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Papers of David J. Miller

Identifier: WMIL

Scope and Contents

The Papers of David J. Miller consists of documents dated 1882 to 1986, with the bulk falling from 1930 to 1980. Materials include legal documents, court documents, financial documents, calendars and appointment books, and personal notes related to Miller's work as an attorney, which cover topics such as irrigation and water conservancy districts, management of water resources, and water law. Some non-water cases Miller worked on, such as an estate case, are included, as well as files related to Miller's land and agriculture investments. Also included are meeting minutes and agendas from organizations Miller was involved with and reference materials comprised of reports, publications, newsletters, and pamphlets related to both water and general law and rural utilities. Main geographic areas covered include the South Platte River Basin and Colorado's eastern plains. Other locations include the Missouri and Columbia River basins.


  • Creation: 1882 - 1986
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1930 - 1980


Restrictions on Access

Two files containing employee Social Security numbers are restricted for a period of 70 years after date of creation. All "confidential" markings on correspondence or other materials have been determined to be for administrative purposes; 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.


David J. Miller was a Greeley lawyer who practiced law for over 50 years before retiring in 1987. He was instrumental in the dissolution of several irrigation districts in Colorado.

Miller was born May 23, 1906, in Loveland, Colorado. He received his bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Colorado in 1929 and 1932. He was admitted to the Colorado Bar in 1933 and served as an attorney for the Federal Land Bank in Wichita and the Denver Joint Stock Land Bank before opening a law office in Greeley in 1939.

Though he worked as a general lawyer on a variety of cases, Miller had a particular interest in water law and irrigation cases. Over the years, Miller represented irrigation districts, water conservancy districts, ditch companies, and others in cases on water rights and distribution. From 1940 to 1952, he served as attorney for the Denver Greeley Valley Irrigation District, the first irrigation district to be dissolved under a 1941 Colorado law which established a new procedure for dissolutions.

From 1955 to 1959, he represented the Blue River-South Platte Water Association in its case for transmountain diversion from the Western to Eastern slope. That case led to the creation of the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District.

Miller also represented Colorado on the Missouri Basin Inter-Agency Committee and was appointed to the Colorado Water Conservation Board. He was a member of the Weld County Bar Association, the Colorado Bar Association, and the American Bar Association and served as president of the Weld County Bar.

Miller married Lydia Alles in 1933. Together they helped develop the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia and the Rammed Earth Institute International. They had three children. David Miller passed away on May 4, 1993.


78 linear feet (52 record cartons)

Language of Materials



David J. Miller (1906-1993) was a Greeley attorney who practiced law for over 50 years. Many of his cases related to water law and particularly to the formation and dissolution of irrigation districts and water conservancy districts. This collection consists of Miller's files from his cases as an attorney; organizational documents, including meeting minutes, agendas, and reports; personal and administrative records, including calendars, appointment books, and financial documents; and reference materials. The collection also includes maps, photographs, and slides.


The materials have been arranged into series primarily by file type. Categories have been added to some series for additional clarity.

The collection consists of 4 series in 52 boxes:

Series 1: Work files, 1882-1986 and undated

Series 2: Organizational files, 1948-1973 and undated

Series 3: Personal and administrative files, 1939-1968 and undated

Series 4: Reference materials, 1889-1985 and undated

Custodial History

The collection was gifted by David J. Miller and Lydia Miller to the University of Northern Colorado in 1974. Additional materials were donated to UNC in 1992.


The Papers of David J. Miller was given to the Water Resources Archive by the University of Northern Colorado Archives and Special Collections in July 2022.

Related Collections

Related collections in the Water Resources Archive include Records of the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District and Records of the North Poudre Irrigation Company. Other related collections include the David J. Miller Nürnberg Collection and the David J. and Lydia Miller Earth Buildings Collection at the University of Northern Colorado.


Processing was completed in April 2023. Much of the collection was left in the order in which it was received. Some re-ordering was done as needed. The collection was largely left in original folders, with loose materials placed in acid-free folders as needed. Photographs, negatives, and slides were placed in sleeves. One set of documents was separated and sleeved for preservation. Exact duplicates beyond three copies were removed. Publications easily found elsewhere, such as some government publications, were removed. A set of financial records was removed.

Inventory Note

Note: Some title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed.

Guide to the Papers of David J. Miller
Prepared by Lauren Oliver
Copyright 2023
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA