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Frederick C. 'Fritz' Fuglister papers

 Record Group
Identifier: MC-33

Scope and Content Note

The papers consist largely of material relating to Fuglister's work on the Gulf Stream and Operation Cabot. Materials include correspondence, maps, charts, graphs, and several pieces of realia.


  • 1943-1981

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.

Biographical Information

Frederick C. 'Fritz' Fuglister joined the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in March 1941 as a Research Assistant. Prior to his WHOI employment, Fritz, a gifted artist, was commissioned to do murals and paintings in municipal buildings by the Works Progress Administration.

As an artist/draftsman, Fritz was charged by Columbus Iselin to devise a way to portray bathythermograph data onto charts and was recruited immediately to go to sea. As the war effort at W.H.O.I. increased, he drew up the sonar refraction slide-rule and helped develop the "harp", a device for standardizing bathythermographs. In the late 1940's he sailed as Chief Scientist many times on numerous vessels and during these cruises he developed the techniques of tracking and studying the edge of the Gulf Stream using Loran and the bathythermograph. During these cruises he introduced the continous temperature plot which, supported by the Office of Naval Research, would occupy Fritz and many of his colleagues in extensive studies of the Gulf Stream for the next thirty years.

In June of 1950 Fritz headed up a multiple ship survey of Gulf Stream meanders called Operation Cabot. In the 1950's he was involved in the International Geophysical Year making North and South Atlantic traverses which in 1960 led to the publication of the Atlantic Ocean atlas of temperature and salinity profiles and data from the International Geophysical Year of 1957-1958. In 1960 Fritz again planned an extensive, multiship expedition called "Gulf Stream '60". During the next fifteen years he made numerous voyages to track the meandering Gulf Stream, its eddies and warm and cold core rings.

Fritz served as a Physical Oceanographer from 1948 until 1963 when he was appointed Senior Scientist. He served as Physical Oceanography Department Chairman from 1962 to 1967 and in 1976 was appointed Senior Scientist Emeritus. Fritz continued painting throughout his career as an oceanographer and his works can be found in many of his colleagues' homes and offices. He was also an accomplished violinist and often performed with local string quartets. Although retired in 1976, he kept his office in Clark and reported to work every day. He could often be seen walking back and forth from Quissett or riding the shuttle.

His awards include an honorarium from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, a W.H.O.I. fellowship to M.I.T., the National Academy of Sciences Alexander Agassiz Medal and in 1969 he was the recipient of the Frederick C. Fuglister Sixtieth Anniversary Volume supplement to Deap Sea Research. He was a fellow of the American Geophysical Union. His research interests on which he authored or co-authored about 20 scientific publications were on general circulation of the Atlantic Ocean with emphasis on the Gulf Stream system.

Fuglister died at age 78 on June 17, 1987.

[Taken from Fuglister's WHOI obituary.]


4 boxes plus oversized material (7.625 lin. ft.)


The papers of Frederick C. Fuglister, dated 1943-1981 consist of correspondence and study related to Gulf Stream research including currents, temperature, behavior and bathythermograph data.


The collection is divided into four series:

Custodial History

The custodial history is undocumented.

Acquisitions Information

The collection was received from Cecelia Fuglister on July 6, 1987 as accessions 87-11 through 87-14.

Related Material

See also Fuglister's biographical file and the MBLWHOI Library catalog for Fuglister's publications, including the Atlantic Ocean Atlas and The Book of Knowledge.

Processing Information

Processed by Annie Polachi from October 2011 through January 2012.

A Guide to the Frederick C. 'Fritz' Fuglister papers, 1943-1981
Annie Polachi
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