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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing History
  • Collection Number
  • Biographical Note
  • Collection Scope and Contents
  • Collection Arrangement
  • Related Collections
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Andrae B. Nordskog papers
    Date (inclusive): 1903-1962
    Date (bulk): 1920-1961
    Collection Number: WRCA 058
    Creator: Nordskog, Andrae B., 1885-1962
    Extent: 0.42 linear feet (1 box)
    Repository: Rivera Library. Special Collections Department.
    Riverside, CA 92517-5900
    Abstract: The collection consists of correspondence, notes, news clippings, etc., related to Nordskog's water interests. Includes materials related to "water frauds" in the Owens Valley (including notes and an outline for his unpublished manuscript on the Owens Valley controversy), the Los Angeles Aqueduct, Boulder Dam, San Gabriel Dam, sea water conversion, California water problems, the Feather River Project, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California,the Colorado River, etc.
    Languages: The collection is in English.


    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the University of California, Riverside Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives. Distribution or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. To the extent other restrictions apply, permission for distribution or reproduction from the applicable rights holder is also required. Responsibility for obtaining permissions, and for any use rests exclusively with the user

    Preferred Citation

    [identification of item], [date if possible]. Andrae B. Nordskog papers (WRCA 058). Water Resources Collections and Archives. Special Collections & University Archives, University of California, Riverside.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Mrs. Gertrude Nordskog, 1962.

    Processing History

    Processed by Water Resources Collections and Archives staff, 2001.

    Collection Number

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

    Biographical Note

    Andrae B. Nordskog (at first named Arne Andreas Nordskog) was born the son of Norwegian settlers in Story City, Iowa, in 1885. As a youth, he worked as a reporter for his home town newspaper. He became an expert in telephony and electronics and established the first two wireless telegraph stations in Iowa when he was 24 years old. He turned his inventive talent to the railroads moved west to Seattle to work on them, inventing an improved block signal device, which he patented in Washington.
    Nordskog was also an accomplished singer. He joined the Seattle Grand Opera Companyin 1914 and two years later was the leading tenor with the Knickerbocker Light Opera Companyin Los Angeles. In 1921, he became general manager of the recently inaugurated Hollywood Bowl. He soon allied music with his other interests and, while running a lucrative voice training school, he was able to buy equipment from a free-lance recorder and start the first phonograph recording factory on the West Coast. He opened branch offices of Nordskog Recordsin Santa Monica and Los Angeles.
    Beginning in the spring of 1922, Nordskog Recordsproduced New Orleans jazz records, which have since become collectors' items, including early recordings by Edward "Kid" Oryand his band. By 1923, Nordskog's catalogue included names like Cyclonic Eva Tanguay, Virginia Wald, Abe Lyman, Harry Green,and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Industrial Chorus.
    In 1923, Nordskog fell victim to a crooked banker, lost his business, and turned his attention to civic and financial reform. At first, he wrote articles for community newspapers, while still earning income as a voice instructor. His main targets were the telephone companies, which were charging unfair rates. In late 1926 he began publishing the Los Angeles Gridiron, a small weekly newspaper. The first issues focused on such reform efforts as reduction of telephone rates, paving of streets, installation of storm drains, and development of city parks. He followed this newspaper with the publication of The New America Magazineand Our Nation Magazine.
    In August 1931, Nordskog was invited by William Hope (Coin) Harveyto attend the formation of the Liberty Party at Monte Ne, Arkansas, which had for its main plank "honest coinage according to the Constitution." Nordskog was nominated unanimously as the party's candidate for Vice-President of the United States, and in that capacity he toured the nation giving public speeches for that party. In 1932, at the convention of six independent political parties which were amalgamated into the Liberty Party, held in Kansas City, Missouri, Nordskog was again nominated for that party's vice-presidential candidate.
    Demands for his writings on the subject of "honest coinage" and "governmental finance" compelled Nordskog to author and self-publish several books on these subjects, among which were Spiking the Gold, or, Who Caused the Depression, ... and the Way Out(1932), Spike the Bonds(1933), and We Bankers vs. Four Financial Fascists(1936). He was also authorized by the California State Board of Educationto teach the subjects of "The Science of Money" and "Governmental Finance" to adult classes in all high schools in the state.
    In the late 1920s/early 1930s, Nordskog's chief interest was in the area of southwestern water issues. He was president of the Southwest Water Leagueand conducted public meetings in cities throughout Southern California. In 1927, he became interested in the escalating dispute between the city of Los Angeles and the residents of the Owens Valley. He began publishing articles and editorials in the Gridironchampioning the valley's cause and criticizing the city. He obtained radio time on station KGEF and accused Los Angeles Department of Water and Powerofficials of corruption and incompetence.
    In early 1928, Nordskog went to Washington, D.C. and visited the U.S. Bureau of Reclamationoffices, where he obtained permission to transcribe documents and correspondence. Nordskog used this material to write a 540-page manuscript entitled Boulder Dam in the Light of the Owens Valley Fraud, which "linked the then pending construction of Boulder Dam with the Owens River Aqueduct as a seamless conspiratorial plot dating back to 1904 (Hoffman, 1982)." Nordskog was unable to interest a major publisher in the manuscript and considered publishing it himself. However, the Great Depression made it unfeasible. Then, in March 1931, a state senate committee began investigating Los Angeles' role in Inyo County. Nordskog condensed his manuscript into a lengthy letter and submitted it to the committee. Although it did not influence the committee's recommendations, it did impress the committee sufficiently to be ordered read into the legislative journal and 1,500 copies printed as a 28-page pamphlet entitled, Communication to the California Legislature Relating to the Owens Valley Water Situation. In 1955 he reworked the manuscript again, this time calling it Water is Plentiful. Like its predecessor, this manuscript also was never published.
    Andrae Nordskog died in 1962.
    Biographical Sources:
    Asman, James. The Remarkable Andrae Nordskog. Record and Show Mirror (London), April 16, 1960, p. 6.
    Bentley, John, and Ralph W. Miller. Andrae Nordskog. Jazz Monthly (London), May 1959, p. 8.
    Biographical Sketch of Andrae Nordskog. Unpublished manuscript, July 22, 1961.
    Hoffman, Abraham. Andrae Nordskog and the Conspiracy Viewpoint of the Owens Valley-Los Angeles Water Controversy. Biblio-Cal Notes, Vol. 12, no. 2, whole no. 35 (Summer 1982), p. 5-9.
    Hoffman, Abraham. Vision or Villainy: Origins of the Owens Valley-Los Angeles Water Controversy. College Station, Tex.: Texas A & M University Press, 1981.
    Levin, Floyd. Central Avenue Sounds: Jazz in Los Angeles, 1921-1944. http://www.rhino.com/features/liners/75872lin5.html

