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Papers of Daryl B. Simons

Identifier: WDBS

Scope and Contents

The Papers of Daryl B. Simons consists of documents dated 1868 to 2005, with the bulk falling from 1950 to 1990. The materials were either created or collected by Simons in relation to his research and work. Materials relate to many of the organizations Simons worked for and are largely grouped in that way. Organizations include the United States Geological Survey; Colorado State University; Simons, Li and Associates; Simons and Associates; and D. B. Simons and Associates. A sizable but incomplete representation of Simons' copious published articles and monographs is also in the collection and covers such subjects as hydraulics, sediment transport, and alluvial channels. There are also files related to some of Simons' research projects, from proposals to raw data to drafts and the final reports. Those best documented concern the Mississippi River and Pakistan/Bangladesh. A small portion of personal files is included as well. Predominant material types include reports, articles, books, proposals, correspondence, data, maps, notes, clippings, photographs, slides, negatives, audiotapes, and film reels. Additional materials await processing.


  • Creation: 1868-2005
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1950-1990


Restrictions on Access

Some files in Series 2, Subseries 2, Student files (boxes 2-3) are closed to everyone except the student named; however, access will be granted upon having written consent from the student or providing written proof that the student is deceased. Also, the collection 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.


With a professional career spanning 55 years, Daryl B. Simons was an internationally recognized expert in the fields of hydraulics, hydrology, geomorphology, river mechanics, sediment transport, and hydraulic modeling. His innovative teaching and research while professor of civil engineering at Colorado State University (CSU) and his supervision of hundreds of water-related projects around the world have contributed to this international reputation.

Daryl Baldwin Simons was born February 12, 1918, in Payson, Utah. He remained in Utah for the majority of his education, earning both a B.S. (1947) and an M.S. (1948) in civil engineering from Utah State University. Service in the U.S. Army interrupted his undergraduate education from April 1943 to September 1946 and included time as a unit commander in the Corps of Engineers.

Following his education in Utah, Simons became a professor of civil engineering at the University of Wyoming. During his time there, he earned a Ph.D. (1957) in civil and irrigation engineering from CSU. Upon completion, he took a position as project chief with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Fort Collins. The position involved conducting research in fluvial hydraulics with an emphasis on erosion and sedimentation, river mechanics, and resistance to flow in alluvial channels.

Simons left the USGS in 1963 when hired as a professor of civil engineering at CSU, where he taught classes on erosion and sedimentation, river mechanics, and hydraulic structures. He was also the head of the River Mechanics and Hydraulics Program and was in charge of all research in civil engineering. In 1965, his position changed to associate dean of engineering research, director of the Engineering Research Center (ERC), and associate director of the Experiment Station as well as professor of civil engineering. Simons retained all four positions until 1983 when he began a transitional retirement, continuing to conduct research at CSU. The period of Simons' leadership was marked by great growth and development for CSU's engineering college, largely due to Simons:

"In his dual capacity as associate dean and head of ERC, Simons organized the infrastructure of staff, accounting, purchasing, and maintenance facilities necessary to support a full-scale research operation. He also demonstrated an extraordinary ability to attract projects and carried a full load of graduate advisees during the next twenty years." (Ann Hilfinger, One Hundred Years of Engineering at Colorado State University, p. 52)

Simons began doing independent consulting following the completion of his Ph.D., becoming involved in consulting projects for the United Nations, the World Bank, other international groups, and many federal and state government agencies. His first project involved designing the Link Canals to redistribute water between India and Pakistan. Other locations for his work have included Egypt, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, many South American countries including Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Ecuador as well as much of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The projects have involved "hydrology, hydraulics, flood control, river geomorphology, sediment transport, mathematical modeling, expert systems, water quality, environmental analysis, navigation, routing pollutants, litigation, etc." ( Who's Who in Engineering, 1995, p. 687).

In 1979, Simons began his first consulting firm, Simons and Li Engineering, with Ruh-Ming Li. They changed the name in 1980 to Simons, Li and Associates, bringing in other people to work with them. By the time Simons left in October 1984, the firm employed approximately one hundred people. Much of the firm's work related to river mechanics, erosion and sedimentation, and mathematical modeling of alluvial systems. The firm did extensive work for the Corps of Engineers, mostly focusing on the Mississippi River, the Ohio River, the Missouri River, and the Colorado River. This included development of a short course on geomorphology and river mechanics, a two-dimensional mathematical model for the upper Mississippi River, and several short films illustrating the dynamics of the river.

Simons formed a new firm in October 1984, Simons and Associates, Inc., and worked there as principal engineer through December 1997. Starting in January 1998, he was the principal engineer at another new firm, D.B. Simons and Associates, Inc., from which he retired in June 2004.

Simons wrote or co-wrote over 445 papers, was the co-author of five textbooks, and contributed chapters to other books. He was a registered Professional Engineer in Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nebraska. His society affiliations included the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID), the International Association for Hydraulic Research (IAHR), and the American Geophysical Union (AGU). Simons also served on many committees for these groups. He was the recipient of the ASCE 1960 J.C. Stevens Award, the ASCE 1964 Croes Award, the ASCE 1991 Hunter Rouse Award, and co-recipient of the ASCE 1979 Karl Emil Hilgard Hydraulic Prize. In 1973 he was named Outstanding Professional Engineer for Colorado.

Daryl Simons married Irene May Beck (1921-1984) in 1944 and they had three sons: Robert K., Paul R., and Stephen R. He married Mary Jo Ricker Bell in 1985. Dr. Simons died in Fort Collins on March 13, 2005. A detailed resume and a complete bibliography for Simons can be found in the collection file.


