Scope and Content
Call Number: SC0381
Durand, William Frederick, 1859-1958
Title: William F. Durand papers
1.25 Linear feet
Language(s): The materials are in English.
Department of Special Collections and University Archives
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6064
Phone: (650) 725-1022
Information about Access
Ownership & Copyright
Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain
permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections and University
[Identification of item], William F. Durand Papers (SC0381). Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford
University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.
William F. Durand, known as the Dean of American engineering, joined the Stanford University faculty in 1904, serving as professor
and head of the Mechanical Engineering Department until his retirement at age 65 in 1924; he held the position of Professor
Emeritus until 1958.
Durand, a 1880 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, began his teaching career at Michigan State College in 1887; in
1891 he joined the Cornell University faculty, teaching in the School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering.
Although his early research was in marine engineering, Durand was best known for his contributions to the science of aeronautics,
specifically the development of the first variable pitch propeller. He was an original member of the National Advisory Committee
on Aeronautics, serving from 1915 to 1933, and again during World War II, when he helped organize the work being done on jet
Durand was professionally active well into his 80s. After his retirement from Stanford, he continued his research on airplane
propellers, making use of Stanford's wind tunnel. He served several terms as president of the American Society of Mechanical
Engineers and Sigma Xi. He was a member of a federal advisory board concerned with the Colorado River and Hoover Dam; and
he worked with the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics
Scope and Content
The papers of William F. Durand date from 1893 to 1958; included with them are some biographical and scientific writings by
others that relate to Durand dating to 1979. the papers primarily concern his research in engineering and aeronautics. They
include correspondence, manuscripts, typescripts, research notes, reports, reprints, clippings, photographs (including some
of damage to Stanford buildings from the 1906 earthquake), memorabilia, and a copy of his published autobiography. The correspondence
consists mostly of carbon copies of outgoing letters from 1943 1to 1945 concerning publications, aeronautical research, recommendations,
professional affiliations, Stanford University affairs, and some personal news.
Durand is also represented in three other collections within the Department of Special collections. Papers concerning design
and construction of dams, M0144, contains one folder of Durand's papers concerning Boulder Dam, 1935. Science and scientists,
M0133, contains several letters between Durand and R. Giacomelli, 1930. University records relating to Durand can be found
in SC 064a, the presidential papers of Ray Lyman Wilbur.
Stanford University. Department of Mechanical Engineering. -- General subdivision--Faculty.;