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Papers of Charles A. Lory

Identifier: UCAL

Scope and Contents

The Papers of Charles A. Lory consists of documents dated 1849 to 1978, with the bulk falling from 1921 to 1962. The collection consists of professional papers, including a small amount of presidential records from Lory's tenure at C.A.C. and professional letters and correspondence. The bulk of the collection is the personal papers of Charles Lory and his immediate family, including his wife Carrie and children Marion, Earl, Anna, and Arthur. There are also materials from the extended Lory family, including his father Chris and sisters Clara Gause and Mary Koening, as well as Carrie's sister Jennie Richards. Materials include correspondence and letters, diaries and day planners, insurance policies, committee minutes from organizations outside of C.A.C., newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, photographs, and awards.


  • Creation: 1849-1978
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1921-1962


Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection. However, this collection is stored off-site, so advance notice is required.

Restrictions on Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


Charles A. Lory was a professor of electrical engineering and the fifth president of Colorado Agricultural College (now Colorado State University). During his almost 40 years as president, Lory oversaw the expansion of campus, creation of new departments such as entomology, forestry, horticulture, and veterinary pathology, and created a uniform budget system for the college.

Charles Alfred Lory was born in Sardis, Ohio on September 25, 1872, to Chris and Ida (Stauffer) Lory. The family moved to Colorado in 1888 and settled on a farm near Windsor. Unlike the family farm in Ohio, the property in Windsor was in a semi-arid area, and short of water. With their neighbors, the Lory family worked to construct an irrigation ditch to bring water to the land. Charles Lory completed much of the work on the ditch, and after, he continued to work in irrigation engineering. In 1893 he was appointed as superintendent of the Hillsboro Canal which brought water to the Johnstown area east of Loveland, and in 1894 did similar work for the Big Cut Lateral and Reservoir Company. Even though he developed an extensive agricultural and irrigation background, Lory wished to become a teacher, and enrolled at the Colorado State Normal School (now University of Northern Colorado) in Greeley in 1895, graduating with a bachelor of pedagogy in 1898. To pay for his studies, Lory continued to work as a 'ditch rider.'

To gain a practical background in the sciences, Lory continued his education at the University of Colorado, studying mathematics, physics, and electrical engineering, and earning his B.S. in 1901 and M.S. in 1902. After graduating in 1902, Lory went to Cripple Creek, Colorado, and spent two years as principal of the local high school. He married Carrie Louise Richards on June 8, 1904, and had three children, Marion, Earl, and Anna, and one foster son, Arthur Moinat.

In 1904 he returned to the University of Colorado as an acting professor of physics and in 1905 he came to the Colorado Agricultural College (now Colorado State University) as professor of physics. He became professor of electrical engineering in 1907, and in 1909 was appointed as the fifth president of the Colorado Agricultural College.

Lory believed that the purpose of the state-supported land-grant institution was to offer a balanced curriculum in the professional programs, such as agriculture, engineering, veterinary medicine, and home economics, with the liberal arts serving a subordinate role in students' education. Unlike his predecessors, Lory's background was not in religion, but he still felt there was a role in higher education to develop students' moral values, and his strong support of in loco parentis was an example of this philosophy.

During the early days of Lory's tenure as president, changes were made in the administrative arrangement of the college. As the college continued to grow, it was no longer possible to gather input from the entire faculty, as well as the president, before decisions could be made. Various standing faculty committees had been established over time to give feedback, but because of difficulty in scheduling regular meetings these committees disbanded, and a small Executive Committee of the State Board of Agriculture (now the Board of Governors) took their place. These changes allowed for this single committee along with the president's office to make the majority of the policy decisions that effected the business matters of the college. Over time, this arrangement left the faculty with little say on matters such as salary, student groups, and the hiring, responsibilities, and retention of new junior faculty.

One of Lory's goals was for C.A.C. to serve all of Colorado. Since the college's reputation had suffered under the previous administration, Lory took many steps to increase access to campus and traveled extensively around the state to bring his message directly to citizens and organizations. He assisted in creating the Colorado Farmers Congress, a group of leading agriculturalists, which met yearly on the Fort Collins campus for almost 25 years and he routinely invited state legislators to visit the campus. He also included undergraduate students and faculty on his traveling demonstration trains, allowing them to give firsthand accounts of courses of study and campus activities to future students.

To create a more balanced funding system and to try to eliminate the college's debt, Lory established a uniform budget system, requiring departments to create and submit annual budgets and reports of expenditures. This led to the ability to break down how much it would cost to educate a student in a particular field of study. Lory's approach attracted national attention and was positively viewed by the state legislature, who approved the majority of funding for the college. With an increase in funding for new buildings by the legislature in 1917 and Lory's uniformed budget system, by 1919 the college was no longer in debt.

During Lory's tenure, agriculture and veterinary medicine began to become more focused on individual disciplines, with new departments being established and additional faculty being hired in such areas as entomology, forestry, horticulture, and veterinary pathology. Many of these staff held dual state appointments and worked closely with government agencies to help educate leaders in their respective fields.

Significant additions to the college during Lory's presidency include the School of Agriculture (1909), the Fort Lewis School (1911), Pingree Park (1912), the summer session (1913), the Extension Service (1914), a coordinated campus master plan for adding buildings around the oval (1918), and the construction of the first student center (1935). The current student center, originally opened in 1962, is named in honor of Lory.