131.5 linear feet (82 record cartons, 3 document boxes, 5 flat boxes, 4 other boxes)

Language of Materials



Daryl B. Simons (1918-2005) was an internationally recognized expert in the fields of hydraulics, hydrology, geomorphology, river mechanics, sediment transport and hydraulic modeling. His innovative teaching and research while professor of civil engineering at Colorado State University (CSU) and his supervision of hundreds of water-related projects around the world contributed to this international reputation. Materials in the collection relate to many of the organizations Simons worked for, including the U.S. Geological Survey; CSU; Simons, Li and Associates; Simons and Associates; and D. B. Simons and Associates. Most of Simons' numerous publications are also in the collection as are files related to Simons' research projects. Those best documented concern the Mississippi River and Pakistan/Bangladesh. Predominant material types include reports, articles, books, proposals, correspondence, data, notes, clippings, and photographic materials. Some student files are restricted.


The materials in the collection have been completely rearranged, as they arrived in disorder. They have been grouped into series, mostly according to stages in Simons' career, and then, if needed, divided by subject or material type. Accessions added to the original collection have been integrated in the inventory but remain housed separately.

The collection consists of 9 series in 94 boxes:

Series 1: United States Geological Survey, 1957-1966

Series 2: Colorado State University, 1901, 1933-1999 and undated

Subseries 2.1: Teaching materials, 1933-1999 and undated

Subseries 2.2: Student files, 1958-1983 and undated

Subseries 2.3: Conferences and committees, 1964-1996 and undated

Subseries 2.4: Administrative files, 1901, 1950-1992 and undated

Subseries 2.5: Consulting, 1962-1981 and undated

Series 3: Simons, Li and Associates, 1967-1997 and undated

Series 4: Simons and Associates, 1868-1998 and undated

Series 5: Writings and speeches, 1954-2000 and undated

Subseries 5.1: Articles, 1957-2000 and undated

Subseries 5.2: Monographs, 1954-1993 and undated

Subseries 5.3: Speeches, 1960-1996 and undated

Series 6: Research papers, 1878-1998 and undated

Subseries 6.1: Proposals, 1968-1983 and undated

Subseries 6.2: Rejected proposals, 1973-1980 and undated

Subseries 6.3: Data, 1950-1979 and undated

Subseries 6.4: Research files, 1940-1998 and undated

Subseries 6.5: Reference files, alphabetized, 1931-1990 and undated

Subseries 6.6: Reference files, categorized, 1878-1998 and undated

Series 7: Visual and audio materials, 1933-2000 and undated

Subseries 7.1: Photographic materials, 1938-2000 and undated

Subseries 7.2: Other materials, 1933-1996 and undated

Series 8: D. B. Simons and Associates, 1969-2002 and undated

Series 9: Personal files, 1946-2005 and undated


The Papers of Daryl B. Simons was acquired by the Water Resources Archive in June 2002, after having been stored at the Engineering Research Center on CSU's Foothills Campus for a number of years. In May and June 2003, major additions to the collection were received from Daryl and Mary Jo Simons.


The main appraisal criterion for all accessions was that materials had to relate directly to Daryl Simons or his work in order to be retained. Books, federal government publications, journal issues, and CSU publications not of a unique or rare nature were not retained. These items from the first accession went through the normal library selection process to be added to the main stacks. Such items from later accessions were reviewed for addition to Special Collections as appropriate. Duplicates of reports and reprints were not retained past a second copy, and unidentified partial drafts were discarded. The page proofs for Simons' textbook Sediment Transport Technology were not retained as they seemed identical to the printed copy. Many drafts of Simons' articles were not retained. Also, the printing negatives and originals for the Bhowmik dissertation and Wend thesis were discarded, as was a set of slides, photographs, and negatives from an unidentified 1975 experiment. Among the materials related to the consulting firms, generally only the materials directly related to the projects were kept, not extraneous materials from the contracting agencies or publications by others.

Related Collections

A number of reports by Simons can be found in the Papers of Whitney M. Borland. Also, Borland's report about his trip to Fort Collins to discuss Simons' Ph.D. thesis can be found in his travel reports (Series 3, Subseries 1). Overlapping research and college/university matters can also be found in the collections of Everett V. Richardson and Maurice L. Albertson.

Separated Collections

Simons' files on the annual Bridge Engineering Conference held by CSU's Department of Civil Engineering were transferred to the University Archives, along with two files on the summer surveying camp held by the same department. Simons did not seem to be directly involved in either of these activities, other than speaking at the conference one year, but probably had the files in relation to his role of associate dean.


The processing of the original portion of collection was completed in June 2003. As the materials were being rearranged, they were inserted in acid-free folders as needed. The majority of metal fasteners were removed and replaced with plastic clips as needed. All rubber bands and most self-stick notes were removed. Ditto sheets were removed when the duplicated pages existed. When Social Security Numbers were found on various papers, the SSNs were blacked out, the pages were then photocopied, and the originals were destroyed. Newspaper clippings were inserted between sheets of acid-free paper. Loose photographs, slides, and negatives were separated to the last series and inserted in archival sleeves, envelopes, or folders. The film reel was housed in its own archival box.

Processing of the 2003 additions was completed in December 2012. Many of the same actions were taken, along with reboxing the original portion of the collection. Some series or subseries were minimally processed. Confidential and privileged materials were removed. Nitrate negatives were scanned and safely discarded. Additional materials remain to be processed.

Inventory Note

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.

Guide to the Papers of Daryl B. Simons
Edited Full Draft
Prepared and revised by Patricia J. Rettig
Copyright 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA