Preserving the Source

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April 2020, issue #53

Water Resources Archive
Photo of men working on Snake River Plain analog

Virtually Here for You

Like so many others, the Water Resources Archive is operating virtually for the time being. (We’re a bit more modern than these guys working in 1968 on the Snake River Plain Analog!) Colorado State University is actively monitoring and following COVID-19 guidance, as outlined by public health officials. For more information about CSU’s response, please visit the CSU Safety webpage.

We miss our in-person patrons, donors, and colleagues, and we will be working on rescheduling Water Tables 2020 once life is back to normal. In the meantime, we are happy to hear from you via email, and we invite you to explore our many online resources as well as some ways others have used these important materials. If you have an interest in contributing to our virtual work, we welcome volunteers on our crowdsourcing project. We’ve gone international for this issue’s puzzler, though it is still tied to Colorado State University’s sesquicentennial celebration. Stay well.

–Patty Rettig, Archivist, Water Resources Archive

Water Resources Archive
Delph Carpenter Diaries Project

Transcribe With Us

Our Delph Carpenter Diaries Project enables anyone with an internet connection to volunteer with us. You can help transcribe some important old diaries! Learn more about the project and access it on the From the Page platform, where you can sign up for a free account and then type away.

Carpenter, “the Father of Interstate River Compacts,” an influential water lawyer, senator, and river commissioner in Colorado in the early to mid-1900s, kept (somewhat) daily notes about his activities over a 14-year span. You can choose to start on an early, middle, or late diary, with the latter containing the easiest handwriting to read, as it was written by Delph’s wife Dot due to his failing health. Having transcriptions will make these valuable research items searchable, so we and future researchers will thank you for your contributions!

Water Resources Archive
Newspaper clipping of Mr. Deakin in America

Water Puzzler

Colorado State University has long had a worldwide reputation for excellence in terms of water resources education and research. Seeds of this go back a distant 135 years to 1885, when a delegation from this British colony made a tour of western United States irrigation systems and agricultural colleges.

Alfred Deakin, one of the delegation leaders, is best known as a later prime minister, but at the time of this trip he was solicitor-general and minister of public works. The summary newspaper article (clipped above) mentions what he observed students learning in Fort Collins: “Professor Blount is the superintendent of the farm and professor of agriculture. He takes his pupils on to the farming section, shows them what good ploughing is, how seed should be sown, how irrigation should be carried on, and variously instructs them in the work of the agriculturist.”

After making his return voyage across the ocean, Deakin wrote the report Irrigation in Western America. He subsequently proposed legislation and is recognized as the central figure in establishing irrigation in his eventual country, one which has terrain and climate similar to the American west.

Where was this delegation from?

The answer is…

Water Resources Archive
Photo of boxes on archive shelves

Explore Our Boxes

As always, our collections are open for remote research through descriptive guides. A small percentage of our physical materials have been digitized and are searchable online. Staff will be adding to these as much as we can from home (there’s always a backlog). We will also be compiling additional research guides to help you more efficiently navigate the archive.

Our most recently completed collection guide, describing the Papers of Maurice L. Albertson, documents the Water Resources Archive’s largest collection, coming in at 231 boxes. Dr. Albertson, a highly active CSU civil engineering professor for over 60 years, was a distinctive person. His 1947 application letter stated, “I have a deep interest in people, especially those in the arid mid-west, and as I have said repeatedly, I want to be working with individuals who have an interest in people and the scientific solution of their problems.” He spent his life doing just this, expanding his interest internationally, assisting in the creation of several international educational and development organizations, including the Peace Corps.

Albertson’s files contain a wealth of information not found elsewhere, concerning his life, career, CSU, civil engineering topics, and the world at large. We have already digitized a selection from his hundreds of audio-visual items, so you can learn some civil engineering, 1980s style!

Water Resources Archive
Snapshot of page from Delph Carpenterr papers

Search the Sources

As one would expect, resources available through the Water Resources Archive are used and cited in books and films. Most recently, a new Rocky Mountain PBS documentary Western Water—and Power used several photographs from our collections. Also, the recent book by Eric Kuhn and John Fleck, Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River, cites several documents from the Delph Carpenter Papers, including “E. C. LaRue” (above). Of course, many more documents exist than ever get used or cited, so you can conduct your own first-hand investigations of important historical water issues.

Water Resources Archive

Puzzler answer:

Victoria, Australia

Though the Water Resources Archive does not have documents on this long-ago visit, First and Fourth Progress Reports: Irrigation in Western America by Deakin is in Special Collections (and online). The newspaper article cited above is from The Melbourne Argus, May 21, 1885. A citation of that article appeared in the Fort Collins Courier, August 6, 1885. Mention of the delegation being in town appeared in the Fort Collins Courier, March 26, 1885, along with a nice compliment.


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