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Papers of James F. Ruff

Identifier: WRUF

Scope and Contents

The Papers of James F. Ruff consists of documents dated 1928 to 2015, with the bulk falling from 1964 to 1997. The focus of the collection is the research and consulting work Dr. Ruff conducted throughout his career, including while with Banner Associates and independently for the North Poudre Irrigation Company and other clients, locally and internationally. Additionally, the collection documents more minimally Ruff's teaching as well as his career overall including his own learning and publications. Ruff's predominant subject areas were scour, dam safety, and hydraulic models. The collection includes reports, articles, letters, drawings, maps, newspaper clippings, reference materials, data, slides, photographs, videotapes, and computer media.


  • Creation: 1928-2015
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1964-1997


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.


Jim Ruff had a long career as a civil engineering professor and consultant with a focus on hydraulic engineering. He worked at Colorado State University and travelled the world for consulting projects.

James F. Ruff was born in 1937. He earned B.S. degrees in both electrical (1959) and civil (1964) engineering from Colorado State University (CSU), as well as an M.S., also in civil engineering (1967). From there, he went on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to earn his civil engineering Ph.D. (1970). He soon returned to CSU where he was a professor of civil engineering for more than thirty years. He taught both graduate and undergraduate courses in hydraulic engineering. His own research focused on stepped spillways, dams, riprap and scour protection for bridge piers, and more. He was also a significant contributor to the Hydraulics Laboratory at CSU's Engineering Research Center.

During his career, Ruff was professionally active in a number of ways, including being a registered professional engineer in both Colorado and Wyoming. He was a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a member of the U.S. Committee on Irrigation, Drainage and Flood Control, serving as president from 1997 to 2000. Ruff published extensively in the areas of hydraulic model studies, riprap, and scour.

Following retirement from CSU, Ruff worked as a consultant to Ayres Associates. He had consulted throughout his career, including for projects in Peru, Somalia, the Dominican Republic, Spain, Belize, and Egypt. Domestically, he consulted in Colorado, Wyoming, and Arizona. He took a 3.5-year leave of absence from CSU in the early 1980s to be the Civil Engineering Department director and vice president of Banner Associates, a consulting firm in Laramie, Wyoming. Ruff consulted for the North Poudre Irrigation Company in the late 1970s and again in the mid-1980s.

Jim and his wife Walta had one son, Michael, and live in Fort Collins.


17.25 linear feet (9 record cartons, 3 document boxes, 3 photograph boxes, 1 flat file)

Language of Materials



Jim Ruff (b. 1937) had a long career as a civil engineering professor at Colorado State University and as a consultant with a focus on hydraulic engineering. The collection documents Dr. Ruff's teaching, research, consulting work, and publications. The collection includes reports, articles, letters, drawings, maps, newspaper clippings, reference materials, data, slides, photographs, videotapes, and computer media.


The donations comprising the collection arrived with little organization. Materials were arranged into the following series and subseries, chiefly by material type.

The collection consists of 5 series in 15 boxes and a flat file:

Series 1: By Ruff, 1965-2001 and undated

Series 2: Personal materials, 1959-1999 and undated

Series 3: Teaching materials, 1975-1993 and undated

Series 4: Research and consulting projects, 1928, 1964-2015 and undated

Subseries 4.1: Papers, 1964-2015 and undated

Subseries 4.2: Oversize, 1928, 1969-1996 and undated

Series 5: Visual and media materials, 1950-2010 and undated

Subseries 5.1: Photographs, 1954-2003 and undated

Subseries 5.2: Slides, 1950-1997 and undated

Subseries 5.3: Videotapes, 1989-2004 and undated

Subseries 5.4: Computer media, 1985-2010


The Papers of James F. Ruff was donated to the Water Resources Archive by James and Walta Ruff in December 2015, with five additions in 2019, four additions in 2020, and one in 2021.

Related Collections

The Records of the North Poudre Irrigation Company contains extensive information about Halligan Dam. The North Poudre Irrigation Company Oral History Collection contains recordings from the early 1990s. The Papers of Everett V. Richardson and the Papers of Daryl B. Simons both document the study and teaching of hydraulics at CSU in the same time period.


Processing of the original portion of the collection was completed in November 2018. Loose materials were inserted in acid-free folders and all materials were reboxed in acid-free boxes. Some metal fasteners were removed, and slides and most photographs were inserted in archival sleeves. Some common reference materials were removed from the collection. Processing of the 2019 and 2020 additions was completed in June 2021. Many of the same actions were taken. In addition, report drafts were removed from consulting projects, and court documents were removed from the expert witness files. Some duplicate and draft oversize materials were removed, as were some mass-produced videotapes and disks of software. The 2021 addition was incorporated in September 2021.

Inventory Note

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

Guide to the Papers of James F. Ruff
Edited Full Draft
Prepared and revised by Patricia J. Rettig
Copyright 2021
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