Ben Yellen Papers, 1945 - 1994 (MSS 0193)

Restrictions: Original sound recordings in the collection are restricted; researchers may request user copies be produced. Medical records in boxes 5, 34, 38-43 are restricted.

Extent: 18 Linear feet (45 archives boxes and 9 oversize folders)

Papers of Benjamin L. Yellen (1907-1994), physician and political activist in Brawley, California. Most materials date from 1948 to 1994 and pertain to water, farming and medical issues in Southern California. Typewritten correspondence forms the core of the collection, while newspaper clippings, newsletters, and published and government documents compose the supporting materials.

Ben Yellen was born on July 2, 1907, in Brooklyn, New York, to Jake and Annie Yellen. He attended Boy's High School in Brooklyn, Columbia University and he graduated from Long Island College of Medicine, now called The University of the State of New York Medical School, in 1931. Given the economic conditions prevalent during the Depression, Yellen turned to the government for employment. For the next decade he worked as a physician for the Civilian Conservation Corps and served as a doctor in the Army. In 1942 he settled permanently in the town of Brawley in Imperial County, California. He chose Brawley largely for its warm, dry climate, which he thought would be beneficial for his health. Once settled in Imperial Valley Yellen found himself in one of the richest and most productive agricultural regions in the United States. Roughly a decade and a half after his arrival in Brawley Yellen initiated a protracted battle against the large-scale growers who dominated the region's economy and their representative institutions, including the Desert Growers Association and, especially, the Imperial Irrigation District (IID).

At the time of his arrival in Brawley, Yellen joined the local medical society and established his own practice. He drew his patients primarily from the lower segments of Imperial Valley's economic system. His treatment of braceros (i.e., Mexican migrant farm workers) led him into the political activities that would occupy the last four decades of his life. In 1956, at the age of 49, Yellen began agitating against the big growers and brought suit against them and the Continental Life Insurance Company for defrauding migrant workers of their medical insurance benefits. This activity led to his expulsion from the Imperial Valley Medical Society in 1959 on the charges that his early morning addresses to migrant workers informing them of their insurance benefits were unethical attempts to build his own practice at the cost of the physicians hired to treat the braceros. Yellen continued to practice medicine independently, but his relationship with Brawley's Pioneer Memorial Hospital remained strained for the rest of his lifetime. Around 1959 or 1960 Yellen's attitude towards the braceros shifted, and he focused his writings and attentions on the domestic farm workers displaced by Mexican immigrants.

Although Yellen never abandoned his concern for farm workers, in 1961 his interests shifted as he expanded his attack on the big growers. At this time he embarked on the crusade for which he is most well known: enforcement of the Reclamation Law of 1902. The central case in this effort was the United States v. the Imperial Irrigation District, in which Ben Yellen and 123 other residents of Imperial County acted as amicus curiae. The government had lost the original case in U.S. District Court, and the Nixon administration decided not to pursue an appeal. Yellen retained attorney Arthur Brunwasser to intervene, file an amicus brief, and appeal the adverse judgement. The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals permitted intervention, and supported the allegations of non-enforcement in 1977. In effect, the Court ruled that water from the Hoover Dam can't be used to irrigate Imperial Valley farms that exceeded the 160-acre per person limit. Yellen's victory was short-lived, however. In Bryant v. Yellen (1980), Yellen and Imperial County residents again brought suit to force IID compliance with the acreage restriction provisions of the reclamation laws. Resolution of the case required legal review and analysis by the U.S. Supreme Court, which held that the 160-acre limitation did not apply to certain private lands in the Imperial Valley, and recognized the IID as a trustee of the water rights for the benefit of the landowners, without regard to the size of the land holding prior to the enactment of the Boulder Canyon Project Act of 1929.

In addition to his legal activities, Yellen actively engaged in local electoral politics beginning in the 1960s and continuing into the 1990s. Throughout these three decades, Yellen ran for almost every conceivable local office, always on a platform of restricting the power and influence of the big growers for the benefit of the "little guy." In 1964, in his only electoral success, Yellen won a four-year term as a Brawley city councilman. To get his views across to the public, Yellen distributed thousands of his own mimeographed newsletters, locally termed "yellowsheets" because of the yellow paper he used. With a canvas bag thrown over his shoulder, Yellen paced the streets of Imperial Valley placing thousands of yellowsheets on car seats or under windshield wipers. Yellen's pamphleteering lessened in the 1970s as his health and mobility declined; as a result he increasingly relied on local newspapers to publish his "letters to the editor" to disseminate his political ideas.

During the final decade of his life, Yellen found himself in a new battle as the result of a malpractice suit following the death of a two-year old boy he injected with a compounded prescription. Although he was ultimately cleared of wrong doing in the boy's death, his medical license was revoked by the state of California on November 16, 1983. He spent the remainder of his life trying to regain his license. In 1987 he succeeded, but the Board of Medical Quality Assurance placed so many restrictions on his return to medicine that he never resumed an active practice.

In 1993 farm workers reappeared as the focus of Yellen's attention when he initiated a lawsuit against Attorney General Janet Reno to stop the flow of illegal Mexican immigrants who took jobs from domestic farm workers. The suit never amounted to anything due to Yellen's death the following year. Yellen died in his home in Brawley on July 1, 1994, one day before he would have turned 87.

The Ben Yellen Papers document grassroots social and political activism on the subjects of farm labor and western water policy. Yellen's papers encompass a variety of topics, including migrant farm workers, water policy, tax assessment, electricity rates, local politics, medical malpractice, and the compounding of prescriptions. Correspondence in each series is supported by an array of published materials, as well as government documents and newsletters from a variety of small organizations.

