Guide to the Papers of William W. Sayre

Prepared by Demi R. Ball and Patricia J. Rettig
Colorado State University Water Resources Archive
A joint effort of the University Libraries and the Colorado Water Center
Copyright 2019 Colorado State University. All rights reserved.
Finding aid encoded in EAD Version 2002 by Patricia J. Rettig, 2019.
Creator: Sayre, William W., 1927-
Title: Papers of William W. Sayre
Dates: 1949-1981
Quantity: 9 linear feet (6 record cartons)
Identification: WSAY
Abstract: Civil engineer William Sayre (1927-1981) contributed significant scientific research about sediment transport and turbulent flows. He spent the majority of his career working for the U.S. Geological Survey as a research hydrologist and the University of Iowa as a professor of hydraulics and water-resources engineering. The collection consists mainly of articles, reports, and handwritten notes, along with correspondence, presentations, teaching materials, and research data.
Contact Information: Water Resources Archive
Archives and Special Collections
Morgan Library
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1019 USA
Phone: 970-491-1844
Fax: 970-491-1195
Restrictions on Access
There are no access restrictions on this collection. However, it is stored off-site, so advance notice is required.
Restrictions on Use
Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the Colorado State University Libraries online catalog. Researchers seeking materials about related subjects, persons, organizations, or places should search the catalog using these headings.
  • Civil engineering.
  • Sediment transport.
  • Fluid dynamics.
  • Sayre, William W., 1927-
  • Colorado State University. Department of Civil Engineering.
  • University of Iowa. Department of Civil Engineering.
  • Geological Survey (U.S.)
  • Missouri River.
  • Egypt.
  • Colorado.
  • Iowa.
Civil engineer William Sayre contributed significant scientific research about sediment transport and turbulent flows. He spent the majority of his career working for the U.S. Geological Survey as a research hydrologist and the University of Iowa as a professor of hydraulics and water-resources engineering.
William Whitaker Sayre was born in 1927 in New York City, New York. Sayre earned his bachelor's degree from Princeton University in basic engineering (1949). He met his wife, Rakel, in Germany in 1950. They married in 1951 and moved back to the United States where he worked as a civil engineer in Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado. Employers included the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Indian Irrigation Service, and the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Eventually, Sayre resumed his education at Colorado State University (CSU), earning his master's degree in irrigation engineering (1957) and doctorate in civil engineering with an emphasis in hydraulics (1967). Sayre worked as a researcher in civil engineering at CSU (1958-1962) until he became a Ph.D. student. From 1962 through 1968, Sayre worked for the U.S. Geological Survey conducting research in the Water Resources Division. His research on sediment transport and open channel flow influenced his Ph.D. dissertation, "Dispersion of Mass in Open-Channel Flow."
In 1968, Sayre moved to Iowa to work as an engineering professor at the University of Iowa (UI) until 1980. During this time, he served as Acting Director of the Institute of Hydraulic Research (1972-1973) and Acting Chairman of the Department of Mechanics and Hydraulics (1973-1974). Sayre also served as one of the eleven members of the water resources delegation to the People's Republic of China in 1974, helping create and develop new hydraulic projects to improve water resource development. In 1979 he was a consultant to the Egypt Water Use and Management Project, assisting in pilot projects to help with irrigation development and water savings. He left UI to return to the U.S. Geological Survey and Colorado in 1980.
Sayre received recognition for his research and scientific contributions throughout his career. He received the Walter L. Huber Research Award (1966), the St. Anthony Falls Hydraulic Laboratory Straub Award for Outstanding Thesis (1967), and the J.C. Stevens Award (1970) from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
After moving to Lakewood, Colorado, Sayre died of a heart attack on October 6, 1981. Sayre and his wife, Rakel, had four sons, Joel, Simon, Daniel, and Roger.
The Papers of William W. Sayre consists of documents dated 1949 to 1981. The collection includes large amounts of material from his time as a graduate student in civil engineering at Colorado State University and as an engineering professor at the University of Iowa. It briefly covers his work for other employers, including the United States Geological Survey, and his research regarding sediment transport and turbulent flows, but it is not comprehensive. Materials from Sayre's teaching and professional activities include his global committee work, research, conferences and workshops he attended, as well as some of his published work. A limited quantity of personal materials is also present.
Preferred Citation

Papers of William W. Sayre, Water Resources Archive, Colorado State University.


The Papers of William W. Sayre was created in October 2008 by removing the materials from the Papers of Maurice L. Albertson. Dr. Albertson inherited the materials after Sayre died.


Processing was completed in July 2019. Sayre organized much of his work into blue cloth binders; all of this was removed and inserted in acid-free folders. Paperclips and binder clips were removed. Loose items were foldered and labeled based on contents. Some school materials were discarded, as were some sets of research data, especially if they were without identification, and duplicates beyond two copies. Also discarded were general publications not by Sayre, thesis drafts, peer reviews he wrote, and a graduation tassel. Information about students in Sayre's classes was removed for privacy reasons. The collection was reboxed in acid-free boxes.

Related Collections

On the topic of teaching and researching hydraulic engineering, the Papers of Maurice L. Albertson is related. Also, the Papers of Everett V. Richardson has related topics of civil engineering, work for the U.S. Geological Survey, and international work in Egypt. The Papers of Daryl B. Simons contains a folder on Sayre as a student.

Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed. Estimated pagination is preceded by an "e." Two identical copies of the same item are indicated by the phrase "2 copies" at the end of the entry, following the number of pages of each copy.

Series 1: Personal files, 1951-1967, 1981 and undated (0.25 linear feet)

This series consists of personal documents relating to Sayre's professional and university life. Materials include certificates, professional literature, employment information, and his Colorado State University diplomas. It is arranged in alphabetical order by folder title.
Box Folder
1 1 [Certificates]. 1956, 1958, 1967, 1981. 4pp.
1 2 Curriculum Vitae. undated. 16pp.
1 3 [Diplomas]. 1957, 1967. 16pp.
Includes graduation programs, photographs, and letters.
1 4 [Montana employment information]. 1952-1954. 12pp.
1 5 Personnel Actions. 1955-1957. e20pp.
1 6 Personnel Literature. 1955-1958. e30pp.
1 7 [Professional engineer exam materials]. 1958, undated. e60pp.
1 8 [Sigma Xi membership materials]. 1955-1956. e30pp.
1 9 Time sheets and personal file. 1951-1953. e50pp.

Series 2: Graduate school, 1949-1967 and undated (2 linear feet)

This series consists of class materials from Sayre's time in graduate school. It includes handwritten notes, syllabi, and assignments. Folder titles include CSU course codes for each class. Topics include civil engineering and agriculture with an emphasis in soil and hydrology. The series is arranged chronologically by year, with undated folders at the end.
Box Folder
1 10 CE 285: Irrigation Project Planning. 1949-1955. e100pp.
1 11 CE 154: Drainage. 1954. e70pp.
1 12 CE 150: Intermediate Fluid Mechanics. 1954. e30pp.
1 13 CE 110: Soil Mechanics. 1954. e70pp.
1 14 CE 252: Design of Irrigation Structures (Conveyance). 1955. e70pp.
1 15 CE 260: Erosion and Sedimentation Problems. 1955, 1960. e150pp.
1 16 CE 262: Ground Water Development. 1955. e50pp.
1 17 CE 165: Hydrology. 1955. e150pp.
1 18 CE 30: Theory of Structures. 1955. e30pp.
1 19 CE 166: Advanced Hydrology. 1956. e70pp.
1 20 CE 254: Design of Irrigation Structures. 1956. e50pp.
1 21 CE 153: Operation and Management of Irrigation Systems. 1956. e30pp.
1 22 AG 102: Soil Chemistry. 1956. e30pp.
1 23 AG 103: Soil Physics. 1956. e50pp.
1 24 CE 130: Theory of Indeterminate Structures. 1956. e30pp.
1 25-27 CE 293: Applied Statistics in Hydrology. 1962. e200pp.
Includes papers by fellow students.
2 1-2 CE 155: Experimental Methods in Fluid Mechanics. 1962-1965. e200pp.
2 3 Grad School. 1962-1967. e20pp.
2 4-5 CE 228-229: Mechanics of Viscous Fluids. 1962-1963. e150pp.
2 6 CE 272: Unit Operations of Sanitary Engineering. 1965. e30pp.
2 7 Final Design Report: North Platte Project. undated. 6pp.
2 8 CE 252: Open Channel Transitions. undated. e50pp.

