Lawrence D. Fairbairn was born November 6, 1897, in Hamilton, Montana. His parents were of Scottish ancestry. Fairbairn obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from Washington State University and a Master of Education from Central Washington University.
Fairbairn was a public school teacher for twelve years in Washington. He also spent twenty-five years with the Bureau of Indian Affairs under the U.S. Department of the Interior, where he served as a teacher on five Indian reservations. In 1962, Fairbairn retired from federal service and moved to Hemet, California, where he served as a substitute teacher with the Hemet Unified School District. It was during this time that he researched and arranged forty audio-visual programs which make up the majority of his collection.
Fairbairn's accomplishments included travels to various parts of Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong as well as the United States. Fairbairn completed a publication entitled The Way It Was in which he related his years spent as a teacher on five Indian reservations. Fairbairn was a member of Masonic Lodge, the Scottish Rite Bodies and the Abu-Bekr Shrine Temple Brass Band Unit.
Lawrence D. Fairbairn died May 5, 1991, in Riverside, California.
The Lawrence D. Fairbairn Papers (1943-1985) have been divided into three series:
Series 1: Audio-Visual Presentations
Series 2: The Way It Was
Series 3: Miscellaneous