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William Frederick Durand U.S.S. Mayflower Journal of Practice Cruise, 1879: Finding Aid

Published in May 2009

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
  • Call number: MS 348
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: William Frederick Durand U.S.S. Mayflower Journal of Practice Cruise
  • Dates: 1879
  • Size: 0.21 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 half-manuscript box
  • Creator: Durand, William Frederick, 1859-1958
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: William Frederick Durand, United States Naval Academy Class of 1880, was a noted marine and aeronautical engineer. His U.S.S. Mayflower Journal of Practice Cruise spans from June until August 1879 and is an account of the Naval Academy's First Class summer practice cruise aboard the screw tug U.S.S. Mayflower.

Biographical Sketch of William Frederick Durand

William Frederick Durand was born on March 5, 1859 in Beacon Falls, Connecticut to parents William Leavenworth Durand and Ruth Coe Durand. In 1876, Durand was appointed to the United States Naval Academy, graduating with the Class of 1880, ranked second out of a class of 17 cadet engineers. Durand's subsequent naval career saw him serve out in the fleet aboard U.S.S. Tennessee (frigate), and ashore with the Bureau of Steam Engineering, as Inspector of Engineers at Morgan Iron Works, and as an instructor at Lafayette College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Durand resigned from the U.S. Navy in 1887.

Following his resignation, Durand turned to a career in academia, initially accepting the chairmanship of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Michigan State College. In 1891, he became head of the newly formed graduate school of Marine Engineering at Cornell University, where his research focused on logarithmic cross-section, radial planometry, and screw propeller development. From 1904 to 1924, Durand served as the Head of Stanford University's Department of Mechanical Engineering. While at Stanford, Durand's focus began to shift from naval to aeronautic architecture, focusing primarily on aircraft propeller design. Also during his tenure at Stanford, Durand contributed to the American war effort during World War I, serving in various capacities for the National Research Council, including: Vice-Chairman of the Engineering Committee, member of the Committee for the Detection of Submarines by Acoustic Methods, and member of the Committee for Helium Production. He also helped design the first aircraft supercharger and worked for the organization of aviation ground schools.

In 1924, Durand retired from Stanford University, pursuing a second career of professional and public service. Over the next 21 years, Durand served on the boards and committees of various professional and governmental organizations, including: the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (President, 1924-1925); the national Board of Aeronautic Inquiry (1925); the board of advisers of the Hoover Dam project (1927); U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Consultant, 1927); the Board of Trustees of the Harry F. Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics (1928); the Secretary of the Navy's committee to investigate the losses of the rigid airships Akron and Macon (1935-1937); the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics' special committee on the development of jet propulsion for aircraft (Chair, 1941); and the Engineering Division of the National Research Council during World War II.

Durand was the author or editor of numerous works, including: Fundamental Principles of Mechanics (1889); Resistance and Propulsion of Ships (1898); Practical Marine Engineering (1901); Motor Boats (1907); Hydraulics of Pipe Lines (1921); Encyclopedia of Aerodynamic Theory (editor, 1929); and Adventures: In the Navy, in Education, Science, Engineering, and in War: A Life Story (autobiography, 1953). Durand was also the recipient of various awards and honors, including an honorary doctorate from Lafayette College (1888), the American Society of Engineers medal (1901), the Daniel Guggenheim medal for Aeronautics (1935), the John Fritz medal (1936), the Franklin Institute medal (1938), the J.J. Carty medal (1944), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers medal (1945), the Presidential Award of Merit (1946), and the Wright Memorial Trophy (1948).

William Frederick Durand retired from engineering in 1945, and died on August 9, 1958.

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Description of Contents

The William Frederick Durand U.S.S. Mayflower Journal of Practice Cruise spans from June until August of 1879. The volume, kept by William Frederick Durand, is an account of the First Class summer practice cruise at the United States Naval Academy aboard the screw tug U.S.S. Mayflower.