Ben Yellen was a loud voice of protest against the entrenched power of California's commercial farmers. Although his primary lawsuit to compel the federal government to enforce the 1902 Reclamation Law did not ultimately lead to the redistribution of land in Imperial Valley, he brought the issue to national attention and caused the big growers significant discomfort and sizable legal bills. His correspondence and lawsuits allege how the politically and economically powerful interests of Imperial Valley sought to silence him by attacking his medical practice and his personal integrity. His incomplete and idiosyncratic collection of newsletters and small publications reveals a web of small, liberal organizations fighting for the rights of the poor. His crusades against the tax and electricity "swindles" illustrate the extent to which the special privileges and power of the big growers affected the lives of citizens of Imperial Valley. Finally, Yellen represented a style of liberalism that mixed a strong desire to do good with a dose of paternalism and a powerful sense of individual importance and empowerment.

Because of the scattered way in which Yellen gathered and disseminated information, much of the documentation gathered here is incomplete. For example, Yellen acquired the annual reports of the Imperial Irrigation District for the years between 1963 and 1990; however, nine of the twenty-seven years are missing. Additionally, Yellen solicited information about major water projects in California, Arizona, and Colorado. As a result, the collection contains snippets of data about projects such as the Salt River and Boulder Canyon, but not enough information for a coherent study of either topic. Generally speaking, Yellen's correspondence is marred by his rambling prose style and his tendency to blur issues together in one letter. His letters are also highly repetitive because Yellen remained focused on water and related issues for three decades, and his ideas about these topics changed little over time.

Accessions Processed in 1996

Arranged in five series: 1) YELLOWSHEETS AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, 2) FARM WORKERS, 3) WATER AND RELATED POLITICAL ACTIVITIES, 4) MEDICAL ISSUES, and 5) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS.

Accession Processed in 2006

Arranged in seven series: 6) YELLOWSHEETS AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, 7) FARMWORKERS, 8) WATER AND RELATED POLITICAL ACTIVITIES, 9) MEDICAL ISSUES, 10) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 11) NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS, and 12) SOUND RECORDINGS.

Ben Yellen Correspondence with Charles L. Smith (MSS 667); Ben Yellen Correspondence with Arthur Brunwasser (MSS 305); Yellen v. Imperial Irrigation District Collection (MSS 677).

Container List

Accessions Processed in 1996

YELLOWSHEETS AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Scope and Content of Series

SERIES 1) YELLOWSHEETS AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR. Arranged in two chronological subseries: A) Yellowsheets and B) Letters to the Editor.

A) Yellowsheets: These newsletters provide an overview of Yellen's ideas and activities. They were distributed by hand in the Imperial Valley and mailed to people throughout the country. Most date from the 1960s, though they continue through the 1980s. Yellen used the yellowsheets to present his views directly to the people of the Imperial Valley and to explain how he thought they were all being exploited by the big growers.

B) Letters to the Editor: As the frequency of yellowsheets declined, Yellen increasingly relied on "Letters to the Editor" to express his views in public. The Imperial Valley Press and the Brawley News published Yellen's letters beginning in 1960 and continued to do so until 1992. The majority of this subseries comprises copies of printed letters; however, originals for which we do not have a printed copy and originals which differ from the printed version are also held.

Yellowsheets

Box: 1 Folder: 1
undated
Box: 1 Folder: 2
1959
Box: 1 Folder: 3
1960
Box: 1 Folder: 4
1961
Box: 1 Folder: 5
1962
Box: 1 Folder: 6
1963
Box: 1 Folder: 7
1964
Box: 1 Folder: 8
1965
Box: 1 Folder: 9
1966
Box: 1 Folder: 10
1967
Box: 1 Folder: 11-15
Yellowsheet duplicates, undated, 1960-1967
Box: 2 Folder: 1
1968
Box: 2 Folder: 2
1969
Box: 2 Folder: 3
1970
Box: 2 Folder: 4
1971
Box: 2 Folder: 5
1972
Box: 2 Folder: 6
1973
Box: 2 Folder: 7
1974-1979
Box: 2 Folder: 8
1980-1989
Box: 2 Folder: 9
1990-1991
Box: 2 Folder: 15-18
Yellowsheet duplicates, 1968-1990

Letters to the Editor

Box: 2 Folder: 10
1960-1969
Box: 2 Folder: 11
1977-1979
Box: 2 Folder: 12
1980-1985
Box: 2 Folder: 13
1986-1989
Box: 2 Folder: 14
1990-1992

FARM WORKERS

Scope and Content of Series

SERIES 2) FARM WORKERS: Materials documenting Yellen's initial foray into social and political activism, concerning the plight of Mexican migrant farm laborers. In the late 1950s, Yellen formed the Committee for the Protection of Mexican Workers when he realized that growers deducted medical insurance premiums from the paychecks of braceros, but the workers themselves received inadequate health care and the Continental Life Insurance Company denied them benefits following injury. In addition to the "insurance swindle," Yellen pointed out that growers charged workers exorbitant rates for room and board while providing substandard food. Additionally, the growers restricted the number of hours braceros worked and thereby severely limited the amount of money they earned. Around 1960 Yellen shifted his emphasis away from fighting for the rights of Mexican workers to excluding them in favor of domestic farm workers. Yellen maintained both that growers imported Mexican migrants at the expense of domestic farm workers, and that Imperial Valley's economy suffered because Mexican workers sent their wages home and did not buy goods in local stores.

Arranged in three subseries: A) Correspondence, B) Lawsuits and C) Supporting Materials.

A) Correspondence: Arranged chronologically (1957-1994). Documents both the ill treatment of Mexican workers and Yellen's philosophical shift away from their cause. The letters are mainly outgoing of government agencies and individuals, the Department of Labor, state and national senators, the California Department of Employment, the National Advisory Committee on Farm Labor, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

B) Lawsuits: Arranged chronologically. Documents lawsuit and small claims court appeals filed by workers to gain wages and benefits from the big growers who had cheated them. Yellen initiated, or was in some way involved with, all of these cases. The affidavits and claims contained within these lawsuits provide a glimpse of working conditions for farm workers in the late 1950s.

C) Supporting Materials: Includes financial statements; publications and newsletters by small groups interested in the rights of farm workers, including the National Advisory Committee on Farm Labor and Citizens for Farm Labor; and essays and reports about the conditions of farm work in California, including Grace Weist's dissertation Health Insurance for Braceros: A Study of its Developement and Implementation Under Public Law #78, for which Yellen helped gather data.

Some files in subseries B) Lawsuits may be restricted.

Correspondence

Box: 3 Folder: 1
Undated
Box: 3 Folder: 2
1957
Box: 3 Folder: 3
1958
Box: 3 Folder: 4
1959 January-June
Box: 3 Folder: 5
1959 July-December
Box: 3 Folder: 6
1960
Box: 3 Folder: 7
1961
Box: 3 Folder: 8
1962
Box: 4 Folder: 1
1963
Box: 4 Folder: 2
1964
Box: 4 Folder: 3
1965 January-July
Box: 4 Folder: 4
1965 August-December
Box: 4 Folder: 5
1966
Box: 4 Folder: 6
1967
Box: 4 Folder: 7
1968
Box: 4 Folder: 8
1969
Box: 4 Folder: 9
1970

Includes dispute over the Casa de Amistad medical clinic for domestic migrant workers.

Box: 4 Folder: 10
1971-1979
Box: 4 Folder: 11
1980-1989
Box: 4 Folder: 12
1990-1994

Lawsuits

Box: 5 Folder: 1
Small claims lawsuits by farm workers for their wages, 1958 - 1963
Box: 5 Folder: 2
Ben Yellen vs. Fernando Cuevas, 1953
Box: 5 Folder: 3
Ben Yellen vs. Elvira Ruiz and Theodore Niewenhous, 1958 - 1959

Regarding illegal medical treatment of farm workers.

Box: 5 Folder: 4
Ben Yellen vs. F. Britton McConnell, Commissioner of Insurance, State of CA, 1958 - 1959

Regarding defrauding farm workers of their medical insurance.

Box: 5 Folder: 5
Ben Yellen vs. Constitution Life Insurance Company, 1958 - 1959

Prescription forms for patients compiled for medical insurance claims.

Restrictions apply

Box: 5 Folder: 6
Ben Yellen vs. Imperial Valley Farmers Association, et al., 1958 - 1959

Regarding medical insurance for farm workers.

Box: 5 Folder: 7
Ben Yellen vs. Wayne Deming, 1958 - 1959

Regarding the defrauding of Fidel Gama Velazquez of medical insurance.

Box: 5 Folder: 8
Ben Yellen vs. Ken Richardson, 1959

Regarding medical insurance for farm workers.

Box: 5 Folder: 9
Ben Yellen vs. Desert Growers Inc., 1959

Prescription forms for patients compiled for medical insurance claims.

Restrictions apply

Box: 5 Folder: 10
Ben Yellen vs. Dwight Wilbur, 1959

Regarding the unwillingness of California Medecine to publicize Yellen's work with farm workers and their insurance.

Box: 5 Folder: 11
Andres Santana Sanchez vs. Adalberto A. Aguirre, 1959 - 1960

Regarding wages as a farm worker.

Box: 5 Folder: 12
Imperial Valley Farmers' Association and R.T. Englund Company dispute, 1962 - 1963

Regarding the falsification of farm payroll records.

Box: 5 Folder: 13
Imperial Valley Farmers' Association and Maggio Green Tops Inc. dispute, 1963

Regarding the violation of the Mexican migrant program.

Box: 5 Folder: 14
Texas State AFL-CIO et al. vs. Robert Kennedy et al., 1962 - 1963

Amicus curiae suit in opposition to Public Law #78 and the importation of Mexican workers.

Box: 5 Folder: 15
Ben Yellen vs. Casa de Amistad, 1970

Dispute over a government sponsored medical clinic for domestic farm workers.

Box: 5 Folder: 16
Ben Yellen vs. Heber Public Utility District, 1985

Regarding the use of taxpayer money to build a plant to make concrete lined steel pipe.

Box: 5 Folder: 17
Ben Yellen vs. Janet Reno, Attorney General, 1993 - 1994

Regarding illegal immigrants.

Supporting materials

Box: 5 Folder: 18
Farm worker pay stubs
Box: 5 Folder: 19
Statements by braceros of mistreatment by Imperial Valley farmers, 1958 - 1962
Box: 5 Folder: 20
Appeals to retailers on behalf of domestic farm workers, 1960
Box: 5 Folder: 21
Complaints of employment discrimination by domestic farm workers, 1962 - 1967
Box: 6 Folder: 1
Conditions of farm workers and small farmers, 1959 - 1977

National Sharecropper's Fund publications.

Box: 6 Folder: 2
California Annual Farm Labor Report, 1963
Box: 6 Folder: 3
California's Farm Labor Problems, 1961 - 1963

Report of the Senate Fact Finding Committee on labor and welfare.

Box: 6 Folder: 4
Department of Labor News Bulletins, 1959 - 1965
Box: 6 Folder: 5
Essays about farm workers, 1963 - 1973
Box: 6 Folder: 6
Fair and reasonable wage debate, 1962 - 1986
Box: 6 Folder: 7
Farm Labor Magazine, 1963 - 1965
Box: 6 Folder: 8
Final Report of the California Farm Labor Panel to the Secretary of Labor, 1965
Box: 6 Folder: 9
Galarza, Ernesto - essays and statements, 1956 - 1960
Box: 6 Folder: 10
National Advisory Committee on Farm Labor Information letters, 1958 - 1965
Box: 6 Folder: 11
National Advisory Committee on Farm Labor Information booklets, 1959-1963
Box: 7 Folder: 1
National Conference on Poverty in the Southwest, 1965
Box: 7 Folder: 2
Secretary of Labor W. Willard Wirtz - Address before the Town Hall, Los Angeles, 1965
Box: 7 Folder: 3
Farm worker pamphlets, 1951 - 1970
Box: 7 Folder: 4
Government regulations concerning farm workers, 1960 - 1965
Box: 7 Folder: 5
Weist, Grace, 1966

Health Insurance for the Bracero: A Study of its Development and Implementation Under Public Law #78.

WATER AND RELATED POLITICAL ACTIVITIES

Scope and Content of Series

SERIES 3) WATER AND RELATED POLITICAL ACTIVITIES. Arranged in seven subseries: A) Correspondence, B) Lawsuits, C) Western Water, D) Electricity, E) Imperial Irrigation District, F) Political Campaigns and G) Imperial County and the City of Brawley.

A) Correspondence: Yellen discusses a variety of interrelated issues in his correspondence from 1959 to 1994, including enforcement of the 160 acres limitation from the residency requirement; the "tax swindle;" the "electricity swindle;" and electoral politics in Brawley. Throughout his activist career, Yellen identified multiple levels on which the large land owners exploited the common people of Imperial Valley. He repeatedly argued that simple enforcement of the 160 acres limitation was insufficient to curtail the power of the big growers. He doggedly maintained and propagated his beliefs through three and a half decades of letter-writing, as evidenced in this collection. He wrote letters to national political figures regularly in attempts to garner their attention to the local situation. He frequently wrote to people who were featured in newspaper articles, as well as the authors of articles he found interesting. Running throughout this correspondence are recurring solicitations to lawyers to work on his various cases, although he was largely unsuccessful and undertook many of his later causes pro per. He also wrote continual solicitations to authors and television programs to visit Imperial Valley and publicize the story. In these letters, and others, he lamented what he saw as the persecution of his right to free speech by local authorities. He maintained extended correspondence with a few private figures including George Ballis, Charles Smith, John Chappell, and his lawyer, Arthur Brunwasser.

B) Lawsuits: Legal documents from U.S. vs Imperial Irrigation District, Ben Yellen vs Walter J. Hickel, and smaller related cases including Ben Yellen vs Thomas Story, Ricky Macken, and the City of Brawley. Yellen initiated this legal effort after he was arrested while distributing his pamphlets at the 1984 Cattle Call Parade. This suit marked the culmination of Yellen's struggle with the City of Brawley over his free speech rights to distribute his pamphlets unmolested. Arranged chronologically.

C) Western Water: Reports and writings about western water issues. Much of the material is government documents and reports specifically related to the Reclamation law and its applicability to the Imperial Valley. There is also a collection of documents and pamphlets from different western water projects such as the Palo Verde Irrigation District, the Coachella Valley, the Central Valley Salton Sea, the San Joaquin Valley, the Metropolitan Water District, the Salt River Project and other Arizona projects, and the Colorado River Dam. Yellen amassed notable, although incomplete, runs of Western Water News (1960-1995) and the National Farmers Union Washington Newsletter (1964-1991). Likewise, Yellen saved newsletters and small publications from the California Agrarian Action Project (1980-1984), the California Farm Consumer Reporter (1965-1973), California Homeowner (1963-1971), National Land for People (1976-1985), Sharecropper (1972-1974), and the National Sharecropers' Fund (1971-1984).

D) Electricity: Includes Imperial Irrigation District electricity rate schedules and pamphlets (1962-1989), as well as similar information for the Tennessee Valley Authority (1967-1992).

E) Imperial Irrigation District: Yellen's nemesis in his political activism was the Imperial Irrigation District, which controlled the distribution of water and electricity in Imperial Valley and was in turn controlled by the large growers. This subseries includes IID documents including audit reports (1960-1964), annual reports (1963-1990), maps, the IID publication District News (1960-1974), and publications made by other pro-big farmer groups, including pamphlets specifically attacking Yellen.

F) Political Campaigns: Examples of Yellen's political advertisements, as well as advertisements from other local campaigns, mostly dating from the 1960s.

G) Imperial County and the City of Brawley: Assorted materials, including descriptions of and fiscal data about Imperial County; the minutes of the Brawley Town Council for the years he served as a councilman (1964-1968); and correspondence internal to the city about a variety of matters such as promotions in the police and fire departments, and planning projects.

Correspondence

Box: 7 Folder: 6
undated
Box: 7 Folder: 7
1959-1960
Box: 7 Folder: 8
1961 January - July
Box: 7 Folder: 9
1961 August - December
Box: 8 Folder: 1
1962
Box: 8 Folder: 2
1963 January - July
Box: 8 Folder: 3
1963 August - December
Box: 8 Folder: 4
1964 January - May
Box: 8 Folder: 5
1964 June - December
Box: 8 Folder: 6
1965 January - September
Box: 8 Folder: 7
1965 October - December
Box: 9 Folder: 1
1966 January - April
Box: 9 Folder: 2
1966 May -December
Box: 9 Folder: 3
1967 January - July
Box: 9 Folder: 4
1967 August - December
Box: 9 Folder: 5
1968 January - July
Box: 9 Folder: 6
1968 August - December
Box: 10 Folder: 1
1969 January - April
Box: 10 Folder: 2
1969 May - December
Box: 10 Folder: 3
1970
Box: 10 Folder: 4
1971
Box: 10 Folder: 5
1972
Box: 10 Folder: 6
1973-1974
Box: 11 Folder: 1
1975-1976
Box: 11 Folder: 2
1977 January - September
Box: 11 Folder: 3
1977 October - December
Box: 11 Folder: 4
1978
Box: 11 Folder: 5
1979 January - May
Box: 11 Folder: 6
1979 June - December
Box: 12 Folder: 1
1980 January - June
Box: 12 Folder: 2
1980 July - December
Box: 12 Folder: 3
1981-1984
Box: 12 Folder: 4
1985
Box: 12 Folder: 5
1986
Box: 12 Folder: 6
1987
Box: 12 Folder: 7
1988
Box: 12 Folder: 8
1989
Box: 13 Folder: 1
1990
Box: 13 Folder: 2
1991
Box: 13 Folder: 3
1992
Box: 13 Folder: 4
1993
Box: 13 Folder: 5
1994
Box: 13 Folder: 6
Yellen's research notes, undated

Lawsuits

Box: 13 Folder: 7
People of the State of California vs. Ben Yellen, 1965 - 1966

Regarding his assault on Richard Sharp on November 15, 1965.

