Karl Pelzer was born in Oberpleis, Germany, 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
He died at his home in North Haven, Connecticut at the age of
"Karl J. Pelzer Is Dead; Professor Was Expert On Land Use
in Asia" THE NEW YORK TIMES, November 12, 1980
Council on Southeast Asia Studies, Yale
Sterling Memorial Library
The records consist of correspondence, subject files, student
and faculty files, and printed material documenting Professor
J. Benda's directorship of the Southeast Asia Studies program
at Yale. Also included are files of Karl J. Pelzer, chairman
of the Council on Southeast Asia Studies.