Peder Sather

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File:UCB Campanile.jpg
Sather Tower at UC, Berkeley
Sather Gate at UC, Berkeley

Peder Sather (September 25, 1810 – December 28, 1886) was a prominent Norwegian-born American banker who is best known for his legacy to the University of California, Berkeley. His widow, Jane K. Sather, donated money in his memory for two of the school's most famous landmarks. Sather Gate and Sather Tower, which is more commonly known as The Campanile, are both California Historical Landmarks which are registered National Register of Historic Places[1]


Peder Pedersen Sæther was born in Odal, a traditional district in the county of Hedmark in eastern Norway, on the farm Nordstun Nedre Sæther (Sør-Odal). His parents were Peder Larsen and Mari Kristoffersdatter. Sæther was a fisherman before emigrating to New York City in about 1832.[2] He entered the banking house of Drexel & Co. in Philadelphia and remained there until 1850.[3]

Philadelphia banker Francis Martin Drexel offered to assist Peder Sather and his business partner Edward W. Church in establishing a bank in San Francisco. In 1850, Sather and Church moved to San Francisco and established the banking firm of Drexel, Sather & Church. From 1863, Peder Sather became the sole owner of the bank. He went on to become one of California’s richest men. Upon his death, the Sather and Church banking firm was absorbed by the Bank of California. Peder Sather was a trustee of the College of California, which would later become the University of California, Berkeley. [4][5]

Sather's first wife Sarah Thompson was born in 1808 in Connecticut and died in 1881. They had 4 children: Caroline E. Sather, born about 1838, Josephine Frederikke Sather (married Bruguière), born about 1843, died when the White Star Line passenger liner RMS Arabic was torpedoed on August 19, 1915. Mary Emma Sather, born about 1845 and Peder B. Sather, born about 1846. Peder Sather was the maternal grandfather of photographer, Francis Bruguière.

Peder Sather married secondly, in 1882, the widow Jane Krohm Read (1824-1911). Four years later, after her husband's death she donated money for the construction of Sather Gate and Sather Tower at UC Berkeley, both of which are named in his honor. She also created an endowment for the Sather Professorship of Classical Literature at the University.[6][7]

Peder Sather Symposium

The Peder Sather Symposium is a biennial event organized as a collaboration between the government of Norway and Sweden and UC Berkeley. The stated goal of the symposium is to promote the understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues. It is designed to foster interdisciplinary discussion among scholars and policymakers on global and national issues of mutual concern.[8]

Sather Classical Lectures

The Sather Classical Lectures are an annual presentation by a selected scholar (the Sather Professor) on topics from the Greek and Roman world of antiquity. The lectures are usually about six in number, and are normally reprinted in book form.[9] Among the distinguished appointees have been Ronald Syme, William Bedell Stanford, John Myres, Brian Stock, and Herbert Weir Smyth.

See also


  1. Sather Tower and the Sather Gate (Viking magazine. Sons of Norway)
  2. Peder Sather, a famous banker born at Sæther (Slekt i Sør Odal)
  3. Death of a Prominent Ban Francisco Banker at Oakland (Daily Alta California. December 29, 1886)
  4. "About Peder Sather". Peder Sather Center. Retrieved March 5, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Peder Sather". shippassengers. Retrieved March 5, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. A Brief History of the Sather Professorship (Joseph Fontenrose. "The First Century" 1982)
  7. Jane Krom Sather (1824 -1911) - Left Huge Bequest to University of California at Berkeley (Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland)
  8. Peder Sather Symposium (The Center for Studies in Higher Education)
  9. Sather Classical Lectures (Classics Department of the University of California, Berkeley)

Other sources

  • Dow, Sterling (1965) Fifty Years of Sathers: The Sather Professorship of Classical Literature in the University of California, Berkeley (University of California Press)
  • Sveen, Karin (2014) The Immigrant and the University. Peder Sather and Gold Rush California (University of California Press) ISBN 9780520276482

Further reading

  • Alexander, William Hardy The Sather Classical Lectures (Classical Association of the Atlantic States. The Classical Weekly, Volume 48, No. 2 January 3, 1955)

External links