Series 3: Teaching, 1968-1979 and undated (3 linear feet)

This series consists of Sayre's teaching materials from his engineering classes while a professor at the University of Iowa. It includes lectures, homework problems, lesson plans, student papers, exams, and teaching feedback. Some files include projector slides Sayre would have used in his lectures. Major topics include irrigation, water power engineering, river control, and sediment dispersion. The series is arranged alphabetically by folder title.
Box Folder
2 9 [Course Descriptions and Faculty Information]. 1978. e30pp.
2 10-11 [Dynamic Systems Analysis I]. 1977. e200pp.
2 12 [Dynamics]. 1979. e30pp.
2 13 [ENG 540 Teaching Feedback]. 1976-1977. 14pp.
2 14 Environmental Dispersion Processes. 1977. e200pp.
2 15-20 [Environmental Dispersion Processes]. 1970-1977. e800pp.
3 1-5 [Flow in Open Channels]. 1968-1969, 1976. e600pp.
3 6 [Hydraulic Design]. 1970. e200pp.
3 7 [Hydrodynamic Aspects of Water Pollution]. 1969. e20pp.
3 8 Irrigation and Drainage. 1975. e200pp.
3 9 Irrigation and Drainage. 1976. e30pp.
3 10-11 [Mechanics of Fluid and Transfer Processes]. 1970-1971. e300pp.
3 12-13 [Mechanics of Solids]. 1973. e200pp.
3 14-21 [Principles of Design II]. 1971-1973. e300pp.
4 1 River Control and Water Power Engineering. 1977. e100pp.
4 2 [River Control and Water Power Engineering Exams]. 1975. e20pp.
4 3 [River Control and Water Power Engineering]. undated. e100pp.
4 4 [River Morphology Class reports]. 1975. e40pp.
4 5 Seminar on Jobson's Thesis. undated. e40pp.
4 6-8 [Statistics]. 1979. e100pp.
4 9 [Teaching correspondence]. 1968-1972. 14pp.
4 10 [USGS Workshop on Measurement of Suspended Sediment Transport in Ice-Covered Alluvial Streams]. 1975. e20pp.
4 11 [Water Budget Lecture]. undated. 7pp. 2 copies

Series 4: Writings, 1960-1980 and undated (1.5 linear feet)

