Stanford Historical Society
Ninth House & Garden Tour

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Sunday, May 4, 2014 from 1 - 4 pm

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Sandstone & Tile, Fall 2013
Volume 37, Number 3

Victor Arnautoff: Art and Academic Freedom at Stanford

By  Robert W. Cherny, Professor Emeritus of History, San Francisco State University

Victor Mikhail Arnautoff, an art professor at Stanford for almost 24 years, was probably the most prolific muralist in San Francisco in the 1930s. He created the City Life mural in Coit Tower, a large mural at the Presidio’s Protestant chapel, and a series of murals on the life of George Washington at the city’s George Washington High School. He was on Stanford’s art faculty from 1938 until his retirement in 1962. In 1955 and 1957, he presented a challenge to the commitment of the university’s president, Wallace Sterling, that “no proven Communist should hold a position at Stanford.” The outcome of that dispute signaled an extension of academic freedom at Stanford. (read more)

Victor Mikhail Arnautoff

Arnautoff, shown here in 1929, was a lieutenant in the White Siberian Army before he left Russia in 1920. He then lived in Harbin and Mukden, China, until 1925, when he moved to San Francisco and enrolled in the city’s California School of Fine Arts.

Image courtesy of San Francisco History Center,
San Francisco Public Library

Literary Legacy: Ivy Low Litvinov and D. H. Lawrence

Manuscript librarians collect papers in anticipation of future research, but they can never really predict who will use the archives or why. Of all the scholars who have visited the manuscript collections in the Stanford libraries over the years, one of the more vivid figures was Ivy Low Litvinov (1889–1977). A British novelist, she was married to Soviet statesman Maxim Litvinov (1876–1951), Stalin’s foreign minister and later his ambassador to Washington. Ivy had published her first novel in 1913, when she was 24. Three years later, she married Maxim, when he was a down-and-out revolutionary exile in London. In 1919, after the Russian Revolution, she and their two children joined Maxim in Moscow, where she lived as wife and then widow of a major diplomat for most of 54 years, until 1972. (read more)

In 1943, en route to the Soviet Union, she stopped at Stanford University to read an archival collection of Lawrence’s correspondence.

Photo by Arni/Joseph Freeman Papers, Hoover Institution Archives

Ivy Low Litvinov adn D.H. Lawrence

Also In This Issue:

  • Stanford through the Century
  • SHS Membership Roster
  • SHS 2012-2013 Financial Summary
  • Upcoming Society Activities
  • Read More...

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