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Papers of James E. Hansen II

Identifier: UJEH

Scope and Contents

The Papers of James E. Hansen II consist of materials dated 1920 to 2018. Most concern CSU History. Material types include CDs, cassette tapes, working/research files and publications, flash drives, professional papers, teaching materials, and other documents related to Hansen's life and career.


  • Creation: 1920-2018


Conditions Governing Access

This collection contains confidential materials, including graded student papers, employee search committee materials, student reviews of professors, and social security numbers. The majority of these materials are located in the first eight boxes. While restricted folders have been noted in this inventory with “RESTRICTED”, until the collection is processed thoroughly, each folder must be checked by a staff member before permitting access to patrons. Access to student information is open only to the student in question and to Colorado State University employees; however, access to others will be granted upon having written consent from the student or providing written proof that the student is deceased.

Conditions Governing Use

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


James Hansen is Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at Colorado State University (CSU). An expert on university history, Hansen established the University Archives and wrote several books on the history of CSU and Colorado, established the Colorado Agricultural Archives at CSU, and assisted in the creation of CSU's public history master's degree program. James E. Hansen II was born in 1938. He earned a B.A. in History from Middlebury College in Vermont in 1960, and he obtained a Ph.D. in history from the University of Denver in 1968.

Hansen’s work in the complementary disciplines of history and archival science overlapped throughout his career. Hansen began teaching history courses at Colorado State University in 1966 while still in graduate school. In 1968, CSU made Hansen’s position permanent and tasked him with writing the history of the university. He completed Democracy’s College in the Centennial State: a History of CSU in 1977. Hansen also assembled materials needed to write the book in a temporary space in Morgan Library provided by Director of Libraries LeMoyne Anderson. This lead to the creation of the Colorado State University Archives on July 1, 1975. In 1975, Hansen lead a graduate seminar in archival science, and in 1977, the department’s new public history graduate program added a concentration in archival and records management to its offerings. In 1977, Hansen was appointed to the Colorado State Historical Records Advisory Board (CHRAB), a position he held for more than 30 years. In 1981, through a series of grants, Hansen established the Colorado Agricultural Archives (now the Agricultural and Natural Resources Archives) at CSU. Hansen was also a charter member of the Academy of Certified Archivists.

Hansen has written numerous books and articles. In addition to Democracy’s College, Hansen authored other books and articles about the history of Colorado State University, such as Democracy's University: a History of Colorado State University, 1970-2003 (2007) and CSU's Sense of Place: a Campus History of Colorado's Land-Grant University (2018). He authored or coauthored histories of organizations associated with CSU, including CSU’s Graduate School, College of Engineering, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Cooperative Extension, and Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station. He also wrote histories of organizations beyond CSU, such as the Water Supply and Storage Company and the American Public Works Association.

Hansen retired from teaching in 2001 and became Professor Emeritus in 2002. He has received several awards, including the Oliver P. Pennock Award (1996) and the CSU Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award (2001).


33 linear feet (22 record cartons, 5 oversize charts)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Dr. James E. Hansen II donated sixteen boxes in 2007, 5 boxes in 2010, and 3 boxes in 2019.

Related Materials

The Papers of James E. Hansen II is related to many collections in the University Archives and Special Collections due to Hansen's involvement in the Archives' creation and use of archival collections for his books. The Oral History Tapes contain oral history interviews and transcripts that Hansen used to research and write several books and papers, including Democracy's University: a History of Colorado State University, 1970-2003. Hansen's collected notes and drafts used to write a history of Colorado Agricultural College President Charles Lory reference materials in the Papers of Charles A. Lory.

Separated Materials

Cassette tapes, transcripts, and associated paperwork for oral histories Hansen collected for Democracy's University: a History of Colorado State University, 1970-2003 were transferred to the Oral History Tapes collection in the University Archive and housed with Hansen's other collected oral histories. Three boxes of materials related to CSU Extension were transferred to the Records of the Colorado Cooperative Extension.


A preliminary inventory for the collection is available as a PDF. See the External Documents section.

Guide to the Papers of James E. Hansen II
Clarissa J. Trapp
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