This series consists of Sayre's published papers, drafts, and reports. They span his work at the U.S. Geological Survey and publications that contributed to his overall research of open-channel and turbulent flows, contributions for which he is known. Other topics include sediment dispersion in the Missouri River and models for sediment transportation. The series is arranged chronologically by year, with undated materials at the end.
Box Folder
4 12 The Effect of Roughness Spacing in Rigid Open Channels. 1960. e40pp.
Includes article on topic and conference notes.
4 13 Uptake and Transport of Radionuclides by Stream Sediments. 1963. 20pp.
4 14 Exploratory Laboratory Study of Lateral Turbulent Diffusion at the Surface of an Alluvial Channel. 1964. 14pp.
4 15 Sand Transport Studies with Radioactive Tracers. 1964. 16pp. 2 copies
4 16 Application of Radioactive Tracers in the Study of Sediment Movement. 1965. 7pp.
4 17 Transport and Dispersion of Labeled Bed Material: North Loup River, Nebraska. 1965. e40pp.
4 18 Determination of Longitudinal Dispersion Coefficients in Open Channel Flow. 1966. 14pp.
4 19 A Laboratory Investigation of Open-Channel Dispersion Processes for Dissolved, Suspended, and Floating Dispersants. 1966, 1968. e50pp.
4 20 Flow Measurements with Fluorescent Tracers. 1967. 6pp.
4 21 Dispersion of Mass in Open-Channel Flow. 1968. e80pp.
4 22 The Mechanics of Dispersions in Natural Streams. 1968. 8pp.
4 23 Dispersion of Silt Particles in Open Channel Flow. 1969. e60pp.
4 24 [IUTAM [International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics] Symposium: Flow of Fliud-Solid Mixtures]. 1969. e50pp.
Includes a summary of "An Experimental Investigation of Vertical Mass Transfer Processes in Turbulent Open-Channel Flow" by Sayre and Harvey E. Jobson. Also contains correspondence and other symposium information.
4 25 Measurement of Mixing Characteristics of the Missouri River Between Sioux City, Iowa, and Plattsmouth, Nebraska. 1970. 20pp. 2 copies
4 26 Predicting Concentration Profiles in Open Channels. 1970. 15pp. 2 copies
4 27 Simulation of Effects of Waste Treatment on the Quality of Water in the Simple River Basin System. 1970. e20pp.
4 28 Vertical Transfer in Open Channel Flow. 1970. 12pp. 2 copies
4 29 Longitudinal Dispersion of Bed-Material Particles. 1971. 10pp.
4 30 Stochastic Model for Sand Dispersion. 1971. 16pp.
4 31 Transport and Dispersion of Fluvial Sediments and some Math Models and Their Verification by Tracer Methods. 1971. 28pp.
4 32 Statistical Properties of Missouri River Bed Forms. 1972. 12pp.
4 33 Longitudinal Dispersion in Sinuous Channels. 1973. 12pp. 2 copies
4 34 Natural Mixing Processes in Rivers. 1973. 18pp.
4 35 Tracer Techniques in Sediment Transport. 1973. 12pp. 2 copies
4 36 Vertical Temperature Profiles in Open Channel Flow. 1975. 9pp. 2 copies
Includes a discussion of his paper.
4 37 Transverse Mixing in Natural Channels. 1975-1976. e30pp.
4 38 Proposed Model Tests for Diffuser Pipe System for Discharging Wastewater From Clinton Film Plant into Beaver Slouth. 1976. 20pp.
4 39 Hydrologic Transport of Radionuclides. 1977-1978. e30pp.
4 40 The Stream-Tube Model for Two-Dimensional Solute Transport in a Steady Nonuniform Channel Flow. 1979-1980. e60pp.
4 41 Canal Discharge Measurements with Radioisotopes. undated. 4pp.
4 42 General Two-Dimensional Stochastic Model for the Transport and Dispersion of Bed-Material Sediment Particles. undated. 4pp. 2 copies
4 43 Waste Heat and the Environment. undated. 20pp.

Series 5: Research, 1954-1981 and undated (2.25 linear feet)

