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Papers of Raymond L. Anderson

Identifier: WRLA

Scope and Contents

The Papers of Raymond L. Anderson consists of documents dated 1950 to 2008, with the bulk falling from 1961 to 1984. The collection contains articles, books, and reports Anderson authored, along with some limited correspondence, lectures, and biographical materials. Among the research project files that Anderson saved, the set related to South Platte Basin irrigation companies is the largest. There are also published materials by other people and some USDA orthophotos of Weld, Larimer, and Arapahoe counties in Colorado. Subject coverage across the collection focuses on the economics of agricultural water, rural land use, urbanization, and agriculture-to-urban water transfer.


  • Creation: 1950-2008
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1961-1984


Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection. However, it is stored off-site, so advance notice is required. All "confidential" markings on correspondence or other materials have been determined to be for administrative purposes, not national security information; therefore, these materials are open for access.

Restrictions on Use

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


Natural resource economist Ray Anderson spent nearly three decades working jointly for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service and Colorado State University (CSU). He focused on irrigated agriculture and the associated organizations and issues arising in modern contexts. His most noted work, co-authored with Harvard government professor Arthur Maass, ...and the Desert Shall Rejoice: Conflict, Growth, and Justice in Arid Environments (1978) examined irrigation communities in southeastern Spain and the western United States.

Raymond Lloyd Anderson was born in 1927 in Beloit, Wisconsin, and his family later moved to a farm in Wilmot, South Dakota. After graduating from high school, he served in the Army Air Corps from 1946 to 1947. After his discharge, he attended the University of Minnesota where he earned a B.S. in agricultural economics and plant sciences (1951) and an M.S. in agricultural economics (1954). His career with the USDA began in Bozeman, Montana, and continued in Madison, Wisconsin, while earning his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in economics and resource economics (1959). Anderson married Betty Echegon in 1952, and they moved to Fort Collins, Colorado, in 1959.

In Fort Collins, Anderson worked as a resource economist for the USDA, Economic Research Service from 1959 until his retirement in 1985. This was a joint appointment with CSU as a professor affiliate in the Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics Department. In this dual role, he performed research and taught graduate classes.

Anderson studied water economics across the western United States as well as in Spain, the Middle East, and China. His research focused on the economic use of water by agriculture, urban growth -- including the conversion of agricultural water to urban and industrial uses -- and irrigation companies. Throughout his career, Anderson was active in a number of professional organizations and also served on the Fort Collins Water Board.

Following retirement, Anderson continued with some consulting work and in 1989 joined the University of New England in Armidale, Australia, in a six-month research position. Anderson passed away on June 3, 2018, in Fort Collins. Anderson and his wife, Betty, had three children, Geoffrey, Jennifer, and Jeremy.


6 linear feet (4 record cartons, 1 bag)

Language of Materials


Spanish; Castilian


Natural resource economist Raymond L. Anderson (1927-2018) spent nearly three decades working jointly for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service and Colorado State University (CSU). He focused on irrigated agriculture and the associated organizations and issues arising in modern contexts. The collection contains biographical material, correspondence, publications, and data.


The collection had little organization to it upon acquisition. The original two donations were sorted and integrated to make three series of associated materials.

The collection consists of 3 series in 4 boxes and 1 bag:

Series 1: Personnel and correspondence files, 1963-2007 and undated

Series 2: Research and publications, 1950-2008 and undated

Subseries 2.1: By Anderson, 1956-2008 and undated

Subseries 2.2: Research files, 1950-2003 and undated

Series 3: Publications by others, 1942-1984, 2007 and undated


The Papers of Raymond L. Anderson was donated to the Water Resources Archive by Raymond Anderson in April 2015, with additions from daughter Jennifer Anderson in September 2018 and June 2019.

Related Collections

Collections of fellow economists in the Water Resources Archive include the Papers of Charles W. Howe and the Papers of Robert A. Young.


Processing was completed in December 2018. Paper clips and duplicate copies were removed, as were common government documents not by Anderson. Materials were rearranged by groupings into alphabetical order. Loose papers and materials in binders were inserted in acid-free folders, and the collection was rehoused in acid-free boxes. A few books were removed, cataloged, and added to Special Collections, and all of the rolled maps were discarded. An addition to the collection was proceesed in July 2019.

Inventory Note

Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed. Estimated paginationis preceded by an "e." Two identical copies of the same item are indicated by thephrase "2 copies" at the end of the entry, following the number of pages of eachcopy. Authored articles, books, and studies are listed in bibliographic form.

Guide to Papers of Raymond L. Anderson
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Patricia J. Rettig and Demi R. Ball
Copyright 2019
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