Guide to the Edgar Ross Wells Papers 1921-1958
Cage 201

Summary Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Wells, Edgar Ross
Edgar Ross Wells Papers
Cage 201
Date [inclusive]
3000.0 items.
General Physical Description note
4 linear feet of shelf space.
Correspondence, minutes, reports, circulars, membership rosters, and working papers principally related to Wells' active role in several reclamation associations, including the National Reclamation and the Pacific Northwest Development Association, and which especially concern water-use policies, and controversies in the Pacific Northwest during the decade 1945-1955. The papers also reflect Wells' advocacy of the agricultural experiment stations of Washington State University, especially those programs concerned with poultry disease research.

Preferred Citation note

[Item Description]. Cage 201, Edgar Ross Wells Papers. Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

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Biographical/Historical note

Edgar Ross Wells was born in Ohio and came west in his youth. During the 1920s he established a hatchery known as "Henacres" at Prosser, Washington, adjacent to his fruit farm. In the later 1930s he became active in poultry and reclamation trade associations. His poultry interests involved him in the promotion of poultry disease research being conducted by Washington State University. Ultimately his lobbying efforts resulted in the creation of an University Experiment Station for poultry research at Prosser and an appointment to the University's Advisory Board for agricultural sciences. By 1952 he was a candidate for a regent's appointment, which he did not receive being unable to secure the favor of Governor Arthur Langlie. Wells' activities in reclamation associations also intensified in the 1940s and 1950s as he became an official of various regional reclamation organizations and a director of the National Reclamation Association. The major thrust of Wells' efforts in these organizations was to preserve the Columbia, Yakima and Snake River water resources for use in reclamation and irrigation, forestalling the efforts to develop electrical generating stations which would compete for utilization of the water of these rivers. He was also active in the Northwest, especially under the plan envisioned in the proposal for a Columbia Valley Authority. Due to increasing age and declining health, Wells curtailed his public activities in the later 1950s.

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Scope and Contents note

The papers of Edgar R. Wells at the Washington State University Library consist of the correspondence, reports, minutes, enclosures and related material which emanated from Wells' most active period as a public figure in reclamation and agricultural research.

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Arrangement note

The papers are arranged into five series. Three series are concerned with reclamation - National Reclamation Association, regional reclamation matters and reclamation politics. A fourth series consists of papers relating to Washington State University and the Washington State Poultry and Turkey Industry Disease Control Commission. The fifth series contains papers regarding irrigation and reclamation matters which concerned Wells as a water user or water district member.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries © 1974
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open for research use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The reclamation and agricultural research papers of Edgar R. Wells (b. 1883), a poultryman of Prosser, Washington, who was involved in several reclamation trade associations and in the promotion of agricultural research, especially at Washington State University, were donated to the Washington State University Library by Wells' son, Edward Wells in 1964.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • National Reclamation Association
  • Pacific Northwest Development Association
  • Washington State Reclamation Association
  • Washington State University. Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center

Personal Name(s)

  • Wells, Edgar Ross, 1883- --Archives


  • Agriculture
  • Irrigation
  • Poultry -- Diseases -- Research
  • Washington (State)
  • Water resources development -- Washington (State)

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Collection Inventory

Series 1: National Reclamation Association 

Scope and Contents note

Correspondence, reports, minutes, circulars, news letters and working papers relating principally to Wells' activities as a director and member of the resolutions and legislative committees of the National Reclamation Association. Materials relating to the political activities of the NRA and to NRA publicity efforts are also to be found among these papers.

Box Folder

Coles, LaSalle E. Correspondence with Oregon director of the National Reclamation Association 1953.   3

1 1

Legislative Committee. Correspondence, reports, enclosures, drafts of bills. Correspondents include NRA President C. P. Peterson, directors LaSalle Coles, Harry Polk and others. 1948-1956.   250

1 2-7

Long Beach Convention. Printed and mimeographed items relative to 1952 NRA meeting at Long Beach, Cal. 1952.   15

1 8

National Reclamation Association- General. Correspondence, mainly with NRA officers and executives; minutes, transcripts, and circulars 1950-1956.   250

2 9-15

Peterson, C. Petrus. Correspondence with NRA president 1950-1953.   30

2 16

Polk, Harry. Correspondence with NRA director from North Dakota, some of personal nature 1949-1957.   320

