Sunday, May 26, 2013

RIP Norris Hundley

Over at "Legal Planet" Jonathan Zasloff remembers Norris C. Hundley, Jr. (1935-2013), historian of water law (and other topics) in the American West, and author of over 100 books and essays. His books included The Great Thirst: Californians and Water—A History (1988, rev. ed. California, 2001), which Zasloff calls "a monumental survey of California water history", and Water and the West: The Colorado River Compact and the Politics of Water in the American West (1975, 2nd ed. California, 2009),"the best account of the creation of the Compact, and necessary reading for water policy analysts, lawyers, and really anyone with an interest in the tangled and fraught politics of the Colorado River." Zalsoff's post includes more on Hundley's work and generosity as a scholar.

I would add that Hundley's articles on water law included some on Indian water rights (also here), as well as a great historiographic essay entitled "Water and the West in Historical Imagination".

Please write in with any memories or thoughts on Hundley's scholarship.


  1. I had the privilege of working with Norris Hundley for many years -- he was my undergraduate senior thesis advisor and served on my doctoral committee. He was always gracious, sharing, and despite his considerable accomplishments, not full of himself. When I revised one of Norris's minor conclusions in The Great Thirst, that California courts did not intentionally distort Spanish and Mexican law in creating Los Angeles's "pueblo water right" to the L.A. River, he acknowledged the correction publicly, saying at the Western History Association that "by your students you shall be taught." I just attended his memorial service at a quiet church in Santa Barbara, filled with family and friends. Norris will be greatly missed. Peter Reich, Whittier Law School.