Box: 13 Folder: 8
Ben Yellen vs. Jack Bryant, Lom Tompkins et al., 1960

Suit against Imperial Irrigation District to enforce Reclamation Law.

Box: 13 Folder: 9
Ben Yellen vs. Orville L. Freeman, Secretary of Agriculture, et al., 1967
Box: 13 Folder: 10
Betty Girth et al. vs. Raymond L. Thompson, Imperial Irrigation District, 1969

Case seeking application of 'one man, one vote' rule in Imperial Valley division boundaries.

United States vs. Imperial Irrigation District
Box: 13 Folder: 11
United States vs. Imperial Irrigation District, 1967-1974
Box: 14 Folder: 1
Requests to enter the suit, 1967
Box: 14 Folder: 2
Affidavits in support of motion, 1971
Box: 14 Folder: 3
Imperial Irrigation District et al. vs. Ben Yellen et al., 1975 - 1979
Box: 14 Folder: 4
Imperial Irrigation District et al. vs. Ben Yellen et al., 1979
Ben Yellen et al. vs. Walter J. Hickel, Secretary of the Department of Interior
Box: 14 Folder: 5
1970 - 1972
Box: 14 Folder: 6
1973
Box: 14 Folder: 7
United States vs. Tulare Lake Canal Company, Brief of Ben Yellen and others, 1974
Box: 14 Folder: 8
Ben Yellen vs. Calderon, Jaham, and Osborn, et al., 1986

Regarding improper accounting practices in IID annual reports.

Box: 14 Folder: 9
Ben Yellen et al. vs. U.S. District Court for the Southern District of CA, 1972

Appeal of Ben Yellen et al vs. Walter J. Hickel.

Box: 14 Folder: 10
Ben Yellen et al. vs. Rogers C. B. Morton, Secretary of the Interior, et al., 1972
Box: 14 Folder: 11
Jack Bryan et al. vs. Ben Yellen et al., 1980

Countersuit opinion.

Box: 14 Folder: 12
Benjamin L. Yellen vs. E.O. Steimle, et al., 1967

Suit for civil rights damages against the Brawley Elementary School District.

Box: 15 Folder: 1
City of Brawley vs. Benjamin Louis Yellen, 1966 - 1969

Regarding non-payment of his business license tax.

Box: 15 Folder: 2
Charles Warren vs. Ben Yellen, 1963 - 1964

Regarding defamation of character in one of Yellen's newsletters.

Box: 15 Folder: 3
People of the State of California vs. Benjamin Louis Yellen, 1960

Regarding a disturbance at a bus station.

Yellen vs. Story, Macken, and the City of Brawley
Box: 15 Folder: 6
1986
Box: 15 Folder: 7
1987
Box: 15 Folder: 8
1988
Box: 15 Folder: 5
Depositions of Yellen and Macken, 1985
Box: 15 Folder: 4
Lawsuit regarding his arrest for distributing pamphlets on November 10, 1984

Western Water

Box: 15 Folder: 9
Department of Interior, 1923 - 1970

Correspondence regarding Reclamation Law.

Box: 15 Folder: 10
All-American Canal Contract, amendments and supplements, 1932
Box: 15 Folder: 11
Landownership, operating tenure, and non-resident landlords, 1942
Box: 15 Folder: 12
Pamphlets advocating enforcement of the Reclamation Law, 1947 - 1987
Box: 16 Folder: 1
Landowners and acres owned in Imperial Valley, 1969 - 1977
Box: 16 Folder: 2
Applicability of the excess land laws to Imperial Irrigation District , 1962 - 1964
Box: 16 Folder: 3
Interior Solicitor's Decision that IID lands are subject to the Reclamation Law , 1964
Box: 16 Folder: 4
Congress should reevaluate the 160-acre limitation on land, 1972

Bureau of Reclamation report.

Box: 16 Folder: 5
Department of Agriculture reports on the application of the Reclamation Law, 1978
Box: 16 Folder: 6
Interim Report, acreage limitation, Department of Interior, 1980
Box: 16 Folder: 7
Water conservation opportunities. Imperial Irrigation District, 1984
Reclamation repayments and payout schedules
Box: 17 Folder: 1
1902 - 1957
Box: 17 Folder: 2
1965
Box: 17 Folder: 3-5
Power and Land in California, The Ralph Nader Task Force - Volume 1, 1971
Box: 17 Folder: 6
Power and Land in California, The Ralph Nader Task Force - Volume 2, 1971
Box: 18 Folder: 1
Power and Land in California, The Ralph Nader Task Force - Volume 2, 1971
Box: 18 Folder: 2
Testimony of various people about the Reclamation Law, 1948 - 1978
Box: 18 Folder: 3
Articles by Paul Taylor on Reclamation law, 1950 - 1973
Box: 18 Folder: 4
Paul Taylor's testimony before various government agencies, 1961 - 1974
Box: 18 Folder: 5
Articles about California water and agriculture, 1956 - 1985
Box: 18 Folder: 6
Adams, Peter, 1971

The Politics and Economics of the Acreage Limitations of the Federal Reclamation Project.

