C. L. Sonnichsen, Grassroots Historian

By on February 24, 2012

The UTEP Library’s Special Collections is named for C. L. Sonnichsen, a long-time English professor known by many of his friends and former students as “Doc.”  He came to El Paso in 1931 after doctoral studies at Harvard to teach at the Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy, as UTEP was known then.  Although he taught English literature, he called himself a “Grassroots Historian.” Books that Dr. Sonnichsen donated to the Library form the core of the Western Fiction collection.  The Library also holds Dr. Sonnichsen’s papers, including many of his research files.  A finding aid (or guide) to the papers is online at http://libraryweb.utep.edu/special/finding_aids/MS141_Sonnichsen.pdf.

An oral history interview with Dr. Sonnichsen is available online at http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/interviews/673/.

Claudia Rivers is the head of the C.L. Sonnichsen Special Collections Department of the UTEP Library. She earned both her BA and MLIS degrees at the University of Texas at Austin, and worked at the Benson Latin American Collection there before coming to El Paso in 1992. Her interests include the history of the Southwest and Mexico, ancient Meso-America, and detective fiction.