This accession consists of records created and maintained by Handley documenting the establishment and administration of the program as well as the planning and development of the Marine Mammal Study Center. Materials include correspondence, proposals, floor plans, budgets, newsletters, notes, and related materials.
The United States Marine Mammal Program was established in 1969 by the United States National Committee of the International Biological Program (USNC/IBP) and the International Marine Mammal Working Group of the International Biological Program. It was directed by an eleven-member Marine Mammal Council (MMC) appointed by the United States Marine Mammal Working Group. The Council, in turn, named a four-member Executive Committee to oversee daily operations which were run out of an office at the National Museum of Natural History. Members of the Executive Committee included Program Director G. Carleton Ray of the Johns Hopkins University; Kenneth S. Norris of the Oceanic Institute; Charles O. Handley, Jr., of the Smithsonian Institution; and William E. Schevill of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
As overseer of the Program, the MMC served as a catalyst for marine mammal studies by aiding in developing a Marine Mammal Study Center at the Smithsonian Institution for the study of fossil and recent mammals; publishing a marine mammal newsletter; sponsoring marine mammal conferences; cooperating with other phases of the United States International Biological Program; and coordinating existing and new research through its Integrated Research Program. By providing information needed for the rational international management of marine mammals, the Marine Mammal Program emphasized the opportunity for ecological studies rather than those having an economic or political basis. Other related activities of the Council included assisting and advising the United States Congress on marine mammal affairs following the introduction of bills and resolutions. Several Council members also testified before congressional committee hearings. On June 30, 1974, the United States' participation in the International Biological Program was officially terminated when funding from the National Science Foundation ceased.
Smithsonian Institution Archives
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