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Jerome M. Cotter papers

 Record Group
Identifier: MC-97

The Jerome M. Cotter papers consist of materials related to Cotter's work at WHOI, including information on WHOI vessels (mainly the RV Knorr and the Atlantis) and shipboard operations. Materials in the papers include cruise logs, ship schedules and itineraries, cruise tracks, ships plans, memoranda, correspondence, news clippings, photographs and realia.


  • 1954-2006

Language of Materials

The records are in



Open: materials are available for research.


Copyright: Permission to publish material from the collection must be authorized by the Institution Archivist.


1 box (.5 lin. ft.)


The Jerome M. Cotter papers date from 1954-2006, and consist of materials related to Cotter's work at WHOI, including information on WHOI vessels and shipboard operations.

Biographical Information

Jerry Cotter didn’t expect a long career with WHOI when he signed on to the Atlantis crew in December of 1957. However, after serving eight years aboard the A-boat in the deck and engine crews and as bosun and second mate, he worked briefly on Gosnold and then for five years aboard Chain. His longest WHOI assignment was as bosun aboard Knorr, beginning in 1970 and lasting through 1996, when he retired. Jerry says he was proud to work with a wide variety of expeditions and notes that perhaps the grandest adventure was the Titanic discovery cruise in 1985. Another involuntary adventure happened east of Georges Bank on November 27, 1977, with the weather coming up. As Cotter was ready to signal the winch operator to lift a dredge aboard, the ship took a roll, and Jerry went overboard into 50-degree water. Quick thinking on the deck and on the bridge got two life rings to Jerry and a light on him. After about an hour in the 12- to 15-foot seas, Jerry, the soggy skimobile suit he was wearing, and his waterlogged boots were pulled aboard a Zodiac.

Jerome Cotter died at age 77 on August 1, 2011.

[Taken from Cotter's WHOI obituary.]


The papers are arranged in a single series:

Custodial History

The executor of Cotter's estate delivered the material in the collection to Cathy Offinger in AOPE, and the papers were then given to the Archives.

Acquisitions Information

The Jerome M. Cotter papers were received in the Data Library and Archives in two accessions: on August 18, 2011 as acc2011-18, and on October 26, 2012 as acc2012-22.

Separated Material

Three folders and four small boxes of photographs were removed and added to the Image Collection. Forty-three VHS video tapes were also donated with the papers. Most of the tapes had mold growth on the reels and were discarded. Photographs contained on nine DVDs were copied and arranged as the Electronic Records series, and the DVDs were discarded.

Processing Information

Processed in August 2011 and October 2012 by David Sherman

A Guide to the Jerome M. Cotter papers, 1954-2006
David Sherman
Language of description
Finding aid written inEnglish

Repository Details

Part of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Data Library and Archives Repository