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HIST 408J: Global Water in the Modern Era: Capitalism, State Power, and Environmental Crises: Archives in the Yale Library: February 10, 2022 session

Archives in the Yale Library

This session will be held in the Gates Classroom in Sterling Memorial Library on Thursday, February 10, 2022. Directions to the Gates Classroom can be found here.

The Yale Library has seven different special collections units, all of which hold archival collections in addition to rare and unique books and other published materials. Materials used in today's class session are from Manuscripts and Archives in Sterling Memorial Library. Feel free to contact Josh Cochran, if you have questions about finding and using materials in Manuscripts and Archives or other Yale Library special collections.

  • The Guide to Using Special Collections at Yale University is a great introduction to finding and using special collections and archives held at Yale for your research projects. 
  • The Archives at Yale database searches guides to over 8,000 archival collections held within Yale's special collections. You use this database to find and request boxes from archival collections, that you will then use in the relevant special collections reading room. Special collections materials, including archives, cannot be checked out.
  • The Primary Sources at Yale website is a great resource if you're not sure what types of materials might serve as primary sources for your research project. Be aware that archives and special collections are often not where you'll find the primary sources you need!
  • MSSA Researcher Information has information on how to register and make reservations to conduct research in the research room

The entries on the rest of this page are linked to materials from Yale archival holdings used during the sessions. The materials are intended to give you an idea of the type primary sources used in historical research and consider the benefits and limitations of what they reveal. Some questions to keep in mind when working with archival materials are:

  1. Who created this archival collection, when were the materials in it created, where were they created? 
  2. What is going on? What is the context for the document(s) you looked at?
  3. Who is the intended audience for these documents? Why was this documented created?
  4. Whose perspective(s) comes through in the document(s)? Whose doesn’t?
  5. What can you know based on the sources you have in front of you? What do you not know?
  6. What questions do the sources raise that could lead you to further research?
  7. Did anything surprise you when looking at the folders in your collection?

Collections Used in the 2/10/2022 Class Session at MSSA

Collections (and link to finding aid) Box(es) Description
Urban Water Systems    
Stephen Kellert Papers (MS 2104), Series II 6; 9 Contains folders on the study of Lake Whitney in Hamden, CT and the local water system
Chester Bowles Papers (MS 628), Series Part II, II 53-54 Folders on water issues in New England and political appointments to water related boards and commissions in Connecticut in the 1940s and 1950s
Natural Resources Defense Council (MS 1965), Series Accession 2016-M-0054 10 Urban environment drinking water, 1991-1998
John Vliet Lindsay Papers (MS 592), Record Group II, Series VI 103 Material on water shortage, pollution in New York City,
John Vliet Lindsay Papers (MS 592), Record Group II, Series XVI 351 Folders on NYC water supply, protections, and pollution.
American West    
William Kent Family (MS 309), Series III 66-71  Water power, especially federal efforts and damming of Hetch Valley in Yosemite National Park, circa 1905-1930s.
Francis Griffith Newlands (MS 371), Series II 62-63; 70-73 Boxes 62-63 concern irrigation issues in the west from, 1890-1915; Boxes 70-74 have material on waterways, 1898-1915
Natural Resources Defense Council (MS 1965), Series accession 2018-M-0052 5 Water and coastal: Western Water, 1995-2000 and files on the Clean Water Act, 1995-1996
Natural Resources Defense Council (MS 1965), Series accession 2018-M-0054 11 Western water memos and correspondence, 1992-1998
Global Hydraulic Power/Dams    

Chester Bowles Papers (MS 628), Series Part VII, III

343; 360 Shavathi Dam (343); Water and water power in India (360)
Chester Bowles Papers (MS 628), Series Part III, II 104 Bhankra-Nangal Dam Project, 1952
Chester Bowles Papers (MS 628), Series Part VII, II 340 Shavathi Dam, Mysore, March 1968
Douglas Ensminger Papers (MS 1315), Series accession 1983-M-011 2 Ford Foundation unpublished reports and memos on water use and development in India ca. 1970s.
Ogden Rogers Reid Papers (MS 755), Record Group Part IV, Series VIII 218 Folder on the Jordan Water Project
George A. Dudley Papers (MS 1861), Series Accession 2006-M-026 15 Notes and materials on the Abu Nuwas Dam project in Iraq.


Additional archival resources on water at Yale Special Collections

The collections listed above and used in the class session represent only a small portion of the material on water related topics at Yale Special Collections. Many of the these collections have additional items and materials on the subject of water and its intersection with a variety of topics including technology, international relations, legal issues, legislation, development, urban systems, and environmentalism. The Natural Resources Defense Council Records, Chester Bowles Papers, John V. Lindsay Papers, Edward J. Logue, Ogden Rogers Reid Papers, and the William Kent Family Papers have primary source coverage of these papers. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Josh Cochran or Bill Landis at MSSA for information about these and other sources at Yale Archives.