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Donald Howard Wilson papers

Identifier: Ms-0505

Content Description

The Donald Howard Wilson papers span the years 1920s-1960s,with the bulk of the collection dating to the 1940s. The materials have been divided into six series: personal papers, hydrology reports and studies, publications, photographs, audiovisual material and maps. Personal papers series consists of Wilson's employment files while employed by the Army Corps of Engineers as well as correspondence. The hydrology reports and studies were created by Wilson. Primarily during the 1940s and relate to the Rio Grande region. The publication series contains state publications that Wilson utilized for research while conducting his own studies. Published articles written by Wilson also are included within this series. The publications have been sorted by publishing agency and year. The photograph series contains black and white images of dams and areas surveyed by Wilson and the Corps of Engineers. The bulk of this series are photographs of the Abiquiu Dam area. Also included within this series are images outside New Mexico while Wilson was employed elsewhere. The audiovisual material series consists of 16mm films depicting the Abiquiu Dam. Both of the films are color and silent. The final series, consists of oversized maps relating to Wilson's hydrology work. The bulk of the maps pertain 1920 and 1941 flood studies of the Rio Grande.


  • 1920 - 1960

Conditions Governing Use

Open. All materials in this collection are available for research under supervised conditions in the Research Room. Researchers should contact the department in advance to make arrangements to view unprocessed materials, as these may need to be screened before use.

Biographical / Historical

Donald Howard Wilson was born on April 20, 1905, in Hopkinton Iowa to Irvin Thomas Wilson and Frances Ann Wescott Wilson. In 1930, Wilson obtained his bachelors degree in engineering from Iowa State University. On August 16, 1930, Don married Bernise Lindergriss Ferguson. Donald and Bernise had two children, Donald Bruce and Bernice. In 1943, Wilson and his family relocated to New Mexico for reasons pertaining to his son's health. Wilson found work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Albuquerque District. While employed by the Corps of Engineers, Wilson designed hydraulic structures and completed various reports regarding the Rio Grande Survey Report. He was also in charge of the construction of the Jemez and Abiquiu dams. After being employed by the federal agency for more than 33 years, Wilson retired in 1963. On January 13, 1968, Wilson passed way in EspaƱola, New Mexico.


8 Linear Feet (7 Hollinger boxes, 3 oversized flat boxes, 1 Paige box and 1 map folder)

Language of Materials



Donald (Don) Howard Wilson was a civil engineer for the United States Army Corps of Engineers-Albuquerque District from approximately 1943 to 1963. While employed by the the Corps of Engineers, Wilson was a project engineer involved in various dam site projects within New Mexico. Papers relate to hydrology, dams and flood control projects in New Mexico during the 1940s and 1950s. Included are bound reports and records on projects throughout the state, including rivers of the Rio Grande watershed; irrigation districts and dams, such as Abiquiu, Elephant Butte, Percha, Hondo, Chama, Chamita; and hydroelectric projects.

Related Materials

Herbert W. Yeo Papers, 1848-1954. Ms 0094. New Mexico State University Library, Archives and Special Collections Department.

Zuber Draw Watershed District records. Ms 0068. New Mexico State University Library, Archives and Special Collections Department

Elephant Butte Irrigation District records. Ms 0235. New Mexico State University Library, Archives and Special Collections Department.

Condition Description

Some materials in good condition, some in fair condition. Some items have torn edges on papers, which need to be handled with care.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jennifer Chavez, March-May, 2017
Guide to the Donald Howard Wilson papers
Finding aid by Jennifer Olguin
March, 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the New Mexico State University Library Archives and Special Collections Repository

Branson Hall
PO Box 30006
MSC 3475
Las Cruces New Mexico 88003 USA