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Bruce A. Warren papers

 Record Group
Identifier: MC-96

Scope and Content Note

The Bruce Warren papers include materials related to Warren's various projects, published papers, lectures, courses and activities in the Physical Oceanography Department at WHOI.


  • 1960-2010

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

Born in Waltham, Mass, Bruce Warren was the son of the late Bertram and Elna (Peterson) Warren. Dr. Warren graduated from Amherst College and received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Bruce began his career at WHOI in 1962 as a Research Assistant in the Physical Oceanography Department. In 1963 he was promoted to Assistant Scientist. In 1967 he was promoted to Associate Scientist and tenured in 1972. In 1978 he was promoted to Senior Scientist and retired in 2003 as a Scientist Emeritus.

Bruce enjoyed going to sea, and he traveled around the world to study its deep circulation. When he received the American Geophysical Union’s Maurice Ewing Medal in 2004, the citation read, “Bruce’s career has truly been a voyage of discovery. He has found numerous major deep currents, previously unknown or at best sketchily observed in nearly all the world ocean’s major basins. The Indian Ocean has been a favorite: currents in the Madagascar and Mascarene Basins, the Southwest and Central Indian Ridges, and the 90E Ridge. In the Pacific, he revealed flow on the East Pacific Rise and above the Aleutian Trench and Rise.”

When Bruce began doing field work in the 1950’s the deep Indian and Pacific Oceans had hardly been explored “I was also lucky, though unaware of it, to be entering oceanography just when the Cold War was expanding financial support for scientific research,” including “construction of large research vessels that could leave their home waters and work the world ocean” he said.

The AGU citation writer, Kevin Speer of Florida State University (who worked with Bruce as a graduate student), concluded by saying the Maurice Ewing Medal “gives us the opportunity to show the depth of Bruce Warren’s contribution to ocean science and to our community.” “These are all subjects of key importance to our basic knowledge of the ocean and its role in climate.”

Bruce was also the winner of the 2010 prestigious Sverdrup Gold Medal, awarded by the American Meteorological Society (AMS). The AMS cited Warren “for advancing our understanding of the general circulation of the ocean through observations and dynamical interpretation.” Warren and his co-workers over the years are considered primarily responsible for discovering the existence of deep, swift currents near the boundaries of the Indian and Pacific oceans.

When he was not concentrating on oceanography, Bruce enjoyed the plant world, keeping a garden in one of the WHOI plots and tracking some 170 varieties of wildflowers he identified while walking along the Shining Sea bike path adjacent to the Institution. Bruce was also an epicure – fond of a well-prepared meal and good company, a student of history, had great appetite for literature, and was a music and art enthusiast.

Bruce Warren died on September 2, 2010 at age 73.

[Taken from Bruce Warren's WHOI Obituary.]


10 boxes (14.5 lin. ft.)


The Bruce A. Warren papers document Warren's projects and work in WHOI's Physical Oceanography Department from 1960-2010.


Arranged in three series:

Custodial History

The papers were stored in Bruce Warren's office in the Clark building prior to their transfer to the Archives.

Acquisitions Information

The papers were received on February 7, 2011 as acc2011-02. Paul Robbins in the Physical Oceanography Department reviewed the papers and assisted with the transfer to the Archives.

Related Material

See also Bruce Warren's biographical file.

Separated Material

A number of Bruce Warren's books were also donated to the Data Library and Archives, and were added to the Library's collection. See the control file for the complete list of books.

Processing Information

A folder listing was made in March 2011 by David Sherman. Annie Polachi refoldered the material and updated the listing from June-September 2013.

A Guide to the Bruce A. Warren papers, 1960-2010
David Sherman
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