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William Whitehill Rand Papers
SBHC Mss 46  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access Restrictions
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: William Whitehill Rand Papers
    Dates: ca. 1921-1968
    Bulk Dates: 1950s-1968
    Collection Number: SBHC Mss 46
    Creator: Rand, William Whitehill, 1902-
    Extent: 12 linear feet (8 records containers, 1 box, 3 oversize boxes, and 2 map folders)
    Repository: 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
    Language: English.

    Access Restrictions

    The majority of the collection is stored off-site; advance notice required for retrieval.

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    William Whitehill Rand Papers. SBHC Mss 46. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    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 Ocean.
    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, California.
    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 exploration.
    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.