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Stewart (James) Papers
SMC 0029  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biography
  • Digital Content
  • Restrictions
  • OFF-SITE STORAGE
  • Publication Information
  • Acquisition Information

  • Descriptive Summary

    Languages: English
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla 92093-0175
    Title: James Stewart Papers
    Creator: Stewart, James R. (James Ronald), 1927-
    Identifier/Call Number: SMC 0029
    Physical Description: 10.8 Linear feet (27 archives boxes, 1 card file box, 1 map case folder, and 9 films)
    Date (inclusive): 1943-2008
    Abstract: Papers of James Stewart, former chief Diving Officer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and scuba training pioneer. The collection contains correspondence, professional materials, writings, photographs, and diving-related subject files and diving manuals.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Papers of James Stewart, former chief Diving Officer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and scuba training pioneer. The collection contains correspondence, professional materials, writings, photographs, and diving-related subject files and diving manuals. Subjects of note include early diving safety, procedures and protocols; diving instruction; the SIO research diving program; and diving in Antarctica.
    Arranged in ten series: 1) BIOGRAPHICAL, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) SUBJECT FILES, 4) PROFESSIONAL DIVING, 5) TEACHING, 6) DIVING ORGANIZATIONS, 7) DIVING MANUALS & GUIDES, 8) WRITINGS, 9) PHOTOGRAPHS & SLIDES and 10) AUDIOVISUAL MATERIAL.

    Preferred Citation

    James Stewart Papers, SMC 29. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Biography

    James Ronald Stewart (b. 1927) first experienced diving as a teenager in the waters off the coast of San Diego, and proved to be an adept diver from a young age. In 1951 he was inducted into the Bottom Scratchers, one of the first free-diving and spearfishing clubs in the country; the admittance rate of the club was notoriously low, and required that applicants achieve such feats as diving 30 feet and retrieving three abalone in a single dive. Like other divers during the 1950s, Stewart was introduced to the advent of scuba diving largely through experimentation, trial and error, and collaboration with other enthusiasts. He received a B.S. in Botany from Pomona College in 1953 and his teaching credential from San Diego State University in 1958. He also studied graduate-level marine botany at both USC and the University of Hawaii.
    Stewart's career began as an independent diving consultant and contractor. During the late 1950s he conducted dives as a part-time research diver for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, traveling to such places as Eniwetok Atoll and Mexico, and assisted Conrad Limbaugh and Andy Rechnitzer with the SIO diving training program. In 1958 he was hired as Field Director for the SIO Kelp Project, and in 1959 he co-discovered the underwater sandfalls at Cabo San Lucas alongside Conrad Limbaugh and Wheeler North. He was named Diving Officer in 1960 after Limbaugh's untimely death, and went on to host the first statewide class on scuba diving at UC Santa Barbara. During the 1960s Stewart spearheaded the initiative to standardize diving procedures and protocol for the University of California and created the University Guide for Diving Safety in 1963. He then went on to develop diving training programs for the National Park Service and the Office of Polar Programs in Antarctica.
    Stewart was very involved in diving groups and associations, and guided the standardization of diving safety and protocol across the country. He co-founded the Los Angeles Council of Diving Clubs, the San Diego Council of Divers, the San Diego County Underwater Search and Recovery Program and the San Diego County Coroner's Scuba Death Investigation Committee. He also served as a member of the National Association of Underwater Instructors and the State of California Advisory Board on Underwater Parks and Reserves. James Stewart continued to serve as SIO Chief Diving Officer until his retirement in 1991.

    Digital Content

    Selected images from this collection have been digitized, and can be viewed by clicking on the link. Additional audiovisual materials have been digitized and may be available upon request.

    Restrictions

    Original media formats in SERIES 10) AUDIOVISUAL MATERIAL are restricted. Users may request viewing copies in advance.

    OFF-SITE STORAGE

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. ALLOW ONE WEEK FOR RETRIEVAL OF MATERIALS.

    Publication Information

    Publication rights are held by the Regents of the University of California.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 1991, 2001, 2015.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Scuba diving -- History
    Deep diving -- Physiological aspects
    Scuba diving -- Safety measures
    Diving
    Scuba apparatus
    Deep diving -- Certification
    Deep diving -- History
    Stewart, James R. (James Ronald), 1927- -- Archives
    Limbaugh, Conrad -- Correspondence
    Scripps Institution of Oceanography -- History