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Alvin Operations: Chronological Files, 1958-1997 (bulk 1962-1995)


Scope and Content Note

The first set of boxes in this series contains material about the early planning and use of Alvin. The material covers a wide range of matters including engineering changes and authorizations; system and component tests and reports; records of repair; and correspondence related to the design of Alvin. Many files concern the early contracts with General Mills, Litton and others to build Alvin. Most of the material is written by or is addressed to those who were early members of the Alvin Group: William Rainnie, James Mavor, Joseph B. Walsh, and contractors including General Mills, Hahn and & Clay, and Litton Industries. The files contain information about two salvage operations to retrieve Alvin after a cable snapped and the submersible was lost in 5,000 feet of water. Files from the 1970s include folders concerning Project FAMOUS (French/American Mid-Ocean Undersea Study); Lulu , Alvin’s mother ship; and Seacliff .

The second set of boxes (76-78) spans the years 1976-1997 and contains cruise-related files. Materials include correspondence, memoranda, publications, lists, proposals, and cruise prospectus, assessments, synopses, and reports.


  • 1958-1997 (bulk 1962-1995)

Language of Materials

From the Record Group:

The records are in



Restricted: materials may only be viewed by the Office of Origin or with permission of the Archivist.


10 boxes (12.5 linear feet)


Records in boxes 1-7 are in reverse chronological order. Records in boxes 76-78 retain their original chronological order.

Acquistion Information

Edward Bland sent boxes 1-7 to the archives on August 9, 1985. The Archives received boxes 76-78 from Rick Chandler in 1999, as part of Accession 1999-13.

Repository Details

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