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Inventory of the Doris O. Dawdy Papers, 1865-1995 (bulk 1980-1995)
MS 99/2  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Access Points
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Additional Information

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Doris O. Dawdy Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1865-1995 (bulk 1980-1995)
    Collection number: MS 99/2
    Creator: Dawdy, Doris Ostrander
    Extent: 15 manuscript boxes
    Repository: Water Resources Collections and Archives
    Riverside, CA 92517-5900
    Shelf location: This collection is stored off-campus at NRLF. Please contact the Water Resources Collections and Archives staff for access to the materials.
    Abstract: This collection represents Dawdy's research files for her book: Congress In Its Wisdom: The Bureau of Reclamation and the Public Interest, Studies in Water Policy and Management, No. 13 (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1989).
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Doris O. Dawdy donated these papers to the Water Resources Collections and Archives in 1995.


    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 Head of Archives. 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], Doris O. Dawdy Papers, MS 99/2, Water Resources Collections and Archives, University of California, Riverside.

    Access Points

    San Joaquin Valley Drainage Program.
    United States. Bureau of Reclamation.
    Selenium--Environmental aspects--California--San Joaquin Valley.
    Agricultural pollution--California--San Joaquin Valley.
    Drainage--Environmental aspects--California--San Joaquin Valley.
    Kesterson Reservoir (Calif.)
    San Luis Drain (Calif.)
    Westlands Water District (Calif.)


    Originally from Minneapolis, MN, Doris Dawdy's first professional aspirations were very different from her present occupation as a researcher of water rights and other historical issues in the American West. In her late-teens, Dawdy played the clarinet, saxophone, and violin in addition to conducting her own orchestra. She attended the MacPhail School of Music in Minneapolis, Minnesota to train as a professional music instructor, but left the school just before graduation to pursue other interests.
    Dawdy began her career as an author by documenting artists in the American West. Her most notable works include Annotated Bibliography of American Indian Painting (New York: Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, 1968), and the three volume set Artists of the American West (Athens: Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, 1980, 1981, and 1985, respectively). She also edited two journal accounts: A Voice in Her Tribe: A Navajo Woman's Own Story, Based on Navajo Activist Irene Stewart's Letters to Anthropologist Dr. Mary Shepardson (Menlo Park, CA: Ballena Press, 1980), and The Wyant Diary: An Artist With the Wheeler Survey in Arizona, 1873 ( Arizona and the West, Autumn 1980).
    Her primary interests, however, are in the fields of politics and political science, with a particular focus on analyzing government agencies and their operations. She attributes these interests to her experiences as an aid to a Minnesota senator and as a lawyer's public stenographer. Through exposure to her husband's work, Dawdy added another dimension to her research interests: water rights in the western United States. Dawdy's extensive research into water quality issues, particularly in California, has given her over thirty-five years of experience and expertise with which she writes her books. Her diligent efforts to follow and report on trends in water management arise out of a concern over water use in the West, especially in California.
    Dawdy continues to write about a variety of topics pertaining to the American West. She recently published George Montague Wheeler: The Man and the Myth (Athens: Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, 1993), a critical look at Wheeler's explorations in the American West from 1869-1879, and has three more books in various stages of completion. The soonest to be released is an examination of the history of the Army Corps of Engineers, which is being published by the University of Ohio Press. The second book discusses water and land issues on Navaho/Hopi reservations and is currently under review. The third book is a work-in-progress that serves as a follow-up to Congress in its Wisdom: The Bureau of Reclamation and the Public Interest, Studies in Water Policy and Management, No. 13 (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1989), by further examining the actions of the USBR.
    Doris and her husband, prominent research hydrologist and consultant David R. Dawdy, currently reside in the San Francisco Bay Area. Further bibliographical citations for Doris Dawdy are located in the Who's Who in American Art, Who's Who in the West, World's Who's Who of Women, and Contemporary Authors.

    Scope and Content

    The Doris O. Dawdy Papers represent the research files Dawdy used to create her book Congress in Its Wisdom: The Bureau of Reclamation and the Public Interest, Studies in Water Policy and Management, No. 13 (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1989). Congress in its Wisdom "provides a critical look at the Bureau and its works, arguing for a reform of the agency and a new mandate from a constituency of all citizens and representing all interest groups." (caption from back cover)
    The collection is divided into seven series: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), Selenium, Westlands Water District (WWD), Subject Files, Geographical Files, Clippings, and Reports. The bulk of the Dawdy Papers is arranged first by subject matter, and then chronologically. Two additional topics prevalent in the collection but not represented by series are the Kesterson Reservoir and the San Luis Drain.

    Additional Information

    Material Cataloged Separately
    Published and unpublished reports have been transferred to the general collection of the Water Resources Collections and Archives. See call numbers related to the United States Bureau of Reclamation, the San Luis Drain, Kesterson Reservoir, Westlands Water District, and selenium.
    Related Collections
    Brody (Ralph M.) Papers  (1959-1981) Water Resources Collections and Archives
    Related item of interest is Dawdy's book Congress in Its Wisdom: The Bureau of Reclamation and the Public Interest, Studies in Water Policy and Management, No. 13 (Boulder: Westview Press, 1989). [WRCA Call number G2045 M9]