Robert A. Allen Papers

Identifier: NC97
The Robert A. Allen papers are contained in five archival boxes and in five map drawers. The collection includes 284 maps of the major river basins and water systems in Nevada. A simple numerical index serves as a finding aid for the large maps which are grouped according to geographical area.

The remainder of the collection consists of handwritten notebooks, hand-drawn and small printed maps, notebooks containing typewritten and printed material, and published documents, 1893-1960, mainly concerning water and water related subjects in and around Nevada. Virtually all of the papers in the collection relate to Allen's activities as a professional engineer. No personal papers are included and material he collected as Nevada history enthusiast can be found in a collection at the Nevada Historical Society.


  • 1893-1960



Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.


5 Cubic Feet (1 box)


Collection contains handwritten notes, notebooks, legal documents, printed material, and 284 maps relating to water issues in Nevada and the West. There are no personal papers.

Biographical Note

Robert A. Allen was born on May 16, 1886 in Pueblo, Colorado. He received his education there and also at the University of Nevada, Reno where he studied electrical engineering and graduated in 1915. He served as an assistant state engineer under J.G. Scrugham and was subsequently appointed by Governor Scrugham to the post of state engineer, 1923-1927. Following a period of private engineering practice in Carson City, Allen served as federal public works administrator from 1933 until 1935, then as a state highway engineer until 1947. He also served on the State Planning Board, 1935-1938 and was appointed state chairman of the State Public Service Commission in 1947.

In his various engineering positions, Allen was involved in many state water decisions and controversies. He represented the Upper Carson River water users in the United States verses Alpine Land and Reservoir case, 1925, and as state engineer, he filled the final order of determination for claimants to the waters of the Humboldt River, 1927, both leading to lengthy court proceedings. Allen was also a Nevada history enthusiast and collected information and material on Nevada History especially relating to the emigrant trails. Robert Allen's home was in Carson City, Nevada. He died there, after a long illness, in 1968.


The Robert A. Allen Papers are divided into the following series:

Series 1: US vs Alpine Land and Reservoir Company, a corporation, et al, D183 Series 2: Carson River Basin Series 3: Union Mill and Mining Company vs Fred Dangberg, et al, Case 520 Series 4: Humboldt River Series 5: Colorado River Series 6: Newlands Project Series 7: Correspondence and Miscellaneous Subject Files Series 8: Maps

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Papers donated by Richard J. Allen circa 1965.

Related Archival Materials

Other Nevada historical materials available, Nevada Historical Society, Reno, Nevada.
A Guide to the Papers of Robert A. Allen
Jacquelyn Sundstrand
August 12, 2008
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)