Washington Lee Capps United States

Biography of Washington Lee Capps

Washington Lee Capps, graduation signature, DSc 1912
Washington Lee Capps, graduation signature, DSc 1912

Washington Lee Capps graduated BSc from the University of Glasgow in 1888, and DSc in 1912. He became Rear Admiral of the United States Navy.

Capps was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1864. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1884, and subsequently became a junior naval officer in the US Navy. In 1886, he matriculated at the University of Glasgow to study Engineering, attending classes in Naval Architecture, Natural Philosophy, Civil Engineering and Mechanics, for which he won several prizes.

After graduating in BSc in 1888, Capps returned to America where he was appointed Assistant Naval Contractor. He held many notable positions throughout his life; as Constructor of the Navy, and Chief of the Bureau of Construction and Repair (1903-1910), contributing to innovations in warship design. By 1903 he had been honored as a Rear Admiral, and during the Great War was appointed senior member of the Navy Compensation Board as well as General Manager of the US Shipping Board's Emergency Fleet Corporation.

Capps continued with his academic study, and in 1912, graduated once again from the University this time with a DSc for his thesis Foreign comments on United States battleship design (and other papers).

Capps remained on active duty until his death in Washington DC in 1935. His contribution to the United States Navy is exemplified in his final resting place, Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, and the naming of two WWII ships in his honour.


Other Online Resources

Printed Materials

  • W. Stewart, 'Admirals of the World: A Biographical Dictionary, 1500 to the Present', McFarland & Company, Inc., 2009, p.60

Archival Materials

  • R1/6/1 Graduation Albums DSc1890-1987
  • R3/1/1 Dates of Birth of Graduates Vol II
  • R4/5/1 Schedule of Graduates in Science (BSc)
  • R8/5/5/2 Male Matriculations 1884-88
  • SEN 10/29 University Calendar 1887-88
  • SEN10/30 University Calendar 1888-89


Washington Lee Capps
Born 31 January 1864.
Died 31 May 1935.
GU Degrees: BSc, 1888; Science and Engineering, 1; DSc, 1912; Science and Engineering,
University Link: Alumnus, Graduate
Occupation categories: military; naval architects
English snippet: Rear Admiral of the United States Navy
Record last updated: 22nd Oct 2014

Country Associations

United States United States, Portsmouth, Virginia
Place of Birth

United States United States, Washington, DC
Place of Death

University Connections

University Roles