Scope and Content of Collection
Title: William Whitehill Rand Papers
Dates: ca. 1921-1968
Bulk Dates: 1950s-1968
Collection Number: SBHC Mss 46
Rand, William Whitehill, 1902-
12 linear feet
(8 records containers, 1 box, 3 oversize boxes, and 2 map folders)
University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Department of Special Collections
Santa Barbara, California 93106-9010
Physical Location: Boxes 1-9 (SRLF); Boxes 10-12 (Del Sur Oversize); Map folders in Map Cabinet 20/10
The majority of the collection is stored off-site; advance notice required for retrieval.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or
quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given
on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply
permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.
William Whitehill Rand Papers. SBHC Mss 46. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California,
Donation, July 2000.
William Bradford Whitehill Rand was born January 17, 1902, in Salt Lake City. He received his A.B. in Geological Sciences
from UC Berkeley in 1926 and his PhD in Geological Sciences from UC Berkeley in 1933, with a dissertation entitled
The Geology of Santa Cruz Island, California.
From 1926 to 1946 he worked for Shell Oil Company, as Field Geologist, Senior Geologist, and Area Geologist, the last position
being in charge of exploration east of the Mississippi River. He also was Assistant to the President in San Francisco and
Assistant to the Vice President in Los Angeles.
Rand lived in Santa Barbara, California from 1946 to 1970. During 1946-1952 he was Division Geologist, Coastal Division, Union
Oil Company of California. In 1947 he started offshore exploration. He outfitted two vessels for submarine coring; the second,
the M/V 'Submarex' was the first powered vessel equipped for rotary drilling. It drilled the first core holes in the Pacific
During 1953-1955 Rand was a contractor engaged in offshore drilling and oceanographic work, mainly off the Pacific coast,
but also including [in 1956] the first core drilling from a powered vessel in the Atlantic Ocean, in an area about 90 miles
east of New York.
In 1955 Rand formed the Submarex Corp., which specialized in offshore exploration for oil and gas, and which was based in
Santa Barbara. He also established [ca. 1955-1956] Submar, Inc., Marex, Inc., Rexmar, Inc., and Mardril, Inc., to convert
and operate a number of drilling vessels: La Sciencia, La Busca, Submarex, Exploit, Sand Dab V, Western Explorer, Rincon,
and Humble S.M. 1. Each of these had two attendant vessels, one supply and one personnel vessel. These vessels were operated
on contract for major oil companies for several years. One of the vessels, the Rincon, drilled the first producing oil well
to be drilled from a vessel.
In 1959 Rand also was Vice-President and General Manager of Offshore Constructors, Inc., operating the mobile drilling platform
Pacific Driller No. 1, drilling production wells off the California coast. In 1961 he operated the vessel Frances Ann for
Defense Research Laboratories of General Motors Corporation in oceanographic research. During 1962-1963 he was engaged in
core drilling with the Exploit off California, north of Conception, and off Oregon and Washington. In 1963, with the Ceylon
[Sand Dab V], he set the submerged deep-water magnetometer station and Tsunami warning station, in cooperation with the U.S.
Coast and Geodetic Survey. In 1964 the Ceylon also was subcontracted to perform survey work, including bottom sampling, sea
floor topographic mapping, and deep-water current studies.
In 1966 Rand became the first director of the Deep Sea Drilling Project at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla,
Over the years, Rand patented, invented, and operated several devices for taking oriented submarine cores.
In 1973 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineers for his invention and practical application of processes and equipment
for oil drilling from floating vessels. He also was a fellow of the Geological Society of America.
William Rand died March 9, 1988.
[Biographical information drawn from Rand's resume and the
Santa Barbara News-Press obituary, 20 Mar. 1988, B3].
Scope and Content of Collection
Papers of William Whitehill Rand (1902-1988), geologist, engineer, and petroleum prospector. The collection includes documents,
maps and some artifacts related to Rand's career in geology, marine engineering, and the oil industry. The maps are scientific
and some include offshore sounding data. Most are maps of the coast of California, particularly in Santa Barbara, Ventura
and Los Angeles counties. The records of his company, Submarex, its subsidiaries, and the ships used, make up the bulk of
this collection. These include financial records as well as correspondence regarding work contracts and labor relations. This
company, based in Santa Barbara, was heavily involved in the transformation of Santa Barbara from a relatively unknown area
(geologically) to a major oil-producing region between 1947 and 1960. The collection also contains correspondence, meeting
minutes, journal articles, newspaper clippings, reports, log books, catalogs, and project files on deep sea drilling and ocean
Some materials have suffered water damage from flooding and are so marked in the container list. Please consult Special Collections
staff about condition and access.