Harold E. Saunders

Captain Harold Eugene Saunders, USN, (1890-1961), was the leading hydrodynamicist in the United States in the mid 20th century. He is best known for the 3-volume book, Hydrodynamics in Ship Design, of which the first two volumes appeared in 1957 and the third, posthumous volume, was published in 1965, by the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, New York (SNAME).

Earlier in his career, then Commander Saunders published, for the Navy's Bureau of Construction and Repair, C and R Bulletin No. 7, The Prediction of Speed and Power of Ships by Methods in Use at the United States Experimental Model Basin Washington, Government Printing Office, [Washington: 1933] . The title of this book refers back to Adm. David W. Taylor's better known Speed and Power of Ships (1910).

Saunders spent much of his career at the Portsmouth (NH) Navy yard, engaged in submarine design and construction. In 1927-28 he was salvage officer in charge of raising the submarine S-4 which sank off Cape Cod following a collision. For this work he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

Saunders was a member of the first and second Byrd expeditions to Antarctica, serving as geographer. The Saunders Ice Shelf is named for him.

During World War II Saunders directed construction of the experimental model basin at the Naval Postgraduate School, Annapolis. It was a state of the art facility, until closed by the Base Closure and Alignment Commission in the 1990's.

Saunders is still often cited as an authoritative source on the resistance and propulsion of ships, especially naval ships. A number of his published works appear in the list of references in SNAME's Principles of Naval Architecture. The American Society of Naval Engineers presents the annual Harold E. Saunders award in his honor.


*Principles of Naval Architecture, edited by John P. Comstock, Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, [New York: 1967]
*Library of Congress Card Catalog No. 67-20738

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