Lee, Lawrence B. (1917-2003)

Lee, Lawrence B. (1917-2003)

Date Updated




Academic Rank


Year Retired from SJSU


Educational Background

University of Chicago, 1957 Ph.D.

University of Chicago, 1941 MA

Lewis Institute, Chicago, IL , 1939 BA

Teaching Experience

San Jose State University, 1957-1983

University of British Columbia (summer), 1967

University of Calgary (2 summers), 1963 & 1964

University of Northwestern, IL, 1954-1957

University of Detroit, MI, 1951-1953

Fort Hays Kansas State College, 1947-1949

Administrative and Professional Experience


Selected Publications

Reclaiming the American West. An Historiography and Guide, Lawrence B. Lee (ABC- Clio), ABC‑Clio, Santa Barbara, California,

The California Water Atlas, William L. Kahrl, Project Director and Editor, Lawrence B. Lee (prepared the treatment of the development of the Central Valley Project) (1978‑1979) State of California.

The Reader's Encyclopedia of the American West, edited by Howard R. Lamar, 1977, Harper Row Publishers, Inc. Several essays of mine were included such as "Reclamation and Irrigation," "Elwood Mead," etc.

The Conquest of Arid America by William E. Smythe. With a new introduction to the 1969 edition by Lawrence B. Lee.

Land and Law in California: Essays on Land Policies by Paul Gates. Introduction by Lawrence B. Lee. Iowa State University Press, Ames, Iowa, 1991.

Kansas and the Homestead Act, 1862‑1905 by Lawrence B. Lee. Arno Press, New York, 1979.

"William Ellsworth Smythe and the Irrigation Movement," Pacific Historical Review (1972).

"Agriculture in the Development of the Far West: A Symposium," Agricultural History (1975).

100 Years of Reclamation Historiography," Agricultural History (1978).

"American Public Land History: A Review Essay," Agricultural History (1981).

Personal Commentary

Courses starting in the fall of 1957 were U.S. History, lower division. The next semester a new course, upper division, appeared, namely, California history, my first truly upper division course, which for a time, came to be my favorite class. Partly because California history at that time proved to be an evening class with upper division students who were mature and understanding in the Way of the World and consequently contributed to the class with their own background and extensive knowledge. They were accepting my insistence on term papers which were meaningful to other students and the professor.

Another class which proved rewarding to students as well as the "Prof' came with the onset of the Environmental Movement. Many departments on campus adopted pertinent classes which proved successful in many different departments. Again, students, as well as faculty, found values in new lectures and reading new texts.

The History Department was growing excessfully during the 1960s and 70s. Consequently, the Department found need for a course in History Methods a graduate requirement. Again this course was a delight to the instructor because the students, without exception, learned how to write history and puzzle out the "whys and wherefores of the historic tapestry."

Finally, I was given an opportunity to develop a course in American Business that would combine the Business History past and present. These classes continued into the 1980s, and proved to be popular with more than a sprinkling of Business School majors as well as History students.

Date Completed: 8/96

Adapted from: Biographies of Retired Faculty San Jose State University 1997: A Project of the Emeritus Faculty Association of San Jose State University. San Jose, CA: The University, 1997.


Lee, Lawrence B. (1917-2003)