Reuel Olson Papers on the Colorado River Compact, Water Resources Collection

Russell Michalak (2008); Revised by Jamella Gow (2012)
Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library
800 North Dartmouth Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711
© 2021
The Claremont Colleges Library. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Reuel Olson Papers on the Colorado River Compact, Water Resources Collection
Dates: 1919-1967 and undated
Collection number: H.Mss.0584
Creator: Olson, Reuel Leslie
Extent: 2 Linear Feet (5 document boxes)
Repository: Claremont Colleges. Library. Special Collections, The Claremont Colleges Library, Claremont, CA 91711.
Abstract: Materials in this collection consist of Reuel Olson's notes, letters, newspaper clippings, government-related documents, and other research materials that became his doctoral thesis on the Colorado River Compact: a seven state agreement on the allocation of water resources in the Colorado River basin. Olson, a law professor at University of Southern California School of Law, wrote his thesis to satisfy requirements for his doctorate at Harvard University. These materials provide historical background on the Compact, signed in 1922, and present Olson's personal work in constructing a history of the Compact.
Physical Location: Please consult repository.
Language of Material: Languages represented in the collection: English.

Administrative Information


Collection open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to reproduce or to publish must be submitted in writing to Special Collections.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Reuel Olson Papers, Water Collection (H.Mss.0584). Special Collections, The Claremont Colleges Library, The Claremont Colleges Services, Claremont, California.

Provenance/Source of Acquisition

Acquisition information unknown.


No additions to the collection are anticipated.

Processing Information

Arranged and processed by Special Collections staff in 1975. Collection rearranged and re-catalogued by Jamella Gow in 2012.

Biography / Administrative History

Reuel Leslie Olson, A. M., J. D., Ph. D., was a law professor at the University of Southern California School of Law. For his doctoral thesis at Harvard University, Olson conducted research on the Colorado River Compact: a 1922 seven state agreement on water rights in the Colorado River basin. Olson began his investigation of this topic to encourage more study of the United States Constitution's clause (Article 1, Section 10) on compacts which prohibits compacts between states without consent of Congress. Olson published his thesis in 1926.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The collection consists of Reuel Olson's materials used in the creation of his thesis on the Colorado River Compact and include various items such as newspaper clippings, essays, briefs, articles, letters, and Olson's personal notes. Materials principally focus on the Compact while some materials relate to other compacts formed during the time or to various associations and commissions. Materials present a multi-faceted perspective of the Colorado River Compact as it contains responses to the Compact by states, law-makers, and citizens who were actively involved in the matter or contributed information on the issues surrounding its creation.

Organization and Arrangement

The collection is organized into the following series and subseries:
  • Series 1: Associations, undated
  • Series 2: Colorado River Compact Colorado River Compact, 1925-1967 and undated
  • Subseries 2.1: Government, 1925 and undated
  • Series 3: Other Compacts/Projects, 1919 and undated
  • Series 4: Reuel Olsen Materials, undated
  • Subseries 4.1: Colorado River Compact thesis-related materials, undated
  • Series 5: Miscellaneous Materials, undated

Related Materials

Reuel Olson's thesis "The Colorado River Compact" is held in Special Collections, The Claremont Colleges Library and can be found through the Library's catalog: Special Collections holds two copies with the following Library of Congress call numbers:

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library’s online public access catalog.

Subject Terms

Colorado River Aqueduct (Calif.)
Colorado River Association
Colorado River Commission. Colorado River Compact -- Congresses
Colorado River Compact
Los Angeles (Calif.)


Series 1:  Associations undated

Box 1, Folder 1

Boulder Dam Association

Box 1, Folder 2

Colorado River Aqueduct Association

Box 1, Folder 3

Columbia Interstate Treaty Commission

Box 1, Folder 4

Federal Power Commission

Box 1, Folder 5

Imperial District, organization of

Box 1, Folder 6

Los Angeles Board of Public Service Commissioners

Box 1, Folder 7

Parkway Commission


Series 2:  Colorado River Compact 1925-1967 and undated

Box 1, Folder 8

Analysis of Compact

Box 1, Folder 9

Arizona situation

Box 1, Folder 10

Articles (extra copies)

Box 1, Folder 11

Articles [of compact]

Box 1, Folder 12

Articles and papers written, [professor] Hocking, etcetera (personal file)

Box 1, Folder 13

Assessed valuation and population '67 irrigated Areas XXV (related to water) 1967

Box 1, Folder 14

Bases of division, possible

Box 1, Folder 15

Break of 1903-06 [05?]

Box 1, Folder 16


Box 1, Folder 17

Certainty, element of, will be added by Compact

Box 1, Folder 18


Box 1, Folder 19

Charter to Arizona

Box 1, Folder 20

Clark, W. G.

