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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. 

 Funding for 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.

Henry Bigelow
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.
Dr. Bigelow 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. 
Admiral Smith and Columbus Iselin
His successor 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 Fye. 
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. 
Paul Fye
Paul McDonald 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 Steele
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.
Craig Dorman

Bob Gagosian
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 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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Updated 9/15/2000