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Raymond B. Montgomery papers

 Record Group
Identifier: MC-30

Scope and Content Note

The Raymond B. Montgomery papers consist of 25 boxes of documents from 1928-1988 (bulk 1939-1977) (10.5 linear feet) and one box of data. The files contain memorandum, letters, notes, reviews, proposals, charts, graphs, newspaper and magazine clippings, reports, maps, data, manuscripts, lectures, and class notes. Other languages in the collection include German.


  • 1928-1988

Language of Materials

The records are in

English and



Open: materials are available for research.


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

Biographical Information

Raymond B. Montgomery (1910-1988) was born in Philadelphia, PA, and raised in Falmouth, MA, by his mother, Priscilla, who served as Librarian of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) library for many years. While attending Harvard University (A.B. 1932), he was one of four scientists of the first oceanographic cruise of the R/V Atlantis in 1931, the flagship of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), captained by Columbus Iselin. Montgomery earned his S.M. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1934 and his Sc. D. in oceanography from MIT in 1938.

Montgomery’s career took him to many different institutions on the east coast but he consistently was affiliated with WHOI either on the staff, as an Associate, as an Honorary Staff member, and from 1970 onward, as a member of the WHOI Corporation. From 1938-1940 Montgomery was employed by WHOI as a junior oceanographer and from 1940-1942 as a physical oceanographer. He was a professor of meteorology at New York University with Athelstan Spilhaus from 1943-1944 before going back to MIT as a staff member studying the structure of the atmosphere. Montgomery became a visiting professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1948 before accepting a position with Brown University from 1949-1954. Johns Hopkins University, where he was professor of oceanography from 1954-1975, served as his base of operations, although he took various other positions at this time as well, including a Fulbright Scholar in Australia (1958) and visiting professor at the University of Hawaii (1971).

Montgomery’s research interests were broad, but centered on equatorial currents, on the variation of the sea level, and on methods for the objective characterization of the structure of air and water masses. Additionally, he investigated turbulence in atmospheric and oceanic boundary layers, evaporation, and fog. Montgomery was one of the first to use isentropic analysis, and by using the Taylor diagram (temperature and salinity), he and his colleagues demonstrated how information about the general circulation of the ocean could be distilled from hydrographic station data. Probably his most famous achievement was his role in the discovery of the equatorial undercurrent in the Pacific on cruise 16 of the R/V Hugh M. Smith , with Townsend Cromwell and E. D. Shoup in the summer of 1952.


25 boxes plus oversized material (15.5 lin. ft.)


The Raymond B. Montgomery papers span 1928-1988, and contain memorandum, letters, notes, reviews, proposals, charts, graphs, newspaper and magazine clippings, reports, maps, data, manuscripts, lectures, and class notes.


Arranged in four series:

Custodial History

The custodial history of the papers is undocumented.

Acquisitions Information

The Raymond B. Montgomery papers were deposited with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Data Library and Archives (DLA) on April 30,1990.

Related Material

Additional materials relating to Raymond B. Montgomery include data from R/V Atlantis cruise 1 and 30; R/V Hugh M. Smith cruise 16; R/V Crawford cruise 91 (EQUALANT I); Cooperative Study of the Kuroshio (CSK) Analysis Project; and R/V Alexander Agassiz (STYX Expedition Legs II-V).

Separated Material

Data and cruise information was placed with other cruise information in the DLA, either arranged by ship and cruise number or by project. When the collection was initially received by the DLA in 1990, maps were segregated from the collection and integrated into the general map collection. Other maps were placed in designated map drawers. Reprints were removed and placed at the Marine Biological Laboratory/WHOI Library.

Processing Information

Third-level processing completed by Stuart Culy in April 2001. Processing of this collection was partly supported by a grant from the Friends of the Center for History of Physics, American Institute of Physics.

The papers were put into acid-free folders and boxes and labeled. Acidic and fragile papers were photocopied. Metal clips and staples were removed. Original order of the collection was maintained. Original folder titles were kept.

A Guide to the the Raymond B. Montgomery papers, 1928-1988
Stuart Culy
April 2001
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written inEnglish

Repository Details

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