    Collection Scope and Contents

    The collection consists of correspondence, notes, news clippings, etc., related to Nordskog's water interests. Includes materials related to "water frauds" in the Owens Valley (including notes and an outline for his unpublished manuscript on the Owens Valley controversy), the Los Angeles Aqueduct, Boulder Dam, San Gabriel Dam, sea water conversion, California water problems, the Feather River Project, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California,the Colorado River, etc.

    Collection Arrangement

    The collection is arranged into six series as follows:
    • Series 1. Water Frauds, 1903-1931
    • Series 2. Forks Site Project, San Gabriel River, 1927-1955
    • Series 3. Sea Water Conversion, 1948-1961
    • Series 4. Feather River Project, 1959-1961
    • Series 5. California Water Problems, 1937-1962
    • Series 6. Miscellaneous, 1957-1961

    Related Collections

    Andrae B. Nordskog Papers, 1906-1986. California State University, Northridge. 15 lin. ft. (33 boxes). Summary: Articles, booklets, correspondence, news clippings, statements, speeches, and writings related to Nordskog's interest and activity on public utilities, music, transportation, California water issues, Federal Reserve Banks, and electoral college reform.
    Andrae B. Nordskog Papers, 1919-1964. Minnesota Historical Society. 1.25 cu. ft. (2 boxes, and 1 v. shelved loose). Summary: Correspondence, clippings, printed items, and miscellany reflecting Nordskog's varied career and interests, primarily in California. There are data on his career as a concert artist and music instructor; the operation (1921-1960) of his Nordskog Phonograph Recording Company, Los Angeles; plans to abolish the electoral college system in electing U.S. presidents (1931-1961); Nordskog's candidacy for U.S. vice-president on the Liberty Party ticket (1931-1932); banking and monetary reform, especially Nordskog's lawsuit (1933-1934) against the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco to release gold deposited there; telephone rates and franchises in southern California (1925-1958); his service (1924-1926) as chairman of the Southern California Rate and Traffic Commission; and provisions for an adequate water supply for Los Angeles (1928-1961) stemming from his presidency of the Southwest Water League. Includes manuscripts Boulder Dam in the Light of the Owens Valley Fraudand Water is Plentiful.

    Indexing Terms

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


    Boulder Canyon Project (U.S.)
    Feather River Project (Calif.)
    Fox, Charles Kirby, 1883-
    Jakobsen, B. F. (Bernhard F.)
    Los Angeles County Flood Control District (Calif.)
    Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Calif.)
    Southwest Water League
    Colorado River (Colo.-Mexico)
    Los Angeles Aqueduct (Calif.)
    Owens Valley (Calif.)
    Saline water conversion
    San Gabriel Dam (Calif.)
    Water resources development -- California, Southern
    Water rights -- California -- Owens River Valley
    Water-supply -- California -- Los Angeles

    Genres and Forms of Materials

    Clippings (information artifacts)