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Charles Derleth papers
WRCA 035  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biography
  • Collection Scope and Contents
  • Related Collections
  • Collection Number
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Charles Derleth papers
    Date (inclusive): 1865-1952
    Collection Number: WRCA 035
    Extent: 15 linear feet 19 manuscript boxes and oversize flat boxes
    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 Collections and 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 Derleth papers (WRCA 035). Water Resources Collections and Archives. Special Collections & University Archives, University of California, Riverside.


    Charles Derleth, Jr., was born on October 2, 1874, in New York. He received a bachelor of science degree at the City College of New York in 1894 and civil engineering degree at Columbia University in 1896. He served as Instructor and Lecturer at Columbia from 1896 to 1901. He moved westward in 1901 to become Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado. In 1903 Derleth accepted appointment as Associate Professor of Structural Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1907 he became Professor and Dean of the College of Civil Engineering, and in 1930, when the Colleges of Civil, Mechanical, and Electrical Engineering were combined, he was appointed Dean of the College of Engineering. He served in this capacity until 1942.
    The hallmark of Derleth's career as a civil engineer is undoubtedly his work on San Francisco Bay bridges. He was Chief Engineer for the Carquinez Strait Highway Bridge, which, at the time it was built in 1927, was the longest cantilever bridge west of the Mississippi. He was a member of the Board of Consulting Engineers for both the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. He also visited, usually in the company of the Chief Engineer, nearly every major bridge construction site in northern California.
    In addition, Derleth played a pivotal role in the design and construction of some of the best-known buildings, bridges, foundations, dams, highways, and tunnels in northern California. He was in charge of engineering work for the San Francisco Bureau of Architecture and was Consulting Engineer for Alameda County on numerous municipal structures, including the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, the San Francisco Civic Center and Auditorium (which he also designed), Grace Cathedral, and the Native Sons Hall in San Francisco, First National Bank of Berkeley, and Contra Costa County Hospital. Derleth also served as Chief Consulting Engineer on the Oakland-Alameda Estuary Tunnel (now called the George A. Posey Tube) and as Consulting Engineer to the University of California, designing and constructing California Hall, Wheeler Hall, Doe Library, Gilman Hall, LeConte Hall, the Campanile, and other structures on the Berkeley campus. In 1930 Derleth received an honorary degree from the University of California in recognition of his service.
    Charles Derleth died on June 13, 1956.

    Collection Scope and Contents

    Correspondence, engineering reports, blueprints, photographs, notes, and news clippings relating to Derleth's work as a consulting engineering on the Golden Gate Bridge, Carquinez Bridge, San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, a proposed Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, Antioch Bridge, U.S. Engineer Foundation's Committee on Arch Dam Investigation, Spring Valley Water Company, and others. Also includes materials on masonry structures (chiefly dams), the Hetch Hetchy Project, Lake Spaulding Dam, and other bridges and dams in California and elsewhere.

    Related Collections

    Charles Derleth Papers, ca. 1886-1965. BANC MSS 91/116 c, The Bancroft Library
    Charles Derleth Papers, ca. 1900-1938. BANC MSS C-B 717, The Bancroft Library
    Photographs of the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire from the Charles Derleth Papers, 1868-1908 (bulk 1906-1908).BANC PIC 1958.021--fALB, The Bancroft Library

    Collection Number

    Collection number updated January 2019. Legacy collection number was DERLETH. This change was part of a project in 2018/2019 to update the collection numbers for collections in the Water Resources Collections and Archives.

    Indexing Terms

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


    Golden Gate International Exposition (1939-1940 : San Francisco, Calif.)
    Engineering Foundation (U.S.). Committee on Arch Dam
    Spring Valley Water Company (San Francisco, Calif.)
    University of California, Berkeley. College of Engineering
    Antioch Bridge (Calif.)
    Arch dams -- Design and construction
    Bonneville Dam (Or. and Wash.)
    Bridges -- California -- San Francisco Bay -- Design and construction
    Calaveras Dam (Calif.)
    Carquinez Bridge (Calif.)
    Dams -- California -- Design and construction
    Earth dams -- Design and construction
    Eleanor Dam (Calif.)
    Exchequer Dam (Calif.)
    Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Hetch Hetchy Reservoir (Calif.)
    Lake Hodges Dam (Calif.)
    Lake Spaulding Dam (Calif.)
    O'Shaughnessy Dam (Calif.)
    Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (Calif.)
    San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (Oakland and San Francisco, Calif.)
    Stevenson Creek Test Dam (Calif.)