Charles Leland Sonnichsen was born on September 20, 1901 to Henry Matthew and Mary Hults Sonnichsen in Fonda, Iowa. Sonnichsen received his Ph.D. in English from Harvard University in 1931 and accepted a teaching job at the College of Mines and Metallurgy in the English department that same year. He taught at UTEP until his retirement in June 1972. During his tenure in the Southwest, Sonnichsen was the President of the Texas Folklore Society (1935-1936), President of the Western Literature Association (1966), President of the Texas Association of Graduate Schools (1966-1967), Sheriff of the El Paso Remuda of the Westerners (1967), President of the Western Writers of America (1977), President of the Western History Association (1966), and a member of the Executive Council of the Southwestern Literature Association. He also authored several classic histories of El Paso. The C. L. Sonnichsen Papers, span dates 1861-1991, bulk 1921-1991, consist primarily of research materials, correspondence and manuscripts dealing with the books Sonnichsen wrote over a fifty year period. Included are correspondence, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, photographs, maps, scrapbooks, oral history interviews, research notes, theses, pamphlets, cassette and magnetic tapes, notecards, published material, personal materials that deal mostly with his education and teaching experience, and awards.