William E. Rawlings Papers, 1932-1973

Overview of the Collection

Rawlings, William E., 1904-1973
William E. Rawlings Papers
1932-1973 (inclusive)
1960-1970 (bulk)
1 cubic foot
Collection Number
MG 410
Correspondence, memos, job transfers, and other papers of William Rawlings related to his career in the Agricultural Extension Service, the War Relocation Authority (during WWII) and the US Bureau of Reclamation. Also contains administrative records and printed reports about the Columbia Basin Project.
University of Idaho Library, Special Collections and Archives
Special Collections and Archives
University of Idaho Library
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 2350
Moscow, ID
Telephone: 2088850845
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public. Researchers must use the collection in accordance with the policies of the University of Idaho Special Collections and Archives.

This collection is in English.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

William Eber Rawlings was born in Sheridan, Indiana in 1904. He graduated from Purdue University College of Agriculture in 1926, majoring in Animal Husbandry. He began his career working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Extension Service, the first 14 years in Indiana, and then transferring to Idaho. In 1942 he joined the War Relocation Authority, working in Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and Montana. While working in Hunt, Idaho as Project Director for the Minidoka Relocation Center he began working on irrigating land for war food production.

In 1946, Rawlings was transferred to the Bureau of Reclamation office in Billings, Montana, as Project Supervisor for the Missouri River Basin Project, and in 1952 became Regional Irrigation Supervisor for Region 6, an area that covered the northern Plains.

In 1960, he became the manager of the Columbia Basin Project, headquartered in Ephrata, Washington. He served there for ten years, retiring in 1970. It was during his tenure that the Columbia Basin Project continued expansion, and saw the construction of the third power plant on the Grand Coulee Dam.

Rawlings died in Spokane in 1973.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The papers of William E. Rawlings span the years 1932 to 1973, with the bulk of the material covering the years 1960 to 1970. The papers include correspondence, memos, pay slips, employment applications, various reports, maps, photographs and other items relating to Rawlings' career. The materials contain extensive information on the Columbia Basin Project, of which Rawlings was manager from 1960-1970. Information on his work previous to the Columbia Basin Project (1933-1959) is less extensive and contains items related to Rawlings' personnel matters (such as performance reviews and salary increases), correspondence, reports related to agricultural issues in Idaho (1940-1942) and other items related to some of the places where he was employed during these years. A brief description of his work at the Minidoka Relocation Center (1943-1945) is also contained in the biographical and personal file. Photographs in the collection are portraits of various working groups throughout Rawlings' career, many of which include the names of those photographed.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Consult Head of Special Collections and Archives on permission for use.

Preferred Citation

William E. Rawlings Papers, MG 410, Special Collections and Archives, University of Idaho Library, Moscow, Idaho.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The original order could not be determined. So, the present order was imposed to improve access to the collection. This collection is arranged in three series: I. The Career of William E. Rawlings, 1933-1970; II. The Columbia Basin Project, 1960-1970; III. Other Items.

Location of Collection

Special Collections and Archives of the University of Idaho Library.

Acquisition Information

The papers of William E. Rawlings were donated to the University of Idaho Library by Mrs. Ruth Rawlings in August, 2002. A small group of additional materials were added in November 2004.

Processing Note

Processed by Randy Smith in March 2004.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series I:  The Career of William E. RawlingsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
1 1
Biographical and Personal, 1904-1973
32 items
1 2
Photographs, 1946-1963
21 items
1 3
Career Service, 1933-1959
70 items
1 4
Career Service, 1960-1970
79 items
1 5
Speeches, Addresses and Official Programs, 1963-1970
34 items
1 6
Columbia Basin Project Employee Orientation
1 item
1 7
Interagency Training Program Materials, 1963
1 item

Series II:  The Columbia Basin ProjectReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
1 8
Administrative File, 1961-1969
18 items
1 9
Statistical Data, 1930-1970
56 items
1 10
Columbia Basin Project Pamphlets & Ephemera
15 items
1 11
Columbia Basin Project Reports, Part I
3 items
1 12
Columbia Basin Project Reports, Part II
5 items
1 13
Columbia Basin Project Reports, Part III
1 item
1 14
Columbia Basin Project Maps
7 items
1 15
Columbia Basin Project Newsclippings
6 items

Series III:  Other ItemsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
1 16
Idaho Reports, 1940-1942
3 items
1 17
Other items
8 items

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Personal Names

  • Rawlings, William E., 1904-1973--Archives

Corporate Names

  • Columbia Basin Project (U.S.)--Records and correspondence