2 17-19

Portland Convention. Correspondence and printed materials relative to the 1954 NRA convention and 1954-1955 directors' meetings 1954-1955.   40

3 20

Publications of the National Reclamation Association. Four NRA circulars: Reclamation News, The NRA Legislative Digest, President's Letters, and Secretary Manager's Letters 1951-1955.   250

3 21-24

Resolutions of the National Reclamation Association. Resolutions adopted by the NRA 1955.   50

4 25

Resolutions Committee- Spokane. Correspondence, minutes, and adopted resolutions 1950.   35

4 26

Van Slyke, H. William. Correspondence relative to NRA Committee assignments 1950.   10

4 27

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Series 2: Northwestern Reclamation 

Scope and Contents note

Correspondence, reports, minutes, transcripts and working papers relating to a number of northwestern reclamation and water use organizations including the Washington State Reclamation Association, the Pacific Northwest Development Association, the Pacific Water Council and the Wahluke Slope Committee; and to a number of governmental and advisory bodies including the Bonneville Power Administration Advisory Council, The Columbia Basin Commission, the Columbia Interstate Compact and the Washington State Department of Resources; and to a number of individuals associated with reclamation in the northwest, including officials of several railroad and electric power companies. The major concerns reflected in the papers in this series are reclamation, irrigation and water use policies, principally for the Columbia and Snake rivers, electric power development on northwestern rivers and various proposals to unite northwestern water resource agencies, the most prominent proposal being the Columbia Valley Authority plan.

Box Folder

Bonneville Advisory Council. Correspondence, some with William Pearl, press releases, circulars (s.a. Raver, Paul.) 1952-1958.   20

4 28

Califormia Letters- Reclamation. Correspondence 1948-1952.   6

4 29

Columbia Basin Account. Correspondence and enclosures relative to a proposal to unite the Columbia water agencies. Correspondents include Arthur Langlie, Francis Case and Marshall Dana. 1951-1952.   30

4 30

Columbia Basin Commission. Correspondence with officials of the Commission, a Washington State agency, and with other Washington State agencies, and with Arthur Langlie 1949-1954.   30

4 31

Columbia Basin Development Bill. Correspondence, enclosures, and statements, including Wells' statement in opposition to the Columbia Valley Authority, relative to legislation involving Columbia Basin Project funding 1949-1952.   20

4 32

Dana, Marshall. Correspondence with Dana, a Portland, Ore., newsman, civic leader, exponent of water resource development and past president of the National Reclamation Association 1951-1956.   20

4 33

Haw, John. Correspondence with the agricultural and land development agent of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company 1949-1958.   100

4 34-35

Hells Canyon. Letter and packet of materials from Idaho Power Company explaining its position on dams in Hells Canyon 1951-1952.   15

5 36

Interstate Compact. Correspondence primarily with Washington State conservation and resources agencies 1952-1954.   30

5 37

Jordan, Len. Correspondence with Idaho Governor Len Jordan's assistant relative to Hells Canyon 1951-1952.   15

5 38

Oregon Letters- Reclamation. Correspondence, mainly with Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railroad Company officials 1951-1953.   10

5 39

Pacific Northwest Development Association. Correspondence, mainly with Daniel Noble (s.a. Washington State Development Association) 1953-1956. 

5 40

Pacific Water Council. Correspondence and minutes relative to formation of new organization 1952-53.   3

10 41

Public Utility District and Pacific Power and Light Company. Correspondence, circulars, election materials related to Public Utilities District election in Benton County 1946.   30

10 42-43

Raver, Paul. Correspondence, enclosures, minutes and transcripts of meetings of the Bonneville Advisory Council (s.a. Bonneville Advisory Council) 1947-1953.   120

10 44-46

Stapleton, W.P. Correspondence with Northern Pacific Railroad Company official relative to reclamation organizations 1949-1955.   30

10 47

Wahluke Slope Committee. Correspondence and minutes 1953.   5

10 48

Washington State Development Committee. Correspondence, working papers, membership lists, donation records (s.a. Pacific Northwest Development Association) 1950-1952.   90

6 49

Washington State Power Commission. Correspondence, copy of act creating commission 1953.   2

6 50

Washington State Reclamation Association. Correspondence, minutes, membership lists, statements and resolutions. Correspondents include S. I. Olson, Harold Stassen, Lew Garbutt and Loren Markham 1949-1956.   175

6 51-52

Washington Water Power Company. Correspondence with A. G. Meyer, Kinsey Robinson, C. Rea Moore relative to reclamation organizations 1949-1953.   20

6 53

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Series 3: Political 

Scope and Contents note

Correspondence and reports relative to water policies of the Truman and Eisenhower administrations, to reclamation-related legislation before the United States Congress, to appointments in the Eisenhower administration, especially that of Secretary of Interior Douglas McKay, and to the President's Water Resources Policy Commission.