Box: 18 Folder: 7
Barnett, Paul, Imperial Valley: The Land of Sun and Subsidies, 1978
Box: 18 Folder: 8
Smith, Charles - Anti-Monopoly Water Law Bibliography, 1966
Palo Verde Irrigation District
Box: 19 Folder: 1
Annual report, 1957
Oversize: FB-016 Folder: 1
Map showing district irrigation system and proposed adjacent development, 1967 January 1
Coachella Valley
Box: 19 Folder: 2
Pamphlets, 1964 - 1977
Oversize: MC-053-02
Coachella Valley County Water District boundary map, 1965
Box: 19 Folder: 3
Orange County, California groundwater, 1966 - 1967
Box: 19 Folder: 4
Salton Sea pamphlets, 1977 - 1990
Box: 19 Folder: 5
San Luis Unit, Central Valley Project, 1962
Box: 19 Folder: 6
Central Valley Project, Special Task Force Report, 1978
Box: 19 Folder: 7
San Joaquin Valley, California, undated

Lawsuit to enforce Reclamation Law.

Box: 19 Folder: 8
Projections of California Agriculture to 1980 and 2000, 1970
Box: 19 Folder: 9
Thirty-five chart examples of questionable land transactions, 1975
Box: 19 Folder: 10
Metropolitan Water District and the Imperial Irrigation District, 1970 - 1985
Box: 20 Folder: 1
Salt River Project, Phoenix AZ, 1966
Box: 20 Folder: 2
Arizona Water Projects, 1964 - 1974
Box: 20 Folder: 3
Boulder Canyon Project, 1932

Contract between the United States and the Imperial Irrigation District.

Box: 20 Folder: 4
Colorado River Dam and irrigation pamphlets and essays, 1966 - 1993
Box: 20 Folder: 5
Yuma Irrigation Project map, 1949
Box: 20 Folder: 6
Waterlog: Newsletter of the Working Alliance to Equalize Rates, 1979 - 1984
Western Water News
Box: 20 Folder: 7
1960 - 1969
Box: 20 Folder: 8
1970 - 1979
Box: 20 Folder: 9
1980 - 1995
National Farmers Union Washington Newsletter
Box: 20 Folder: 10
1964 - 1969
Box: 20 Folder: 11
1970 - 1979
Box: 21 Folder: 1
1980 - 1985
Box: 21 Folder: 2
1990 - 1991
Box: 21 Folder: 3
California Agrarian Action Project, 1980 - 1984
Box: 21 Folder: 4
California Farm Consumer Reporter, 1965 - 1973
Box: 21 Folder: 5
California Home Owner, 1963 - 1971
National Land for People
Box: 21 Folder: 6
Annuals, 1976 - 1983
Box: 21 Folder: 7
Bulletins, 1976 - 1985
Box: 21 Folder: 8
Sharecropper, Washington News Reports, 1972 - 1974
Box: 21 Folder: 9
Rural Advance National Sharecroppers Fund, 1971 - 1984
Box: 21 Folder: 10
Subsidies, 1963 - 1984
Box: 22 Folder: 1
Tax Assessment and Equalization, 1958 - 1966
Box: 22 Folder: 2
Ben Yellen vs. Equalization Board of Imperial County. Petition regarding real property assessments, 1964
Oversize: FB-016 Folder: 2
Valuations and tax rates tables and assessor's map for Imperial County, 1964-1970
Box: 22 Folder: 3
Financing California's Public Schools by property tax equalizatization, 1964

Electricity

Box: 22 Folder: 4
Imperial Irrigation Dsitrict Power Department Cost Allocation and Rate Study. Report to Board of Directors , 1978
Box: 22 Folder: 5
Imperial Irrigation District electricity rate schedules, 1962 - 1981
Box: 22 Folder: 6
Imperial Irrigation District electricity pamphlets, 1963 - 1989
Oversize: MC-053-03
Power facilities maps, 1966, 1972
Box: 22 Folder: 7
Tennessee Valley Authority pamphlets, 1963 - 1973
Box: 22 Folder: 8
Tennessee Valley Authority electricity sales statistics, 1967 - 1992
Box: 22 Folder: 9
Murray, Keith, The Power Without, 1964

Imperial Irrigation District

Box: 22 Folder: 10
Information on Imperial Valley Acreage Limitation Problem , undated
Oversize: MC-053-02
Maps, 1959-1980
Box: 22 Folder: 11
Board of Directors, minutes and reports, 1961 - 1980
Audit Reports
Box: 22 Folder: 12
1960
Box: 23 Folder: 1
1961
Box: 23 Folder: 2
1963
Box: 23 Folder: 3
1964
Box: 23 Folder: 4
Consolidated Balance Sheet, 1977
Box: 23 Folder: 5
Annual inventory of crops receiving water, 1974 - 1989
Annual Reports
Box: 23 Folder: 6
1963 - 1969
Box: 23 Folder: 7
1970-1979
Box: 23 Folder: 8
1980 - 1990
Box: 23 Folder: 9
Agriculture Reports, 1962 - 1980
Box: 23 Folder: 10
Pamphlets, 1962 - 1980
Oversize: MC-053-01
Tract index map, 1964
Oversize: FB-016 Folder: 3
Water Transportation: Hoover Dam to User, 1958

Diagram illustrating the delivery of water from the Hoover Dam to an irrigated field in Imperial County.

Box: 24 Folder: 1
Miscellaneous materials, undated
Box: 24 Folder: 2
Articles of Incorporation, 1955
Box: 24 Folder: 3
Imperial Resources Associates, 1965 - 1977

This group was organized to fight the effort against the enforcement of the Reclamation Law limits.

Box: 24 Folder: 4
Call for Fairness Newsletter, 1977 - 1979

Newsletter of groups opposing Yellen's efforts to enforce the Reclamation Law.

