Processing information note
Scope and Content note
Title: Rank v. Krug
Identifier/Call Number: csf.2010.001
Special Collections Research Center, California State University, Fresno
Language of Material:
9.0 Linear feet
The collection is open for research.
The library can only claim physical ownership of the collection. Users are responsible for satisfying any claimants of literary
The collection was donated by Ginny Rank Hovsepian in 2010.
Processing information note
Processing of the Rank v. Krug Collection was generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and administered by the
Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The Henry Madden Library, California State University, Fresno was awarded
a Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant from 2010-2012, "Uncovering California's Environmental Collections,"
in collaboration with eight additional special collections and archival repositories throughout the state and the California
Digital Library (CDL). Grant objectives included processing of over 33 hidden collections related to the state's environment
and environmental history. The collections document an array of important sub-topics such as irrigation, mining, forestry,
agriculture, industry, land use, activism, and research. Together they form a multifaceted picture of the natural world and
the way it was probed, altered, exploited and protected in California over the twentieth century. Finding aids are made available
through the Online Archive of California (OAC).
Scope and Content note
The Rank v. Krug collection measures 9 linear feet and consists of eleven series; Case documents, Clippings, Indentures, Interior
Department and Congressional documents, Publications, reports and statistics, Related cases, Water applications, protests
and complaints, Water districts, Miscellaneous, Maps and Photographs.
Case documents series (1935, 1945-1957, 1960-1963 and undated) contains the bulk of the collection and consists of materials created during
the course of the Rank v. Krug case, including court reporters' transcripts, exhibits, complaints and judgments.
Clippings series (1935, 1947-1952, 1961, 1963, 1980, 2006 and undated) consists of newspaper clippings related to the Rank v. Krug
case as well as clippings about other related cases and water policy.
Indentures series (1929-1951) consists of bond indenture documents from local landowners and water associations.
Interior Department and Congressional documents series (1947, 1951-1952, 1958, 1960-1963, 1979 and undated) is made up of contracts from the Bureau of Reclamation, Congressional
hearings and reports, and Department of the Interior memoranda and press releases.
Publications, reports and statistics series (1909, 1938, 1943, 1945, 1950-1955, 1958-1963, 2006 and undated) contains documents relating to irrigation, conservation,
flood control and other water usage information for the area covered by the Central Valley Project as well as other Bureau
of Reclamation projects.
Related cases series (1933, 1950-1952, 1956-1958, 1960-1963 and undated) is made up of court documents from cases similar to Rank v. Krug
as well as other water and Interior Department related cases in the same geographical area.
Water applications, protests and complaints series (1931, 1945, 1948, 1951-1962, 1969-1970, 1973 and undated) contains requests and protests by various local governments
and water agencies for access to local water sources.
Water districts series (1957-1962 and undated) consists of materials related to the Fresno County Water District as well as various organizations
representing local water districts.
Miscellaneous series (1950-1954, 1958, 1960-1962, 1980-1981 and undated) contains three folders of documents unrelated to other series.
This includes California state legislature documents, Claude Rowe correspondence unrelated to Rank v. Krug and miscellaneous
materials related to unidentified court cases.
Maps series (1877, 1927, 1936, 1938-1939, 1944, 1946, 1948, 1950-1952, 1954 and undated) contains maps relating to Bureau of Reclamation
and state water projects, local water districts, precipitation and water flow rates and the San Joaquin River.
Photographs series (1947, 1950-1953 and undated) contains photographs of irrigation and farming operations represented in the Rank v.
Krug case as well as general views of the San Joaquin River.
The Rank v. Krug case originated with the construction of the Central Valley Project in California. Friant Dam was constructed
on the San Joaquin River as part of the project with the purpose of diverting water from the river into the Madera and Friant-Kern
Canals in order to irrigate lands in the Valley which had no nearby source of irrigation water. Seeing that their own irrigation
water might be threatened, two hundred downstream landowners protested the construction of the dam and canals. The Bureau
of Reclamation, who managed the project, attemped to assuage the concerns of the landowners, however it became readily apparent
as construction of the dam neared completion and Millerton Lake began to fill that stream flows would be heavily impacted.
In 1947, Everett G. Rank and twelve of his fellow riparian landowners filed a lawsuit to stop the water diversions in the
Fresno County Superior Court against Secretary of the Interior Julius Krug and several Bureau of Reclamation officials. The
group organized as the San Joaquin River Riparian Owners Association and soon hundreds of other downstream landowners and
the City of Fresno were added as plaintiffs. They hired local attorney Claude Rowe to represent them and the case was soon
transferred to a federal court. Rowe's main argument was that the water in the San Joaquin River belonged to the state of
California and the federal government did not have a right to it without filing for a permit. Presiding judge Person M. Hall
issued a temporary injunction to halt the water diversions. The Bureau found a way around this injunction and increased diversions
as the Madera Canal was completed in 1950.
In 1956, a decision was made by Judge Hall in favor of the landowners, stating that the Bureau was illegally storing water
that belonged to the state of California, and which the plaintiffs had a right to. The Bureau of Reclamation was ordered to
build impoundment dams to alleviate the lack of water downstream from the dam, as well as provide compensation for the landowners.
In response to this the Bureau appealed the ruling, in addition to applying for a water rights permit from the state of California.
The California Department of Fish and Game attempted to thwart the Bureau in this attempt, but were overruled by the governor.
In 1962, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard the bureau's appeal (Dugan v. Rank) and decided the case was adminstrative
in nature and could not be decided in court. In response to this, both the City of Fresno and the Department of the Interior
asked for a Supreme Court review. The Supreme Court heard the case and decided in favor of the Bureau of Reclamation, arguing
that the federal government could seize the water rights of the landowners through eminent domain, though it would have to
compensate the landowners for the loss in value of their property. This decision effectively ended the efforts of Rank and
his neighbors to secure their water rights.
Rank v. Krug Collection. Special Collections Research Center, Henry Madden Library, California State University, Fresno.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Uncovering California's Environmental Collections Project