By 1933, dissatisfaction on how the college was being run led to changes to eliminate the almost total control by the Executive Committee. Membership on the committee was increased from three to five, monthly meetings were eliminated, and the entire State Board of Agriculture was more involved in decisions regarding the college. The overall organization of the college was also drastically altered with the establishment of five major divisions, each being under the direction of a dean. Some administrative decisions that had been the purview of the president for so many years were now assigned to the deans, establishing a wider distribution of power, and greater debate on college matters. These changes culminated in the forced retirement and demotion of some long-term faculty in the early part of 1938. Many of these faculty members had been with the college for most or all of Lory's tenure, and this action was seen as a backlash to Lory's unchanging management style. In April 1938, he notified the Board that he wished to retire upon reaching the age of 68. Charles Lory officially retired as president emeritus on September 25, 1940.

Lory was involved with many organizations outside of the college, most of which focused on water use, agriculture, and higher education, including membership and leadership positions in the Masons, the Fort Collins Rotary Club, the National Resources Planning Board, the Association of Western Agricultural Colleges, the Association of Land Grant Colleges and Universities, the Association of Colorado State Institutions of Higher Education, the Colorado Education Association, the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, the Northern Colorado Water Conserancy District, the State Council of Defense, the President's Association, and head of the commission that led to the Reclamation Project Act of 1939. Charles A. Lory died on December 30, 1969.


59 linear feet (26 record cartons, 17 flat boxes)

Language of Materials



Charles A. Lory (1872-1969) was a professor of electrical engineering and the fifth president of Colorado Agricultural College (now Colorado State University). The collection contains both personal and professional papers and includes correspondence and letters, diaries and day planners, financial records, flyers, committee minutes, newspaper clippings, and photographs.


The collection consists of 9 series in 26 record cartons and 17 flat boxes:

Series 1: Presidential records, 1877-1941, 1953 and undated

Series 2: Professional correspondence and letters, 1888-1964 and undated

Series 3: Personal and family letters, 1849-1964 and undated

Subseries 3.1: General letters, 1849-1964 and undated

Subseries 3.2: Sympathy cards and letters, miscellaneous cards, and announcements, 1911-1963

Subseries 3.3: Letters from family and friends, 1917-1964 and undated

Subseries 3.4: Birthday and Christmas cards, circa 1940s-1960s

Series 4: Diaries, notebooks, guest books, and address books, 1898-1978 and undated

Subseries 4.1: Diaries and day planners, 1898-1978

Subseries 4.2: Guest and address books, 1920-1960s

Subseries 4.3: Miscellaneous, 1898-1947 and undated

Series 5: Financial records, 1881-1963 and undated

Series 6: Professional activities, organizations, and interests, 1896-1963 and undated

Subseries 6.1: Colorado Agricultural College/Colorado A & M, 1908-1963

Subseries 6.2: Colorado Water Conservation Board, 1922-1963

Subseries 6.3: Merit System Committee, 1939-1962

Subseries 6.4: Miscellaneous organizations and interests, 1896-1963 and undated

Subseries 6.5: National Reclamation Association, 1933-1959 and undated

Subseries 6.6: National Resources Planning Board, 1921-1922, 1938-1943

Subseries 6.7: Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, 1937-1962

Subseries 6.8: Publications, 1905-1962 and undated

Series 7: Newspaper clippings and scrapbooks, 1914-1962 and undated

Series 8: Photographs, circa 1870s-1960s and undated

Series 9: Awards and miscellany, 1902-1979 and undated

Custodial History

The collection was originally gathered from Charles Lory's home in Estes Park in the late 1960s by an officer of the First National Bank Trust.


The Papers of Charles A. Lory was donated by Earl C. Lory on May 17, 1978. An additional donation of a photo album was received in July 2010.

Online Materials

Some materials have been scanned and are available through the Colorado State University Libraries website. In the electronic version of this document, direct links appear in context.

Related Collections

Records of the Office of the President, University Archive, Colorado State University.


Processing was completed in January 2015. Upon receipt of the boxes by the University Archive in 1978 it was found that the collection was not packed in any logical order. Staff sorted the materials into general categories. The collection has been used multiple times as a teaching collection for a graduate school history course which has led to lists being created for the photographs, financial records, maps and blueprints, and a detailed guide of names and subjects to the correspondence and presidency materials. These lists can be found in the collection's administration file. Two copies of the detailed guide can be found in Box 23, folder 10. The lists created previously may not match the current organization of the collection, as the materials were left mostly unfoldered and unorganized even after the lists were created. Materials have now been placed in acid-free folders and boxes.

Materials removed from the papers include more than two of any publication, road maps and advertisements, miscellaneous publications not related to Lory's activities and interests, and publications already held by the Morgan Library at Colorado State University. The birthday and Christmas cards were sampled. Some books and publications were transferred to other library holdings at CSU, including the Water Resources Archive and Special Collections. A few larger photographs and certificates were found rolled and have been left this way because of their fragility.

Inventory Note

Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed.

Guide to the Papers of Charles A. Lory
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Karen Spilman
Copyright 2015
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA