Karl J. Pelzer Collection of Southeast Asia Materials

Identity elements

Reference code

US TxSaT SC.018

Level of description



Karl J. Pelzer Collection of Southeast Asia Materials


  • 1925-1974, n.d. (Creation)


1 box (1.5 linear feet)

Name of creator


Biographical history

Karl Pelzer was born in Oberpleis, Germany in 1909, and graduated from the University of Bonn, receiving his doctorate there in 1935. After coming to the United States, he taught at the University of California at Berkeley and at Johns Hopkins University. During World War II he was with the Office of War Information. From 1945-1947 he worked for the Department of Agriculture, in its office of foreign agricultural relations, and he was part of a unit that toured Japan, the Philippines and the East Indies to study the effects of war on agriculture. He was a member of the Yale University faculty from 1947 until his retirement in 1977, and was for many years the director of Southeast Asia Studies.

Pelzer was an authority on land use and the demographics of tropical regions, particularly Southeast Asia. He was the author of Population and Land Utilization and Pioneer Settlement in the Asiatic Tropics. Pelzer authored more than thirty-five publications, including books, journal articles, papers, and chapters.

Pelzer was married to Elizabeth Allerton Clark, and had two daughters. He died at his home in North Haven, Connecticut at the age of 71.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This collection consists of pamphlets, reprints, articles, newsletters, periodicals, and other similar publications about Southeast Asia. The materials primarily focus on political issues during the 1960s and 1970s.

System of arrangement

Items in Series 1 through Series 6 retain the organizational system given to them by Dr. Pelzer. Items in Series 7 were no longer in Pelzer's organizational scheme, and were arranged by the librarian by country, mirroring the structure used by Pelzer.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

This collection is open and available to the public for research in the Special Collections & Archives reading room. The materials are non-circulating.

Physical access

This collection has been minimally processed. Additional information about the contents of each folder can be provided upon request.

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

The materials in this collection may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). The materials are available for personal, educational, and scholarly use. It is the responsibility of the researcher to locate and obtain permission from the copyright owner or his or her heirs for any other use, such as reproduction and publication.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

    Language and script notes

    Finding aids

    Acquisition and appraisal elements

    Custodial history

    Immediate source of acquisition

    Acquired as part of a larger acquisition of books and other materials on Asian Studies purchased directly from Karl Pelzer in 1976, through the support of the Ewing Halsell Foundation of San Antonio.

    Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


    Related materials elements

    Existence and location of originals

    Existence and location of copies

    Select items from this collection have been digitized and are available online in our Historic Pamphlets collection: https://cdm16264.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/pamphlets.

    Related archival materials

    Council on Southeast Asia Studies, Yale University, records: https://archives.yale.edu/repositories/12/resources/2821.

    Along with these materials, Trinity University purchased a collection of books about Southeast Asia from Dr. Pelzer. These volumes are available in the library's general collection, and can be searched in the catalog.

    Related descriptions

    Notes element

    Specialized notes

    • Citation: Karl J. Pelzer Collection on Southeast Asia. Coates Library Special Collections & Archives, Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas).

    Alternative identifier(s)

    Description control element

    Rules or conventions


    Sources used

    Archivist's note

    Finding aid created by Colleen Hoelscher, September 4, 2019.

    Access points

    Name access points

    Genre access points

    Accession area