Box Folder

Bills- Congress. Copies of bills relating to water resources and reclamation 1953-1954.   15

6 54

McKay, Douglas. Correspondence relative to McKay's appointment as Secretary of Interior; statements by McKay 1952-1953.   20

6 55

Rising, E.W. (National Water Conservation). Letter and report relative to water conservation lobby 1953.   2

6 56

Sawyer, Ken (Farmers' Home Administration). Correspondence relative to Sawyer's appointment as FHA Administrator 1954.   6

6 57

Truman, Harry. Copies of correspondence of Truman and Congressman Walter Norblad explaining Truman's views of the Columbia Valley Authority proposal 1950.   2

6 58

Water Resources Policies. Final reports, rebuttal statements, letter of explanation by Dwight Eisenhower relative to the President's Water Resources Policy Commission (s.a. Rising, E. W.) 1953.   15

6 59-60

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Series 4: Agricultural Research and Education 

Scope and Contents note

Correspondence, reports, clippings, circulars and working papers relating to Washington State University, especially to its branch experiment station at Prosser, Washington; to the appointments of university presidents Wilson Compton and C. Clement French; to Wells' membership on the Institute of Agricultural Sciences Advisory Board; also included are Wells' papers relating to the Washington State Poultry and Turkey Industry Disease Control Commission, a state agency which operated in close cooperation with Washington State University.

Box Folder

Compton, Wilson. Correspondence, clippings relative to agricultural research at Washington State University 1950-1952.   15

7 61

Experiment Station. Correspondence, enclosures mainly related to the organization, staffing and funding of the WSU Experiment Station at Prosser, Washington 1945-1954.   250

7 62-67

Frazier, Fred (Extension Service) Correspondence relative to poultry research 1943-1948.   10

7 68

French, C. Clement. Correspondence with French relative to his assumption of the Presidency of WSU 1952.   10

7 69

Washington State College (University) - General. Correspondence, memoranda relative to WSU, mainly to poultry research and to appointment of officials 1944-1957.   70

7 70

Washington State College (University) - Advisory Council. Correspondence, minutes, relating to the Institute of Agricultural Sciences Advisory Council, a board consisting mainly of farm and trade association representatives 1950-1952.   75

7 71-72

Washington State College (University) - Regent's Appointment. Correspondence relative to Wells' candidacy for a regent's post 1953.   30

7 73

Washington State Poultry and Turkey Industry Disease Control Commission. Correspondence, minutes relative to the commission and its efforts to encourage poultry disease research principally at Washington State University, and its efforts to control poultry disease epidemics, especially the Pullorum and Newcastle's Disease epidemics. 1944-1950.   250

8 74-76

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Series 5: Prosser Commercial Club 

Scope and Contents note

Correspondence and clippings relative to the activities of the Prosser Commercial Club, principally in its role as an exponent of reclamation and agricultural development of Central Washington.

Box Folder

Correspondence, clippings, enclosures relative to activities of the Prosser Commercial Club especially in the areas of agriculture and reclamation. Correspondents include Warren Magnuson, Harry Cain, Hal Holmes and officials of the Atomic Energy Commission, the Army Corps of Engineers and Washington State University. 1946-1956.   170

8 77-79

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Series 6: Personal Irrigation and Reclamation Interests 

Scope and Contents note

Correspondence, legal documents and receipts relating to Wells' property, water rights and activities as a member of the Sunnyside Valley and Roza Irrigation Districts.

Box Folder

Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District. Correspondence, legal documents, receipts relating to Wells' membership in the district and to the general operation of the district 1936-1950.   70

8 80

Roza Irrigation District. Correspondence relative to the operation of the district 1949.   10

8 81

E.R. Wells' Water Rights. Correspondence, relative to water rights on Wells' farm property ca 1921.   10

8 82

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