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Papers of Daniel Tyler

Identifier: WDTP

Scope and Contents

The Papers of Daniel Tyler consists of documents dated 1950 to 2011, with the bulk falling from 1985 to 2010. The collection primarily contains research files, notes, correpondence, and writings related to Tyler's biography of W.D. Farr, biography of Delph Carpenter, and book of Carpenter's parents' letters. Along with the individuals and their families, the collection documents issues related to interstate river compacts, water law, cattle, Greeley, and marriage. Also included in the collection are microfilm reels of New Mexico land grant documents as well as Tyler's research for several related court cases. A small set of interview transcripts related to Navajo livestock and stockman Tom Allen is also present.


  • Creation: 1950-2011
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1985-2010


Restrictions on Access

Confidential and attorney-client privileged documents in Series 5 are restricted from public access for fifty years from date of creation. Until then, such documents can only be viewed by the clients involved or with written permission of the clients. The collection is stored off-site, so advance notice is recommended.

Restrictions on Use

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


Daniel Tyler, emeritus professor of history at Colorado State University, has taught and written extensively about western water history. His biographies of Delph Carpenter and W.D. Farr are significant contributions to the understanding of two prominent people who influenced western water development.

Daniel Tyler was born in 1933 in Pennsylvania and moved with his family to a ranch in Carbondale, Colorado, when he was a boy. His education included a bachelor's degree from Harvard (1955), a master's from Colorado State University (CSU; 1967), and a Ph.D. in history from the University of New Mexico (1970). After earning his Ph.D., Tyler returned to CSU as a history professor with an emphasis on the American West and water issues until his retirement in 1999. He had Fulbright appointments to Mexico (1974-1976) and Argentina (1979).

Tyler's dissertation and early research focused on New Mexican history. Beginning in 1987, Tyler wrote the history of the Colorado-Big Thompson transmountain diversion project, published as The Last Water Hole in the West: The Colorado-Big Thompson Project and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District in 1992. His biography of Delph Carpenter, Silver Fox of the Rockies: Delphus E. Carpenter and Western Water Compacts(2003), describes the origin of interstate river compacts and the critical role they played in western history. Tyler also compiled and edited the courtship correspondence of Carpenter's parents in Love in an Envelope: A Courtship in the American West (2008).

Tyler followed this with a biography of William Daven "W.D." Farr, a water pioneer, cattleman, and businessman from Greeley, Colorado. Mr. Farr served on Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District's board and the Greeley Water Board for forty years and was extensively involved in other water and agricultural organizations. Tyler's biography of him is entitled W.D. Farr: Cowboy in the Boardroom (2011).

Tyler is divorced and has five children. He lives near Denver, Colorado.


21.5 linear feet (14 record cartons, 1 document box)

Language of Materials



Daniel Tyler (b. 1933), emeritus professor of history at Colorado State University, has taught and written extensively on western water history. This collection documents his research, including that for the biography of W.D. Farr, a Greeley, Colorado, water pioneer, cattleman, and businessman; the biography of Delph Carpenter, a Greeley water lawyer and interstate river commissioner; a book of Carpenter's parents' courtship correspondence; and Mexican land grant rights in relation to New Mexico court cases. The collection contains Tyler's correspondence, notes, drafts, interview tapes, writings about and by his research subjects, and reference materials, as well as microfilm related to Tyler's research on Hispanic New Mexico. A portion of the collection is digitized and online.


The collection consists of 6 series in 15 boxes:

Series 1: Farr biography, 1950-2011 and undated

Series 2: New Mexico land grant microfilm, c. 1990

Series 3: Love in an Envelope, 1991-2009 and undated

Series 4: Carpenter biography, 1956, 1983-2008, and undated

Series 5: New Mexico land grant research, 1972-1995 and undated

Series 6: Navajo livestock interviews, 1968-1973


The Farr portion of the collection was donated by Dr. Tyler in October 2010, with one item added in March 2011. The microfilm portion was donated by him in 1993. The Carpenter portions were donated by him in September 2016. Additional materials, forming Series 5 and 6 and supplementing Series 1 and 4, were donated by him in September 2017.

Online Materials

Three tapes have been digitized and are available through the Colorado State University Libraries website. In the electronic version of this document, a direct link appears in context.

Related Collections

The Water Resources Archive holds the Papers of W. D. Farr and the Papers of Delph E. Carpenter and Family. The University of New Mexico has the American Indian Oral History Collection, which contains the Navajo-related interviews Tyler conducted.


Work on the original portion of the collection was completed in March 2011. Metal clips were removed and replaced with plastic clips as necessary. Materials were rehoused in acid-free folders and boxes. DVDs were housed in archival cases and microcassette tapes were organized alphabetically in small boxes. Two sealed commercial CDs were discarded. Documents printed on the back of Tyler's personal financial papers were photocopied and the originals were removed. Work on the 2016 addition was completed in June 2017. Similar actions were taken, with the exception of rehousing materials in acid-free folders unless they were loose. Photographs were sleeved. Also, documents originally from the Papers of Delph E. Carpenter and Family, which Tyler used before it was housed at the Water Resources Archive, were extracted and discarded if duplicates or otherwise returned to the Carpenter collection. Folders of photocopies and internet printouts that had no or minor annotations by Tyler were discarded, as were the final draft, the publisher's edited draft, and the author's copy for proofing of Silver Fox. Additionally, CDs from other archives and most disks and CDs from the publisher were discarded. A small set of documents related to Tyler's work for the City of Sterling which were marked confidential or attorney work product was also removed, as were a few financial forms with ID numbers. Work on the 2017 addition was completed in October 2018. Similar actions were taken. All Republican River research received was removed, with photocopies and notes discarded and Tyler's confidential report for the Colorado Attorney General sent to that office, along with associated memoranda.

Inventory Note

Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed. Estimated pagination is preceded by an "e."

Guide to the Papers of Daniel Tyler
Edited Full Draft
Prepared and revised by Patricia J. Rettig
Copyright 2018
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