Scope and Content of Collection
Yellen, Ben, 1907-
Title: Ben Yellen / Charles L. Smith correspondence,
Date (inclusive): 1960 - 2006
0.20 linear feet
(1 archive box)
Abstract: The Ben Yellen correspondence with Charles L. Smith files contain mainly correspondence in the form of prescription-pad notes
(1960-1970s) from Yellen to Smith regarding water rights in Imperial County (Calif.), writings and lists (1970-1999) created
by Smith about Yellen, and a small amount of miscellaneous materials such as notes and newspaper articles regarding the Imperial
University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
La Jolla, California 92093-0175
Collection number: MSS 0667
Language of Material:
Collection materials in English
Collection is open for research.
Ben Yellen / Charles L. Smith correspondence, MSS 0667. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
Charles L. Smith, of Berkeley, California, was a self-described "sympathetic fellow pamphleteer" and self-appointed bibliographer,
who worked for the Planning Department at the Division of Highways (now Caltrans). In the 1960s, he first became acquainted
with Yellen, an activist physician pamphleteer of the Imperial Valley, California, when Smith was working on a bibliography
on rural water use and the 160 acre water limitation law. This law would later figure prominently in Yellen's lawsuits involving
the Imperial Irrigation District. As part of Smith's work duties, he would read newspapers looking for local discussion of
transportation projects, and during lunchtimes, would review these same newspapers for other items of interest to himself
and to Yellen. He would send Yellen newspaper clippings or obtain and ship article reprints to Yellen via Greyhound Express
and Yellen would reimburse him.
After Yellen's death in 1994, as a demonstration of Smith's admiration for Yellen's quest for justice, Smith attempted to
get a statue dedicated to Yellen and worked to preserve his accomplishments. Smith collected correspondence that Yellen sent
to him on small prescription-pad note paper that spanned two decades (1960-1970s), wrote essays critiquing Dr. Yellen's pamphleteering
methods, prepared lists of articles about Yellen, and sent copies of Yellen's newsletters to various archives.
Scope and Content of Collection
The files contain mainly correspondence in the form of prescription-pad notes from Yellen to Smith regarding articles and
reprints that Smith would procure for Yellen and ship to Brawley, California, for Yellen's use. Also included are writings
and lists by Smith about Yellen, and newspaper articles on subjects of interest to both men. The files are arranged in four
series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) WRITINGS, 3) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS, and 4) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.
SERIES 1: CORRESPONDENCE
The CORRESPONDENCE series contains correspondence from and to Dr. Ben Yellen, much of which consists of small prescription-pad
notes (1960-1970s) to Smith from Yellen, often requesting reprints of newspaper articles that Smith had discovered. In addition,
there are samples of typical Yellen correspondence; to then U.S. president-elect William Jefferson Clinton, a letter to the
"Dear Abby" newspaper column, a "Voice of the People" letter to the editor, as well as some correspondence by Smith to others
concerning Yellen. The files are arranged alphabetically by correspondent.
SERIES 2: WRITINGS
The WRITINGS series includes a typescript of the flyer/mailer Smith sent out advocating for a statue of Yellen to be placed
in either Brawley, El Centro, or at the University of California, San Diego; lists entitled, "Newsletters of Dr. Ben Yellen,
1971-1991" [missing page two]; "Ben Yellen Articles by Lynn Ludlow" (former editor and retired journalist with the SAN FRANCISCO
EXAMINER); "Articles about Dr. Ben Yellen" (featuring a variety of newspapers); and typescript essays entitled, "The Saga
of Dr. Ben Yellen, M.D. and Prof. Paul Taylor;" [Paul Taylor was an economics professor at UC Berkeley, and husband of photographer
Dorothea Lange, who became absorbed in California water issues] and "A Critique of Dr. Ben Yellen's Pamphlets." The files
are arranged alphabetically by title.
SERIES 3: MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS
The MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS series contains a small amount of handwritten and typescript notes and newspaper articles on subjects
Smith and Yellen were interested in such as a documentary on the Salton Sea and unconventional journalists in Mexico.
SERIES 4: ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES
The ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES series contains originals of items removed for preservation purposes.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Yellen, Ben, 1907- -- Archives
Imperial Irrigation District (Calif.)
Desert Growers Assoc
Water transfer -- California, Southern
Water-supply -- California, Southern
Irrigation water -- California, Southern
Water resources development -- California, Southern -- Finance
Water rights -- California, Southern -- History
Imperial Valley (Calif. and Mexico)
Imperial County (Calif.)
Smith, Charles L., -- correspondent