This collection is primarily related to the Colorado River, but includes many documents about the Mojave Desert and surrounding areas. The collection includes historic books, historic government documents such as the Whipple Survey of the transcontinental railroad route, John Wesley Powell's survey of the Colorado River, many documents related to the Bureau of Reclamation's operation of the Colorado River and the Bureau of Land Management's maintenance of lands adjacent to the river, newspaper and magazine articles, Metropolitan Water District newsletters and brochures, and historical photos of the river. William M. Claypool III graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Pomona College in 1948. Bill was CEO of True Value Hardware, and created the first commercially successful recycling business in California. This is in addition to running and greatly expanding the very successful department store and grocery business his grandfather began in Needles, and the eastern desert regions of Southern California. Bill realized early that the Colorado River was an important part of Needles' identity. Many times he has said 'we need to understand the river's past in order to chart its future.'