This series consists of Sayre's research notes and data, as well as some articles he collected and a few papers sent to him by colleagues. Materials include correspondence, handwritten notes, graphs, and drawings. Also here are workshops he participated in at the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies and on Computer Aided System Simulation and Analysis and Design at the University of Houston. There is a grouping of materials from Sayre's involvement in the Egypt Water Use and Management Project. The series is arranged chronologically by year, with undated materials at the end.
Box Folder
4 44 Earth Dams. 1954-1957. e20pp.
4 45 L.C.C.L. Tractive Force General Relationships. 1957. 13pp.
4 46-49 [Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies]. 1959-1960. e200pp.
Includes instruction manuals, certificates, notes, proposals, reports, and photographs.
4 50 [Radioisotope Techniques School - Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies]. 1960. e100pp.
4 51 [The Dispersion of Matter in Turbulent Pipe Flows]. 1960-1970. e30pp.
4 52 [CSU research involvement and correspondence]. 1961. 4pp.
4 53 Lograngian Similarity Hypothesis. 1962, 1968. e20pp.
4 54 Evaluation of Ez(z) from Data. 1965. e20pp.
5 1 The Count Rate Balance Methods of Measuring Sediment Mass Flows by Radioactive Tracers. 1966-1968. e20pp.
5 2 Aziz F. Eloubaidy. 1966-1968. e40pp.
5 3 Longitudinal dispersion data for the Missouri River between Sioux City, Iowa, and Plattsmouth, Nebraska for the period of Novemeber 13-16, 1967. 1967. e60pp.
Includes drafts, notes, and correspondence.
5 4 Plate-Gessler-NSF Project. 1967. 3pp.
5 5 Aeration at Weirs. 1967, undated. e30pp.
5 6 Vertical Dispersion Continuous Source at W.S. 1967-1968. e40pp.
5 7 O.M. Phillip's Eddy Diffusion Theory. 1967-1969. e30pp.
5 8 Straub Award Colloquium. 1968. e30pp.
Sayre was on the committee for this dissertation.
5 9 IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] Panel on Tracers in Sedimentology Paris, June 1971. 1969-1972. e30pp.
5 10 [On River Meanders]. 1970. e40pp.
5 11 Potential Energy and Stream Morphology. 1970. e70pp.
5 12 Multiple Tracer Experiment #1: Analysis of Data. 1970. e40pp.
5 13 Computer Aided System Simulation and Analysis and Design [CASSAD]. 1970. e100pp.
5 14 [CASSAD University of Houston]. 1970. e200pp.
5 15 P.C. Chatwin articles and discussion. 1970-1972. e40pp.
5 16 Courtois-Sauzay Paradox. 1971. e40pp.
5 17 [International Symposium on Stochastic Hydraulics]. 1971. e50pp.
5 18 Thermal Pollution Technical Notes. 1971-1973. e30pp.
5 19 [U.S. Water Resources Delegation Transcription]. 1974. e30pp.
5 20 Minimum Unit Stream Power and Fluvial Hydraulics. 1974-1975. e70pp.
5 21-23 Victor Stacy et al. vs Natural Gas Pipeline Co. 1974-1977. e400pp.
Includes statements, data, maps, and photographs.
5 24 Influence of Buoyancy on Dispersion in Open-Channel Flow. 1976. e20pp.
5 25 Iowa Water Resources Research Symposium 11/11/76. 1976. e80pp.
5 26 Transverse mixing of heated effusion. 1976. e50pp.
5 27 Thermal Plume Mathematical Model for Fort Calhoun Nuclear Generating Station Unit No. 1. 1977. e20pp.
5 28 Workshop on the Evaluation of Models Used for the Environmental Assessment of Radionuclide Releases. 1977. 5pp.
5 29 [Development of a Numerical Model of Lateral Mixing Process in the Missouri River]. 1977-1978. e50pp. including photographs
5 30 National Program in Irrigation and Drainage. 1978. e30pp.
6 Egypt Water Use and Management Project [EWUMP].
6 1 El Hammami Water Budget. 1978-1979. e20pp.
6 2 El Minya. 1978-1979. e20pp.
6 3 Kafr El-Sheikh Water Budget. 1978-1979. e30pp.
6 4 Mansouria. 1978-1979. e70pp.
6 5 [EWUMP correspondence]. 1979. e30pp.
6 6 [EWUMP logs and observations]. 1979. e80pp.
Includes letters from Sayre's wife.
6 7-8 [EWUMP TDY report]. 1979. e200pp.
6 9 [EWUMP notes]. 1979. e30pp.
6 10 Kafret Nassar. 1979. e70pp.
6 11 Preliminary Soil Survey Report for the Beni Magdoul and El Hammami Areas. 1979. e30pp.
6 12 Relevant Background, Project Reports, and descriptions, etc. 1979, undated. e100pp.
6 13 [EWUMP materials]. 1979-1980. e30pp.
6 14 Sutron Report. 1978-1979. e60pp.
Includes data and correspondence related to "Mathematical model of the lateral and longitudinal mixing processes in open channels" as well as several papers by Sayre.
6 15 Assessment of Dredge Disposal Related Water Quality Problems. 1979. e30pp.
Draft paper with Tso-Ping Yeh.
6 16 [Dr. Liu correspondence]. 1979. e60pp.
6 17 Hydraulic Conductivity and Consumptive Use. 1979. e30pp.
6 18 Toxic Substances Models for the Upper Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. 1979. e30pp.
6 19 Multiport Diffuser Mixing Zones. 1980. e300pp.
6 20 [Denver Interagency Workshop Materials - Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies]. 1980-1981. e30pp.
6 21 [Transverse Mixing of Heated Water in Open Channels drafts]. 1981. e60pp.
6 22 Evaluation of Utility Monitoring and Preoperational Hydrothermal Modeling at Three Nuclear Power Plant Sites. undated. 21pp.
6 23 [Jet Characteristics Data]. undated. 19pp.
6 24 Prediction of Mean Step Length. undated. 11pp.
6 25 Results of Simultaneous Particle Tracing Experiments. undated. e30pp.