The first section of the journal (pages 2-159) is composed of daily journal entries, centering primarily on tours of various maritime manufacturing plants and machine shops visited by the midshipmen. The entries focus on methods of production and metal work, such as engine production, copper and iron pipe production, and chain production, and are often accompanied by mechanical drawings. The cruise, which visited ports of call in Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut, toured over a dozen commercial manufacturers, including; Morris Tasker & Co. (June 19), Edge Moor Iron Works (June 23), Lobdell Wheel Works (June 24), J. Morton Poole & Co. (June 25), John Roach & Sons Shipyard (June 27), Chester Steel Co. (July 2), Phoenix Iron Works (July 7), Baldwin Locomotive Works (July 8), William Sellers & Co. (July 9), Bethlehem Steel (July 14), West Point Foundry (July 21), Delamater Iron Works (July 22), and Corliss Engine Works (August 6). The cadet engineers also toured several U.S. Navy ships and shore facilities, including the wooden steamer U.S.S. Galena (June 16), the monitor U.S.S. Colossus (July 25), the screw frigate U.S.S. Tennessee (July 25), the screw frigate U.S.S. Florida (July 28), Norfolk Navy Yard (June 17), and the U.S. Torpedo Station at Goat Island in Newport, Connecticut (August 4). The cadets also received instruction in Zeuner Value Diagrams, electricity, and other aspects of engineering at the University of Pennsylvania (July 3) and Stevens Institute of Technology (July 24).

The remainder of the journal is broken into several smaller sections of notes on various topics. "Examination of Assistant Engineers for promotion including that of cadet engineers" lists required knowledge in mechanics, electricity, heat, hydrodynamics, chemistry, and numerous subsets of mathematics (pages 160-169). "Notes on Boilers" pertains to construction materials, analysis of sea water in various seas, corrosive agents, lay-up instructions, and methods and procedures for cut-off (pages 170-189). Several smaller sections deal with the forging and fitting of shafts and pipes (pages 191-195), pumps (pages 195-202), and pistons (pages 202-203).

The initials of C. H. Manning, Senior Engineer of the Mayflower, and A. V. Zauer, Assistant Engineer, appear in the margins of some daily entries, indicating that they examined the journal. Zauer’s initials in blue pencil, and a note indicating the journal is unfinished, follow the final daily entry for August 28. The journal also features a list of officers and cadet engineers (page 1) and a drawing of the Mayflower affixed to the last page of the journal.

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The William Frederick Durand U.S.S. Mayflower Journal of Practice Cruise comprises a single volume.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The William Frederick Durand U.S.S. Mayflower Journal of Practice Cruise is the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Gift of William Frederick Durand in August 1951.

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Related Materials

Location of Copies or Alternate Formats

William Frederick Durand's journal has been digitized in its entirety. In addition to following the links in the Container List, the materials can be accessed through the USNA Digital Collections at:

Related Archival Material

The William F. Durand Papers, 1893-1979, SC0381 are held by Stanford University's Department of Special Collections and University Archives.

Additional material pertaining to Durand's naval career and time as a midshipman may be found in his Alumni Jacket and Midshipman Conduct Record at Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.

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Processing and Other Information

William Frederick Durand's journal was originally cataloged as part of the Library's General Collection.

Preferred Citation

William Frederick Durand U.S.S. Mayflower Journal of Practice Cruise, MS 348

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

Lowood, Henry. "Durand, William Frederick" (5 Mar. 1859-9 Aug. 1958), in American National Biography, Volume 7, edited by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, 140-141. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in May 2009. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in May 2009. Original guide by Mary R. Catalfamo.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Durand, William Frederick, 1859-1958
  • Mayflower (Screw tug)
  • United States Naval Academy -- Curricula
  • United States Naval Academy -- Midshipmen -- Cruises

Genre Terms

  • Journals (accounts)
  • Manuscripts
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

William Frederick Durand's U.S.S Mayflower Journal of Practice Cruise, 1879 1 volume

Digital copy available at:

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