The Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) collection was my first processing endeavor as an intern at the IU archives. The WRRC was established in 1963 with the goal of integrating the diverse water research activities of Indiana University and coordinating them with the water programs of state and federal agencies, other academic institutions, and private organizations. This collection consists of records pertaining to the WRRC’s research, cooperation with other water resources organizations, and its administration.
The WRRC’s primary focus was on water issues pecuilar to the Midwest. Indiana’s largest lake, Lake Monroe, is just a short drive from Indiana University’s campus. The Center conducted many research projects involving the lake, including “The Calibration of Land Capability Model for the Lower Lake Monroe Watershed.” In addition to local water research projects, the WRRC received major funding from federal organizations such the National Science Foundation to conduct more large-scale research projects such as its “Climatic Impact on Soil Formation in the Midcontinent of the U.S.” Indiana University’s Water Resources Research Center closed in 1985 and today Indiana’s only remaining water research center is located at Purdue University.
Although I have worked in an archives and processed collections prior to interning at IU, this collection was the largest that I have processed to date at 13 cubic feet and it presented some interesting challenges. The first challenge was getting back in the archival saddle and relearning aspects of processing a collection, such as creating a folder list, determining appropriate series and sub-series, and ultimately creating a finding aid. An additional, and unforeseen challenge, was that what appeared to be one collection, actually turned out to be two collections. The personal papers and research of Robert V. Ruhe, professor of geology and long-time director of the WRRC, were mixed in with the records from the Center. It was necessary to go through and determine which records/folders belonged in the WRRC’s collection and which ones belonged in Ruhe’s personal collection.
Robert Ruhe was a professor of geology and director of the WRRC for over a decade. Between obtaining his undergraduate degree and pursuing a doctoral degree in geology at Iowa State University, Ruhe served as a 2nd lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He began teaching at IU in 1970 and focused his research in the area of geomorphology and hydrology. Ruhe died in 1993.
If you would like access to either the Ruhe papers or the WRRC records, please contact the Archives!