Rodman W. Paul, 74; Western Historian Taught at Caltech

Wild West historian Rodman W. Paul, whose work focused on California mining and agriculture history, has died at his Los Angeles-area home. He was 74 and had served for 40 years on the faculty of the California Institute of Technology.

Paul, a research scholar at the Huntington Library, wrote several books, including “California Gold: The Beginning of Mining in the Far West,” “Mining Frontiers of the Far West, 1848-1880" and “The Far West and the Great Plains in Transition, 1859-1900.”

Paul, who died Friday, was the Edward S. Harkness professor emeritus of history at Caltech and twice received the Excellence in Teaching Award from his students.

Born in Philadelphia, Paul was educated at Harvard University, where he eventually became assistant dean of Harvard College. He was a past chairman of the National Archives Advisory Council in Washington and served on the boards of the Pasadena and Santa Barbara historical societies. He also was a fellow of the California Historical Society and received its Henry R. Wagner Memorial Award in 1984 for his books on California history.