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Publisher's Summary

In 1885, Jane and Leland Stanford cofounded a university to honor their recently deceased young son. After her husband's 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 coroner's jury, of strychnine poisoning. With her vast fortune the university's 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 Stanford's murder and its cover-up. Against a backdrop of the city's machine politics, rogue policing, tong wars, and heated newspaper rivalries, White's search for the murderer draws us into Jane Stanford's 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.

©2022 Richard White (P)2022 Tantor

What listeners say about Who Killed Jane Stanford?

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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A Bay Area Story

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, this is an excellent historical snapshot. I really enjoyed it.

1 person found this helpful

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? Demise of Stanford founder

Story was a bit tedious to listen to because so many details were introduced. But, nevertheless, a slice of history that many people have not heard. I recommend it to anyone who attended Stanford the founding of this institution is far more complicated and worth historical note.

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It’s okay

Perhaps if the narrator had not been so robotic it might have been a smoother listen. The story is some what interesting but poorly wrapped up.

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Wonderfully crafted historical mystery

Anyone who enjoys history as well as mystery
This early look into Stanford university and
The gilded age intriguing

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Fascinating historical detective work

Fascinating Gilded Age San Francisco detective work. It was amazing how corrupt the city was at the start of the 20th Century. As a Stanford graduate, the early history of the university was not at all what I was led to believe. Nor were Leland and Jane Stanford. A must read for history buffs and Stanford grads.