell, but fell from me, instead of over me. I’ve thought of you and troubled about you in that newly plastered home and wondered if Pa can be in burning San Francisco. We are entirely cut off from communication with the outside world. It’s an awful feeling. I sent you a telegram this a.m. but the Lord knows when it will get out. We are not allowed in Roble, are going to sleep in the Gym. I shan’t rest easy until I hear from you and Oh! I hope Pa didn’t get off to the City. Your rambling Old Dot.”

4) A letter to “Dear Mother.” [October 26, 1909]. Three bifoliums ca. 21x13,5 cm (8 ¼ x 5 ¼ in) with 9 pp. of text. With a leaf with printed letterhead of “Merced Express, J.A. Norvell, Editor and Proprietor” (her comments on Renaissance paintings). Brown ink on creamy wove paper. With the original envelope stamped “Oct. 26, 1909” and “Merced, Oct. 27, 1909.”
“<…> This house is under a terrible tension. We have held our breath for two days while Maude Turner’s life has hang in the balance. She is in the hospital with pneumonia, just went down Monday morning with an attack of Grippe. She went to a dance Friday night and then to ride next day and Sunday she took sick with this terrible cold. <…> Friday night she took a turn for the worse and Saturday a.m. the nurse phoned that we had better write to her people – an hour later the nurse called up and paid for us to phone for her people. <…> They are keeping her on stimulants <…> and we are so afraid if it hangs of much longer, she will be too weak to stand it. <…> The whole campus is waiting with us. Everybody is so interested.”

5) A letter from “Laura” to “Dot.” 20 October 1903. Six single leaves ca. 25x20 cm (9 ¾ x 7 ¾ in) with 12 pp. of text. Brown ink on watermarked wove paper.
“<…> The Chinese Sunday school has broken up so I’m teaching out at the Adam’s Mission now. Have taken on trial a class of […?] girls about fourteen years old. Find them not near as bad as I thought they would be from the reports I had of every teacher having to give it up. However I had to make two of them the offer to leave the Sunday school last Sunday and will offer it again if they give me the slightest trouble. The other three girls have come completely over to my side and I anticipate no worry from them at all. Of the other two remain they will stay only on condition that they expect the working and I hope after a while they two will be my good friends. Bless the children! Poor little things, only one or two of them have mothers and those mothers worse than none at all. I cannot afford to be angry with them. <…> I have ten pupils in Elocution with the promise of more. This keeps me busy four afternoons in the week, so I only have Wed. and Sat. clear…”.

Item #530

Price: $3,500.00 USD

Status: On Hold