Box: 24 Folder: 5
Pamphlets and an essay attacking Yellen and defending the interests of big farms , 1962 - 1977
District News - Imperial Irrigation District publication
Box: 24 Folder: 6
1960 - 1965
Box: 24 Folder: 7
1966 - 1974

Political Campaigns

Box: 24 Folder: 8
Yellen's campaign statements, 1964 - 1968
Box: 24 Folder: 9
Yellen's statements of qualifications, 1970 - 1972
Box: 24 Folder: 10
Yellen's political advertisements and newsletters, 1980 - 1993
Oversize: MC-053-04
Political posters, 1982 June
Oversize: FB-016 Folder: 4
Grower's Soliloquy, undated
Box: 24 Folder: 11
Advertisements for local candidates, 1963 - 1990
Box: 24 Folder: 12
Statements by Imperial Valley candidates, 1966 - 1978
Box: 24 Folder: 13
Miscellaneous materials, 1960 - 1970
Box: 24 Folder: 14
Pamphlet, 1950

Yellen used this pamphlet to defend his right to distribute his newsletters in automobiles.

Imperial County and the City of Brawley

Box: 24 Folder: 15
Imperial County, undated
Box: 24 Folder: 16
Imperial Valley Farmers' Association Annual Report, 1960
Box: 24 Folder: 17
Imperial County Farm Bureau membership list, 1961 - 1962
Box: 24 Folder: 18
Agriculture, 1965 - 1985
Box: 24 Folder: 19
Imperial Valley Weather Summary, 1965 - 1989
Box: 25 Folder: 1
Agricultural Reports, 1964 - 1990
Box: 25 Folder: 2
Crops Guidelines to Production Costs and Practices, 1982 - 1983
Box: 25 Folder: 3
Imperial County tourist guide, 1960 - 1970
Box: 25 Folder: 4
Economic Opportunity Commission, 1968
Box: 25 Folder: 5
City of Imperial Directory - Clubs, Organizations, and Offices, 1972
Box: 25 Folder: 6
Schools - financial and statistical report, 1961 - 1962
Box: 25 Folder: 7
Analysis of economic potential, 1962
Box: 25 Folder: 8
Preliminary budget, 1961 - 1962
Box: 25 Folder: 9
Final budget and final report, 1961 - 1962
Box: 26 Folder: 1
Proposed budget, 1964 - 1965
Box: 26 Folder: 2
Local government budgets, 1965 - 1966
Final budget and financial statement
Box: 26 Folder: 3
1964 - 1966
Box: 26 Folder: 4
1965 - 1967
Box: 26 Folder: 5
1966 - 1968
Box: 27 Folder: 1
1968 - 1970
Box: 27 Folder: 2
Welfare Department annual report, 1968 - 1970
Box: 27 Folder: 3
Elections and reapportionment - Brawley meeting, 1963
Box: 27 Folder: 4
Tax payer's compaints about Brawley schools, 1962
Box: 27 Folder: 5
Schools, 1967 - 1968
Oversize: MC-053-05
Town and county maps, 1943 - 1965
Brawley City Council
Box: 27 Folder: 6-7
Agendas and minutes, 1960-1964 September
Box: 28 Folder: 1-5
Agendas and minutes, 1964 October-1966
Box: 29 Folder: 1-3
Agendas and minutes, 1967-1968
Box: 29 Folder: 4
Report upon examination of accounts, 1963 - 1967
Box: 29 Folder: 5
Statement of receipts, 1964 - 1968
Box: 29 Folder: 6
Statement of receipts and expenditures, 1964 - 1967
Box: 29 Folder: 7
City Treasurer's monthly reports, 1964 - 1968
Box: 30 Folder: 1
Salaries and retirement plans, 1964 - 1967
Box: 30 Folder: 8-10
Correspondence, reports and agreements, undated, 1964-1965
Box: 31 Folder: 1-3
Correspondence, reports and agreements, 1966-1968
Box: 30 Folder: 2
Monthly report of Brawley police department, 1965 - 1968
Box: 30 Folder: 3
Official statement inviting bids on $215,00 bonds, 1964
Box: 30 Folder: 4
City report on water system, 1962
Box: 30 Folder: 5
Brawley city master plan, 1966
Box: 30 Folder: 6
Brawley re-use valuation and financial feasibility analysis of downtown, 1966
Box: 30 Folder: 7
Brawley Plaza East development project report, 1967
Box: 31 Folder: 4
Municipal payment to Imperial Irrigation District for water, 1973
Box: 31 Folder: 5
City business licenses, 1984
Box: 31 Folder: 6
Cattle Call, 1987
Box: 31 Folder: 7
Yellen's certificate of election as Brawley City Councilman, 1964
Box: 31 Folder: 8
Plaque commemorating Yellen's term on the Brawley City Council, 1964 - 1968

MEDICAL ISSUES

Scope and Content of Series

SERIES 4: MEDICAL ISSUES. Arranged in two subseries: A) Correspondence and B) Medical Malpractice Suit.

A) Correspondence: Beginning in the 1940s, Yellen wrote numerous letters to medical journals and other doctors explaining and advocating his habit of compounding prescriptions, that is, writing complex prescriptions patients or pharmacists would put together as substitutes for more expensive packaged brand name drugs. In fact, his first crusade was against the pharmaceutical manufacturers who charged high prices for drugs he compounded cheaply. Within this subseries are letters reflecting the day-to-day nature of his medical practice, as well as his relationship with other physicians in the area. Arranged chronologically.

B) Medical Malpractice Suit: In December of 1981, Yellen's insistence on compounding drugs got him into trouble when a two-year old boy died in his care. This subseries includes correspondence and materials relating to Travis Kavanaugh vs Ben Yellen, and Yellen's subsequent countersuits. Legal documents relating to these proceedings are included.

Some files in subseries B) Medical Malpractice Suit are restricted.

Correspondence

Box: 31 Folder: 9
Yellen, Ben, "A Doctor Addresses His Colleagues", 1948

NARD Journal articles written by Yellen about compounding prescriptions.

