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William Zimmerman, Jr. Papers

Identifier: MSS-517-BC

Scope and Content

The content of this collection is held within ten (I to X) series. Series I contains personal correspondence from all aspects of Zimmerman's life. Series II is made up of official correspondence from his tenure at the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Land Management. Series III contains subject files in chronological order, beginning with files which did not have dates.

Series IV has information regarding Tribal and Reservation issues, in alphabetical order. The end of this series also has information on individual states and projects within the states. Series V is information on the Association of American Indian Affairs, including minutes of meetings and correspondence. Series VI has information on the National Congress of American Indians, including minutes of meetings and correspondence.

Series VII contains information on Federal and States Legislation, most of which is from the 84th and 85th Congresses. Information on appropriations and other legislative information is also included. Series VIII contains the Internal Office Files, in Chronological order. Series IX has various Public Relations and News Releases from the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Series X includes miscellaneous publications on Indian Affairs and various newspaper clippings from around the country. Some of the publications were written by Zimmerman himself. Clippings are not in any type of chronological or alphabetical order.


  • 1933-1965


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biographical Information

William Zimmerman Jr. was born in Chicago, Illinois, on September 2, 1890. At the age of twenty, he received an A.B. degree from Harvard University. After graduation, he remained to enroll in the Harvard Business School for another year. As his later achievements indicate, his university studies instilled in him an appreciation for learning.

During his lifetime, Zimmerman held many diversified positions before his tenure with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), including: writer and editor of the Children's Encyclopedia (1911-1917, & 1919), an executive for the Columbia Conserve Company, and a stock and bond salesman with Stone & Webster. However, he is best remembered as the Assistant Commissioner of Indian Affairs, BIA. He was appointed by President Roosevelt in 1933, during the New Deal.

Zimmerman remained in government service for the next 22 years. Not all of those years were spent with the BIA; he was transferred to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in May of 1950.

His many years as the Assistant Commissioner were beneficial to the interests of both the BIA and Native Americans alike. During the period of 1947 to 1950, he was acting Commissioner due to then Commissioner William A. Brophy's illness and later resignation.

Zimmerman was a highly esteemed government servant who exhibited a sincere concern for Native Americans. Consequently, he was a trusted spokesman for Native Americans.

Before his death on September 26, 1967, Zimmerman devoted his post-governmental service time to his position as head of the Washington branch of the highly influential Association on American Indian Affairs. Moreover, in keeping with his concern for natural resource management, he was involved with both the Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society. He remained faithful to the areas to which he had given so much of his time and energy during his life in government office.


19 boxes (19 cu. ft.), plus 1 oversize folder

Related Material

Sophie D. Aberle Papers. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico American Indian Oral History Collection. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Dennis Chavez Papers. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Glen Leonidas Emmons Papers. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Chester E. Faris Papers. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Indian Affairs Papers. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Mescalero Timber Trust Research Collection. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico

Separated Material

Photographs have been transferred to the William Zimmerman Photograph Collection

Relevant Secondary Sources

  • Zimmerman, William, Jr. "The Role of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Since 1933." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Volume 311 [May 1957]: pp. 31-40.
  • Zimmerman, William, Jr. "Some Problems Relating to Indian Treaties: Problems of Tax-Exemption." In Proceedings of the Conference on Indian Tribes and Treaties. Center for Continuation Study, University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) 1955: pp. 58-67.
  • Zimmerman, William, Jr. "Economic Status of Indians in the United States." Journal of Religious Thought Volume 7 (Spring-Summer 1950): pp. 108-120.
  • Zimmerman, William, Jr. "William Wrigley, Jr., The Man and His Business." (Private printing).
  • Zimmerman, William, Jr. The Fort Hall Story: an Interpretation. Indian Rights Association (Philadelphia) 1959.
  • Zimmerman, William, Jr. The Federal Indian Service. Department of Interior, United States Indian Service (Washington D.C.) 1950.
  • Talney, Mark A. "Question Validity of Klamath Plan." Christian Century Volume 73 (July 25, 1956): pp. 882-884.
  • A Reply of William Zimmerman, Jr. Christian Century (September 5, 1956): p. 1027.
Finding Aid of the William Zimmerman, Jr. Papers, 1933-1965
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Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 517 BC::William Zimmerman, Jr. Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss517bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
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Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131