The Records of the Office of
the Director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
The Data Library
and Archives holds the official correspondence and administrative records
of the Institution's directors. Materials document the history of
the Institution and the work of its directors, scientists, and staff.
Records consist mostly
of correspondence, and also publications, photographs, memoranda, newspaper
articles, ship designs, telegrams, and cruise charts.
the preservation materials used in the processing of this collection was
provided by a Grant-in-Aid from the Friends of the Center for History of
Physics, American Institute of Physics.
|The collection begins with
the files of Henry Bryant Bigelow, often referred to as "the
father of American Oceanography." Dr. Bigelow began his term
in 1930 as the Institution's first Director. His report to the Committee
on Oceanography of the National Academy of Sciences was instrumental in
the formation of the Institution. His materials document the administrative
business of establishing the Institution, as well as his interaction with
scientists and other institutions in the development of collaborative scientific
ties. Records are organized in five series: Administrative; Individuals;
Institutions; Subject files; and Ships.
was succeeded by one of his students, Columbus O'Donnell Iselin,
in 1940. The records of Henry Bigelow and Columbus Iselin, in particular,
document the development of the Institution and the early years of American
oceanography. Iselin, a physical oceanographer and the first master of
the R/V Atlantis, was associated with WHOI for most of his professional
life. The Institution experienced an enormous increase in oceanographic
activity and staff during World War II. Iselin guided WHOI through the
turbulent war years and stepped down in 1950. His materials contain voluminous
correspondence. Records are divided into six series: Administrative; Individuals;
Institutions; Subject Files; Personnel; and Ships. The records of Henry
Bigelow and Columbus Iselin, in particular, document the development of
the Institution and the early years of american oceanography.
and Columbus Iselin
was Edward Hanson 'Iceberg' Smith. Rear Admiral Smith retired from
a distinguished career in the US Coast Guard and directed the Institution
until 1956. Smith's research interest in glaciology earned him the nickname
"Iceberg." His directorship was marked by the growth and development
of the Institution, both in the number of employees and facilities as well
as in scientific endeavors. Smith was noted for the order he brought to
the Institution. He was also instrumental in establishing the Associates
Program, which brought many friends to the Institution and enabled extended
financial support of the Institution's work. His materials are divided
into nine series: Administrative; Contracts; Contract Reports; Individuals;
Institutions; Subject Files; Ships; Equipment; and Personnel. Many of his
materials dated after 1953 were integrated into the files of Director Paul
|While the Institution searched
for a new director to succeed Admiral Smith, Iselin agreed to return to
the directorship between 1956 and 1958, in part due to the importance of
the International Geophysical Year. Iselin convened another significant
study, known as 'Project Nobska', which resulted in the development of
the Polaris submarine. All the files from this period were integrated in
the records of his successor, Director Paul Fye.
Fye served nineteen years as WHOI's fourth director from June 1958
to November 1977. His files constitute the largest of the directors' collections.
Dr. Fye brought a more structured and business-oriented administrative
style to the Institution and clearly favored expansion. During his tenure
he initiated committees, departments, appointments and policies and guided
the Institution through a time of unprecedented growth and development.
In 1968 WHOI became a degree-granting program, with the establishment of
the MIT/WHOI Joint Ph.D. degree Program. Dr. Fye also instituted a new
program in Marine Policy and Ocean Management (now the Marine Policy Center)
in 1970 and the WHOI Sea Grant Program was initiated in 1973 as part of
the National Sea Grant College Program. His files are organized into twenty
series: Executive; Grants & Contracts; Institutions; Reports; Activities;
Individuals; Personnel; Ships & Planes; Administrative; Meeting
File; Committee Reports; President's Task Force; Summer Study; Past Employees;
Reference Material; Alphabetical; Tenures & Titles; Staff Council;
and Past Corporation Members & Trustees.
|John Hyssop Steele succeeded
Dr. Fye in 1977 and directed the Institution until 1989. Dr. Steele moved
from Scotland to assume the helm at WHOI, and brought with him considerable
experience in national and international programs and projects. The Institution
continued to participate in multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary
programs. Some important developments included the establishment of the
Coastal Research Center in 1979. WHOI also celebrated its 50th anniversary
in 1980, and the discovery of the Titanic in the mid-1980's brought considerable
international attention to the Institution. Dr. Steele's records
are divided into five series: Personnel; Past Corporation Members and Trustees;
Alphabetical Files; Correspondence; and Chronological Files.
|Dr. Steele stepped down
in 1989 and Craig E. Dorman became WHOI's sixth Director. Dr. Dorman,
a rear admiral, retired from the US Navy to lead the Institution. He was
one of the first graduates of the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography.
His records are divided into four series: Correspondence; Appointment Calendars;
Chronological Files; and Subject Files.
|After four years Dr. Dorman
decided to step down. Robert B. Gagosian became acting Director
in August 1993 and was appointed permanently to the Directorship in January
1994. Dr. Gagosian has been with WHOI since 1972 and served as the
Senior Associate Director and Director of Research before his current appointment.
The WHOI Directors'
files are located in the Data Library and Archives, with the exception
of Dr. Gagosian'songoing files. Researchers may apply to study selected
files, on site, by contacting the Archivist at firstname.lastname@example.org include
the nature of the research and possible arrival dates. The
Institution reserves the right to accept or decline any research requests.
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