Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (133.20 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biographical Information
  • Collection Scope and Contents
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Charles H. Lee photographs
    Date (inclusive): 1905-1959
    Date (bulk): 1905-1938
    Collection Number: MS 99/1
    Extent: 893 photographs
    Repository: Rivera Library. Special Collections Department.
    Riverside, CA 92517-5900
    Languages: English


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Water Resources Collections and Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Distinctive Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Water Resources Center Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [identification of item], [date if possible]. Charles H. Lee photographs (MS 99/1). Water Resources Collections and Archives. Special Collections & University Archives, University of California, Riverside.

    Biographical Information

    Charles Hamilton Lee was born February 1, 1883, in Oakland, California, and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1905. He began his career as a hydrographer for the U.S. Geological Survey but resigned in 1906 to become assistant engineer for the city of Los Angeles. From 1906-1911, he was involved in the design and construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. During this period his report on the groundwater basin of the Independence region of the Owens Valley was published as U.S.G.S. Water-Supply Paper 294.
    From 1912-1917 he had his own practice as a civil and hydraulic engineer in Los Angeles, serving in 1912 as hydraulic engineer for the California State Conservation Commission. After World War I, Lee was appointed President of the State Water Commission of California and subsequently Chief of the Division of Water Rights. In this capacity he had an active influence on water resources development in California.
    In 1921 Lee again set up private practice, this time in San Francisco, doing a wide variety of work on all phases of water supply and structural foundation. A major client was the city of Los Angeles, for whom he did work connected with the Owens Valley, in large part related to pending litigation. In addition to work performed for Los Angeles, Lee was consulting engineer for several other California municipalities and numerous U.S. departments and agencies, including the State of California, water, public utility, and irrigation districts, and private companies and individuals in California and elsewhere. He was consulting engineer for the fill project that built Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay and from 1936-1939 he was chief of Water Supply and Sanitation for the Golden Gate International Exposition.
    Other soil engineering work included slide repairs, foundation engineering, tunnels, and earth dams. He was recipient of the 1939 Norman Medal awarded by the American Society of Civil Engineers for his research on materials for earth fill dams.
    Charles H. Lee died at his home in Berkeley, California on May 4, 1967, at the age of 84.

    Collection Scope and Contents

    Collection of 3 x 5.5-in. black-and-white photographic prints taken by Charles H. Lee, covering a wide range of water resources development projects in California and New Mexico in which Lee was involved. Major projects documented include the construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, construction of various dams and reservoirs in San Diego County and other Southern California locations, water development in Inyo County and Mono County, and construction of Elephant Butte Dam in New Mexico. Also included are many views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite Valley, and the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906.

    Indexing Terms

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


    Dams -- California -- Eel River
    Earthquakes -- California -- San Francisco
    Elephant Butte Dam (N. M.)
    Fort Stanton (N.M.)
    Hetch Hetchy Valley (Calif.)
    Los Angeles Aqueduct (Calif.)
    Mono Lake (Calif.)
    Owens River (Calif.)
    Owens Valley (Calif.)
    Saint Francis Dam (Calif.)
    San Luis Rey River (Calif.)
    Sierra Nevada (Calif. and Nev.)
    Tulare Lake (Calif.)
    Water resources development -- California -- Inyo County
    Water resources development -- California -- San Diego County
    Yosemite Valley (Calif.)