Box 1, Folder 21

Colorado Aqueduct for L[os] A[ngeles], city of

Box 1, Folder 22

Colorado Project - letters

Box 2, Folder 1

Colorado River Compact notes

Box 2, Folder 2

Election returns

Box 2, Folder 3

Engineering, diversity of views

Box 2, Folder 4


Box 2, Folder 5


Box 2, Folder 6

Hunt, [Governor George W. P.]

Box 2, Folder 7

Hunt's veto of supplementary conference 35672

Box 2, Folder 8


Box 2, Folder 9


Box 2, Folder 10

Mirror of politics

Box 2, Folder 11

New stuff

Box 2, Folder 12

Old Colorado River stuff

Box 2, Folder 13

Personnel, who's who

Box 2, Folder 14


Box 2, Folder 15

Physical features

Box 2, Folder 16


Box 2, Folder 17

Political issues (Mexican question)

Box 2, Folder 18


Box 2, Folder 19


Box 2, Folder 20

Relative rapidity of development

Box 2, Folder 21


Box 2, Folder 22

Six-State Compact

Box 2, Folder 23

Suggestions (Regional Commission) etcetera

Box 3, Folder 1

Supplementary agreement

Box 3, Folder 2

Swing-Johnson Bill, new

Box 3, Folder 3

Swing-Johnson bill-those who favor S[wing] J[ohnson] Bill

Box 3, Folder 4

Three purposes

Box 3, Folder 5

Transmountain diversion, folder one

Box 3, Folder 6

Transmountain diversion, folder two

Box 3, Folder 7

Yuma's interest

Box 3, Folder 8

Work's plan


Subseries 2.1:  Government 1925 and undated

Box 3, Folder 9

Appropriation right, abandonment of

Box 3, Folder 10

Bills, Congress of U[nited] S[tates] (both houses)

Box 3, Folder 11

Conservancy Laws

Box 3, Folder 12

Constitutional questions, summary of

Box 3, Folder 13

Eminent domain of Federal Government

Box 3, Folder 14

Extra (taken from "Constitution" material)

Box 3, Folder 15

Federal Power Reserve

Box 3, Folder 16

Government Doc[ument]s

Box 3, Folder 17


Box 3, Folder 18

Reclamation record

Box 3, Folder 19


Box 3, Folder 20

Reserve (surplus)

Box 3, Folder 21

Senate Committee, new bill

Box 3, Folder 22

Senate Hearings 1925

Box 4, Folder 1

Stipulation in license of Federal P. C., effect of

Box 4, Folder 2

Uniform law: the next step in trade development

Box 4, Folder 3


Box 4, Folder 4

Withold permits until ratified


Series 3:  Other Compacts/Projects 1919 and undated

Box 4, Folder 5

All American Canal Hearings 1919

Box 4, Folder 6


Box 4, Folder 7


Box 4, Folder 8

Compact idea

Box 4, Folder 9

Compacts (other examples)

Box 4, Folder 10

Delaware compact

Box 4, Folder 11


Box 4, Folder 12


Box 4, Folder 13

Girard [James B.]

Box 4, Folder 14

Grinshaw's Brief

Box 4, Folder 15

High Line Canal

Box 4, Folder 16


Box 4, Folder 17

Muscle Shoals

Box 4, Folder 18


Box 4, Folder 19

Rio Grande


Folder contains only one document related to the Rio Grande. However, rest of materials consist of newspaper clippings that refer to proposed compacts between states in the Northeastern United States and a document on state compacts.
Box 4, Folder 20

San Gabriel Canyon Project

Box 4, Folder 21

Super power

Box 4, Folder 22

Turley Projects


Series 4:  Reuel Olsen Materials undated

Box 4, Folder 23

Bonbright essay

Box 4, Folder 24

Water - Olson Reuel

Box 4, Folder 25

Water - Olson, Reuel L. - articles by Olson


Subseries 4.1:  Colorado River Compact Thesis-related Materials undated

Box 5, Folder 1


Box 5, Folder 2


Box 5, Folder 3


Box 5, Folder 4

Letters re publication of Colorado River Compact thesis

Box 5, Folder 5

Map citations

Box 5, Folder 6



Series 5:  Miscellaneous Materials undated

Box 5, Folder 7

Home trip

Box 5, Folder 8

New Material (i. e., subsequent to thesis)

Box 5, Folder 9

Miscellaneous notes

Box 5, Folder 10

Period of time

Box 5, Folder 11

Pollution of water

Box 5, Folder 12


Box 5, Folder 13

Social Ethics features (extra)

Box 5, Folder 14

Newspaper clippings (1 of 3)

Box 5, Folder 15

Newspaper clippings (2 of 3)

Box 5, Folder 16

Newspaper clippings (3 of 3)