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Records of the College of Engineering

Identifier: UENG

Scope and Contents

The Records of the College of Engineering consists of documents dated 1889 to 2011, with the bulk falling from 1889 to 1940. The collection includes letters and correspondence of Louis G. Carpenter and E.B. House, brochures and information on the college and its faculty, class materials and laboratory experiments, and photographs and albums. There are very few materials documenting the college after 1940. Publications not relating to the college or its faculty were removed from the collection.


  • Creation: 1889-2011
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1889-1940


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.


The Colorado Agricultural College (now Colorado State University) began offering classes in 1879, providing a single course of study for all students. Ainsworth Blount was appointed as professor of practical agriculture and the mechanical arts. In 1882, the department of mechanics and drawing was created at the request of incoming college president Charles Ingersoll. Frank H. Williams was hired to staff the department which he focused on the care of farm machinery. Williams was replaced by James W. Lawrence in 1883. A Hall of Mechanical Arts was opened in 1883 that housed a mechanics shop with facilities for wood and iron working.

In 1883, Elwood Mead joined the faculty and proposed a two-term course in irrigation engineering, the first in the country, which would later expand to a four course elective series. In 1886, the State Board of Agriculture (now the State Board of Governors) established a chair of physics and irrigation engineering, appointing Elwood Mead to the position. In 1889, Arthur L. Davis earned the first undergraduate engineering degree from the college.

Elwood Mead left CAC in 1888, and Louis G. Carpenter was appointed as head of physics and irrigation engineering. The first hydraulics lab on campus was built in the basement of Spruce Hall in 1893. In 1895, the irrigation engineering course was renamed civil and irrigation engineering and the department of mechanics and drawing became the department of mechanical engineering. Electrical engineering was added to the curriculum in 1903, but was dropped in 1905. After a student petition, electrical engineering was reinstated in 1907 with Charles Lory serving as professor. Ralph Parshall joined the staff of civil and irrigation engineering in 1907. The Department of Electrical Engineering awarded its first degrees in 1910.

In 1911, Edward B. House replaced Louis Carpenter as professor and head of civil and irrigation engineering. Ralph Parshall and Victor Cone designed the hydraulics laboratory for the USDA Office of Irrigation Investigations on the main campus in 1912. CAC underwent a college wide reorganization to group programs into divisions during the 1933-1934 academic year. The Division of Engineering was established with Edward B. House as dean. In 1938, Nephi A. Christensen became dean of engineering and began building a graduate research program in hydraulics and irrigation engineering. The State Board of Agriculture approved a doctorate degree in civil engineering in 1951, and three years later allowed other qualified departments to offer the advanced degree. A.R. Chamberlain, future president of the college, earned the college's first doctorate in 1955 in civil engineering.

In 1957, the college was renamed Colorado State University and the Division of Engineering became the College of Engineering. The Department of Agricultural Engineering was established in 1958 and the Department of Atmospheric Science in 1962. New centers and programs were created including the Engineering Research Center (1963), the Colorado Water Resources Research Institute (1964), the Solar Energy Applications Laboratory (1972), the Colorado Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (1980), the Center for Computer Assisted Engineering (1982), the Center for Geosciences (1986), and the Manufacturing Excellence Center (1988).

Currently, the College of Engineering is comprised of nine departments and programs: Atmospheric Science; Chemical and Biological Engineering; Civil and Environmental Engineering; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Systems Engineering; Advanced Materials Discovery; Biomedical Engineering; and the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA). The College's mission is to serve society by developing solutions to global issues that affect us all. Finding solutions in energy, human health, the environment, and world water needs; developing new technologies and systems; and generating new knowledge, the College provides purpose and an excellent education for students who want to change the world.


15 linear feet (9 record cartons, 1 flat box)

Language of Materials



The College of Engineering at Colorado State University has a long history in the study, research, and teaching of civil, electrical, hydraulic, mechanical, environmental, biomedical, and computer engineering. Currently the college offers nine bachelor's and eight advanced degree options. Materials in the collection include letters and correspondence of early college faculty Louis G. Carpenter and Edward B. House, photographs of campus labs as well as dam construction in Colorado and Australia, laboratory assignments, and collegiate and departmental records.


The collection consists of 4 series in 9 record cartons and 1 flat box:

Series 1: Letters and correspondence, 1889-1927

Subseries 1.1: Louis G. Carpenter letters and letterbooks, 1889-1899

Subseries 1.2: Edward B. House correspondence, 1916-1927

Series 2: College files and publications, 1898-2006 and undated

Series 3: Class materials, 1914-1957 and undated

Series 4: Photographs and photo albums, 1900-2011


The Records of the College of Engineering was acquired from various sources during the 1970s. Additional materials were transferred in 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2016.

Related Collections

The Water Resources Archive at Colorado State University holds a number of collections documenting water engineering at CSU, including the Papers of Louis G. Carpenter, Maurice L. Albertson, and Ralph L. Parshall, and the Records of the Colorado Water Resources Research Institute.


Processing was completed in December 2015. Materials were rehoused in acid-free boxes and folders.

Guide to the Records of the College of Engineering
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Karen Spilman; revised by Victoria Lopez-Terrill
Copyright 2016
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