Karl Josef Pelzer

Karl Josef Pelzer


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 Tropics.

He died at his home in North Haven, Connecticut at the age of 71.

From: “Karl J. Pelzer Is Dead; Professor Was Expert On Land Use in Asia” THE NEW YORK TIMES, November 12, 1980   View article

Council on Southeast Asia Studies, Yale University, records
Manuscripts and Archives
Sterling Memorial Library
The records consist of correspondence, subject files, student and faculty files, and printed material documenting Professor Harry 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.