Box: 31 Folder: 10
Undated
Box: 31 Folder: 11
1948, January - July
Box: 31 Folder: 12
1948, August - December
Box: 31 Folder: 13
1949
Box: 32 Folder: 1
1950-1955
Box: 32 Folder: 2
1956-1959
Box: 32 Folder: 3
1960-1969
Box: 32 Folder: 4
1970-1973
Box: 32 Folder: 5
1974-1975
Box: 32 Folder: 6
1976-1979
Box: 32 Folder: 7
1980-1981
Box: 32 Folder: 8
1982-1983
Box: 32 Folder: 9
1984
Box: 32 Folder: 10
1985
Box: 33 Folder: 1
1986
Box: 33 Folder: 2
1987
Box: 33 Folder: 3
1988-1991

Medical Malpractice Suit

Correspondence
Box: 33 Folder: 4
undated
Box: 33 Folder: 5
1982
Box: 33 Folder: 6
1983 January - September
Box: 33 Folder: 7
1983 October - December
Box: 33 Folder: 8
1984
Box: 33 Folder: 9
1985
Box: 33 Folder: 10
1986
Box: 34 Folder: 1
1987
Box: 34 Folder: 2
1988
Box: 34 Folder: 3
1989-1992
Box: 34 Folder: 4
Yellen's expulsion from the Imperial Valley Medical Society, 1959
Travis Kavanaugh et al. vs. Benjamin Yellen, et al
Box: 34 Folder: 5
1982 - 1983
Box: 34 Folder: 6
Investigation documents, 1982-1983

Includes hospital records and coroner's report.

Restrictions apply

Box: 34 Folder: 7
1984
Box: 34 Folder: 8
1986-1988
Board of Medical Quality Assurance accusation against Yellen
Box: 35 Folder: 1-8
Transcript - Volume 1-9, 1983
Legal documents
Box: 36 Folder: 1
1983
Box: 36 Folder: 2
1983 - 1985
Box: 36 Folder: 3
1987

Petition for the reinstatement of his revoked certificate to practice medicine.

Box: 36 Folder: 4
Ben Yellen vs. American Medical Association, 1988 - 1989
Box: 36 Folder: 5
Ben Yellen vs. Robert Thompson, 1985 - 1986

Charges Thompson with stealing his patients, outgrowth of the malpractice suit.

Box: 36 Folder: 6
Ben Yellen vs. Dan Latendresse, 1985 - 1987

Charges Latendresse as an employee of the Borad of Medical Quality Assurance with conspiring to defraud Yellen of his medical license.

Box: 36 Folder: 7
State Education Department of New York disciplinary proceeding against Yellen, 1988 - 1989

Revoking and reinstating his license to practice medicine in New York.

Box: 36 Folder: 8
Ben Yellen vs. Pioneers Memorial Hospital et al., 1988 - 1989

Countersuit to his malpractice suit.

Box: 36 Folder: 9
Ben Yellen vs. Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals, et al., 1989 - 1990

Charges fraudulent advertising, supression of free speech and free press regarding his malpractice case.

BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS

Scope and Content of Series

SERIES 5) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL: Contains select documents, such as a copy of Yellen's birth certificate, photographs, a folder of personal correspondence, and a collection of secondary articles about him including a transcript of his appearance on the television show 60 Minutes in 1973.

Box: 37 Folder: 1
Transcripts - 60 Minutes featuring Ben Yellen and "Western Water" the McNeil/Lehrer Report

Volume V, Number 7. January 14, 1973, and January 3, 1978

Box: 37 Folder: 2
Biographical and educational data, 1935 - 1985
Box: 37 Folder: 3
Birth certificate, passport, international drivers license, etc
Box: 37 Folder: 4
Magazine articles about Yellen, 1964 - 1990
Box: 37 Folder: 5
Personal correspondence, 1950 - 1993
Box: 37 Folder: 6
Photographs
Box: 37 Folder: 7
Yellen Family genealogy

Accession Processed in 2006

YELLOWSHEETS AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Scope and Content of Series

SERIES 6) YELLOWSHEETS AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: A small sampling of the pamphlets and letters Yellen produced for public consumption. They are particularly notable for the attacks Yellen undertook against prominent politicians and residents of Imperial Valley. Arranged chronologically.

Box: 38 Folder: 1
Yellowsheets, 1962 - 1990
Box: 38 Folder: 2
Voice of the People and Speak Out, 1977 - 1990

FARMWORKERS

Scope and Content of Series

SERIES 7) FARMWORKERS: Primarily Yellen's correspondence on behalf of braceros in Imperial Valley, as well as a few medical records. Arranged in alphabetical order.

Some files in this series are restricted.

Box: 38 Folder: 3
Correspondence, 1959 - 1974
Box: 38 Folder: 4
Correspondence, 1953 - 1963

Restrictions apply

Box: 38 Folder: 5
Medical records - A, 1958

Restrictions apply

Box: 38 Folder: 6
Medical records - L, 1955

Restrictions apply

Box: 38 Folder: 7
Medical records - M, 1962

Restrictions apply

Box: 38 Folder: 8
Medical records - Q, 1963

Restrictions apply

Box: 38 Folder: 9
Receipts and notes regarding lawsuits on behalf of braceros, 1958
Box: 38 Folder: 10
Society for the Alleviation of Poverty - Founding and correspondence, 1973 - 1976

WATER AND RELATED POLITICAL ACTIVITIES

Scope and Content of Series

SERIES 8) WATER AND RELATED POLITICAL ACTIVITIES: Includes samples of Yellen's correspondence, in addition to receipts. The receipts provide a hint at the amount of money Yellen spent on such things as paper for printing yellowsheets, and radio and newspaper advertising during his campaigns for political office. Arranged in alphabetical order.

Correspondence
Box: 38 Box: 11
1960-1969