Charles Gardner Lathrop

For many years business manager and treasurer of the Leland Stanford, Jr. University, the late Charles Gardner Lathrop was a brother of the late Mrs. Leland Stanford, being her junior by twenty-one years and the youngest of a family of seven children, a son of Dyer Jane Ann Lathrop.  He was born at Albany, N.Y., May 11, 1849, and educated in the public schools of Albany, and at an age of fourteen years, went to work in the Union Bank of that city.  In 1877 at an age of twenty-eight, he came to California.  At first he engaged in the brokerage business at San Francisco, then spent some time in the service of the passenger department of the Southern Pacific, after which he joined his older brother, Ariel Lathrop, in the management of Governor Stanford’s business affairs.  Together they opened up the first set of books that the Governor had ever kept, and when Stanford University was founded, the scope of their activity was enlarged so as to include the affairs of the University.

In 1892 Ariel Lathrup returned to the east and Charles assumed full control of the duties which the two brothers had previously exercised.  After Governor Stanford’s death, in June, 1893, Mrs. Stanford retained him in the same position, appointing him a member of the board of trustees, and in 1892 making him treasurer and business manager of the University.  In 1899 Mrs. Stanford in an address to the board of trustees insured his retention in this responsible position by directing that upon her death “ my brother, Charles G. Lathrop, shall become and remain treasurer and business manager of the board of trustees,… and I wish him to have the same powers and duties that he now has.”

In 1912 Mr. Lathrop felt that the state of his health required him to be relieved from a portion of his responsibilities, and therefore formally tendered his resignation as business manager, but the board persuaded him to continue in the office.  On January 20, 1914, he once more tendered his resignation and urged its acceptance, saying: “During all these years I have tried to serve the interests of the University faithfully and to discharge the duties of the position to the best of my ability.  For the last two years, however, I have felt that I have not been in a condition physically to give the work the attention it requires, and I therefore desire to be relieved of the duties which I have been discharging in my capacity as business manager for the board of trustees.  My withdrawal of this office will be a relief to me, and I am sure, would serve the interests of all concerned.”  On this occasion the Board accepted his resignation as business manager with expression of regret, continuing him, however, as treasurer.

The University lost a most conscientious and faithful servant in Charles G. Lathrop.  Loyalty to his sister and to her wishes for the University was the guiding principle of his life.  Any proposal which ran counter to his conception of her desires met his inflexible opposition, and he worked with unwearying zeal for what he believed would be her plans for Stanford.  His own particular province was the business and financial management of the University; but he manifested keen interest in other departments of its activities, and lent them support.  For years he maintained a fund in the library for the purchase of books relating to California, particularly its early history, and he was one of the chief contributors to the medical department library.  The undergraduates in him had a friend ever ready to help finance trips for their athletic teams, while he liberally offered trophies to stimulate competition in sports.  He was one of the earliest members of Stanford Union.

Mr. Lathrop’s first marriage took place at Albany, N.Y., in 1870, and united him with Libbie Griswold of that city, by whom he had two children: Leland Stanford Lathrop, has one child, Leland Stanford Lathrop, Jr, and resides at Belvidere, Cal.;  Jennie Lathrop, who is now Mrs. Watson, and resides in Los Angeles and has two children, Helen and Robert.  Mrs. Lathrop died on July 3, 1885, and on January 19, 1893, at San Francisco, Cal., he was married to Miss Annie Mary Schlageter, a daughter of Hermann and Barbara Ulrich Schlageter , a native of Mariposa, Cal., while her parents were both born at Buehl-Baden, in Germany, and were married at Louisville, Ky.  They moved thence to San Francisco, Cal., in the late fifties.  The father was a mechanic in earlier life, but later became a hotel proprietor in Mariposa County.  Mr. And Mrs. Schlageter had nine children, Mrs. Lathrop being the eighth.  The youngest of the family is Dr. H.J. Schlageter of San Francisco, well known physician and surgeon, now resigned from the army.  Of Spanish-American and World War fame he received the rank of lieutenant-colonel [My note, not capitalized] in France and had charge of U. S. Base Hospital No. 85.

Mr. And Mrs. Charles G. Lathrop together selected the site of their beautiful home at Alta Vista and together planned and built the palatial residence where Mrs. Lathrop still lives.  It is beautifully located, overlooking the University quadrangle and the campus, as well as San Francisco Bay.  Here Mr. Lathrop enjoyed an ideal family life with his wife and child, a daughter Hermina, now the wife of Major Robert Du Rant Harden of Letterman General Hospital, Presidio, San Francisco, which has been the place of their domicile ever since the Major’s return form France.  They have two children, Jane Ann and Barbara.  Major Harden held the rank of lieutenant-colonel [My note, not capitalized] in the U.S. Medical Corps in the late war and was in command of U.S. Base Hospital No. 87, at Toul, France.

Funeral services for Mr. Lathrop were held in Memorial Church, Wednesday morning, May 27, 1914, Chaplin Gardner officiating.  In religion he was a Protestant, but Mrs. Lathrop adheres to the Catholic faith in which she was reared.  She carefully keeps up the traditional hospitality of the Lathrop home and takes a live interest in the great institution that her husband served so well.  A loving mother, a kind friend and neighbor, she and the Lathrop name continue to be most highly respected.

Transcribed  by Susan Schooler from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922.
pages 1021-1022