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January 13, 2009

Dogs, cats and mountain photography featured in library exhibitions

Dogs, cats and mountain photography are spotlighted in two very different exhibitions opening this month in Stanford's Green Library.

The life and art of the late mountain photographer Leigh Ortenburger is highlighted in "All of This I Have Seen": Leigh Ortenburger, Mountaineer and Photographer, which opened Monday and continues through March 29 in the Peterson Gallery. In conjunction with the exhibition, Stanford University Libraries has published a companion book of photographs and tributes, Leigh Ortenburger in the Thin, Cold Air.

Ortenburger (1929-1991), who earned a master's degree in statistics at Stanford in 1963, climbed and photographed for more than 40 years in the world's greatest mountain ranges. His classic guidebook, A Climber's Guide to the Teton Range, is now in its third edition. He died Oct. 20, 1991, in the firestorm that swept the Oakland, Calif., hills. His daughters, Carolyn and Teresa Ortenburger, donated his papers to Stanford in 2005.

The exhibition focuses on Ortenburger's black-and-white photographs of the Cordillera Blanca range in Peru, including a 20-foot-wide panoramic view of the upper Quebrada Alpamayo assembled from eight 4-by-5-inch negatives in the collection, now housed in the Department of Special Collections and University Archives. Also on display are manuscripts, correspondence and memorabilia related to Ortenburger's mountaineering career.

Loyal to Stanford

Opening Jan. 19 in the library's Munger Rotunda, Notable Campus Canines (With a Nod to Cats): Stories from the Stanford University Archives explores Stanford pets through stories of notable dogs—and some of their notable masters—told with accompanying photographs, correspondence and printed sources from the Stanford University Archives. The exhibit continues through March 29.

Notable dogs in Stanford's history include Kaiser, a Great Dane of Viennese lineage who belonged to the Stanford family; Jock, an Old English Sheepdog whose intelligence and devotion is the subject of letters and photographs in the papers of the university's first president, David Starr Jordan; Trooper, a German Shepherd who underwent successful heart surgery at Stanford Medical Center in 1966; and Alice, a Border Collie who has held an honorary position as "lead dog" of the team at the libraries' HighWire Press since the mid-1990s.

Large-format photographs of dogs in familiar campus settings from the portfolio of San Francisco photographer Leo Holub, a senior lecturer in photography, emeritus, and founder of the photography program in the Department of Art and Art History, provide glimpses of a dog's life at Stanford in the late 1960s, a period during which the leash law was largely ignored.

The problem of stray dogs running loose, to the detriment of public safety, is highlighted through news clippings, administrative memos, complaint records and photographs from the early 1970s, when a black-and-white shorthair named Oscar became a poster dog representing the dubious right of his species to roam free.

The proliferation of non-neutered abandoned cats on campus led to the founding of the Stanford Cat Network, which became a nationwide model for humane control of feral cat populations. It celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. In a nod to cats, a section of the exhibit tells the story of how the Stanford Cat Network came about.

Both exhibits are free and open to the public. Exhibit cases are illuminated Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. The Peterson Gallery and Munger Rotunda are accessible whenever Green Library is open, but library hours vary with the academic schedule. For current hours, call 723-0931 or visit the web at First-time visitors must register at the south entrance portal to Green Library's East Wing to gain access to the library. For exhibit information, call 725-1020.



Cynthia Haven, News Service: (650) 724-6184,

Elizabeth Fischbach, Stanford University Libraries: (650) 725-1020,

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