Scope and Content of Collection
Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla 92093-0175
Title: Wheeler J. North Collection
North, Wheeler J.
Identifier/Call Number: SMC 0100
24 Linear feet
(17 archives boxes, 47 flat boxes)
Date (inclusive): 1950-1996
The Wheeler J. North Collection consists of a small assortment of his papers, pressed kelp and algae specimens, and North's
image archive consisting of prints, negatives, transparencies, and slides, including his aerial surveys of the Southern California
coastal kelp beds.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Wheeler J. North Collection consists of a selection of his papers, his pressed dried kelp and algae specimens, and a large
image archive of prints, negatives, transparencies, and thousands of slides, including his aerial surveys of the Southern
California coastal kelp beds. The papers represent only a small fraction of his research output and activities, and date mostly
from the mid-1970s to 1983. The pressed and dried specimens of marine flora were collected at a wide range of sites, but mostly
in Baja California, and southern and central California. They are organized and labeled in original order, which is primarily
by botanical name (with some exceptions for geographic localities). The bulk of the collection consists of North's image archive,
which contains all types of image formats created over his long career, including underwater and aerial photography. For decades,
North conducted solo coastal flights to capture images of off-shore kelp beds and coastal terrain in southern California,
and these images are consolidated in an Aerial Survey series. North crafted an index to accompany the survey collection, which
should be consulted in consultation with the images. Aside from the survey, other slide images were arranged by North in two
additional subseries, by subject and chronologically (with some duplication occurring across the two groups). Many of the
slides include a note on the mount identifying the location and the date of the image, but the volume precluded listing that
description in this finding aid.
Arranged in five series: 1) PAPERS, 2) SEAWEED SPECIMENS, 3) PHOTOGRAPHS (MIXED FORMATS), 4) AERIAL SURVEYS, and 5) SLIDE
Wheeler J. North (1922-2002) was professor of environmental science at the California Institute of Technology for nearly thirty
years. Prior to his faculty status, he earned two bachelor of science degrees, in electrical engineering (1944) and biology
(1950) from Caltech. He earned his PhD from the University of California, San Diego (1953) in biological oceanography.
As a marine ecologist and environmental engineer, North focused his research on the ecology of kelp beds and developed methods
for restoring kelp beds exposed to sewage wastewater. North is credited for restoring kelp populations along the California
coast, including Point Loma and Palos Verdes. North's research group also investigated marine biomass as an alternative energy
source. His research was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of Sea
Grants, National Science Foundation, and supported with additional grants from industrial sources and private foundations.
Wheeler J. North spent most of his career working at the William G. Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory in Corona del Mar. He retired
from Caltech in 1992, and transitioned to Emeritus faculty. He passed away on December 20, 2002.
This Biographical Note is credited to the California Institute of Technology Archives finding aid for the Wheeler J. North
Wheeler J. North Collection. SMC 100. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego Library.
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. ALLOW ONE WEEK FOR RETRIEVAL OF MATERIALS.
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection. Copyright to the Kelp Aerial Survey slide images and North's
related publication, "Guide to the Usage of the Kelp Aerial Survey Collection," is held by the UC Regents.
North, Wheeler J. Interview by Shelley Erwin. Pasadena, California, October 6 - December 1, 1998. Oral History Project, California
Institute of Technology Archives. World Wide Web: https://oralhistories.library.caltech.edu/34/
Wheeler J. North Papers, 1953-1999. California Institute of Technology Archives and Special Collections Repository. Pasadena,
California. Finding aid: https://collections.archives.caltech.edu/repositories/2/resources/170
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Ecologists -- California -- Archives
Kelps -- Aerial photographs
Kelps -- Photographs
Kelps -- Type specimens -- California
Kelps -- Type specimens -- Mexico -- Baja California (Peninsula)
Kelp bed ecology -- California
Environmental engineers -- California
North, Wheeler J. -- Archives