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Ray (Dixy L.) papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Alternate Forms Available
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of the Collection

  • Title: Dixy Lee Ray papers
    Date (inclusive): 1937-1982
    Collection Number: 82106
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 167 manuscript boxes, 20 oversize boxes, 3 card file boxes, 3 cubic feet boxes, 135 envelopes, 1 album box, 7 slide boxes, 16 motion picture film reels, 1 videotape cassette, 2 phonorecords, 3 linear feet of memorabilia (119.0 Linear Feet)
    Abstract: Correspondence, speeches, reports, studies, printed matter, audiovisual material, and memorabilia, relating primarily to nuclear energy in the United States, and to Washington state politics. Digital copies of select records also available at https://digitalcollections.hoover.org. 
    Creator: Ray, Dixy Lee
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Library & Archives.


    Boxes 182, 184, and 185 restricted; use copies available in Box 181. The remainder of the collection is open for research; materials must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives in 1982.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Dixy Lee Ray papers, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Alternate Forms Available

    Digital copies of select records also available at https://digitalcollections.hoover.org. 

    Biographical Note

    1914, September 3 Born, Tacoma, WA.
    1937 B.A., Mills College, Oakland, CA.
    1938 M.A., Mills College (LL.D., 1967)
    1939-1942 Teacher, Oakland Public Schools and Pacific Grove Public Schools, CA.
    1942-1943 John Switzer fellow, Stanford, CA.
    1945 Ph.D. (Marine Biology), Stanford University
    1945-1972 Associate professor of zoology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
    1959 Author,
    1960-1963 Special consultant in biological oceanography, U.S. National Science Foundation
    1963-1972 Director, Pacific Science Center, Seattle
    1964 Chief scientist, Research Vessel TE VEGA Expedition, International Indian Ocean
      Visiting professor, Stanford;
    1969 Member, Presidential Task Force on Oceanography
    1972 Member, Atomic Energy Commission
    1972-1975(January) Chairman
    1975(January-June) Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
    1977-1981 Governor, State of Washington
    1980, September 18 Lost her bid for reelection in state open primary
    1981- Writer and lecturer

    Scope and Content of the Collection

    The Dixy Lee Ray collection in the Hoover Institution Library & Archives consists of her personal papers accumulated during the years 1937 to 1981. The materials, amounting to some hundred and eighty boxes, document principally her activities as director of the Pacific Science Center in Seattle; as member and chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission; as assistant secretary of state, and as governor of the State of Washington. Official papers stemming from her tenure as governor are kept in Olympia, as part of the Washington State Archives.
    The arrangement of the collection closely follows her career path, with materials from her various offices or occupations treated chronologically in separate series.
    The biographical series documents Dixy Lee Ray's personal life, including her early years as a graduate student in biology (boxes 6-7). Of special interest is her complete genealogical record (box 5).
    The correspondence series is small, as it represents only those letters exchanged when Dixy Lee Ray did not hold an official position. Correspondence of 1973, for instance, is to be found in the Atomic Energy Commission series. Also filed in this correspondence series are private letters exchanged over a number of years and therefore kept together instead of being placed into different series. Of particular interest is the large folder of correspondence with Marion Reed, Dixy Lee Ray's sister, and her husband Gordon (box 9).
    The speeches and writings series consists mostly of articles on the subject of nuclear energy and biological research, as well as some speeches given after she left office.
    The subject file reflects Dixy Lee Ray's academic formation and professional involvement, and is generally orientated towards scientific topics. It contains a very large section on energy, particularly nuclear energy, with many reports and studies on the safety of nuclear power plants and the disposal of radioactive waste (boxes 16-25). Other folders of interest are those on the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy (box 39).
    The Pacific Science Center series provides a good picture of Dixy Lee Ray's efforts to promote interest in science, particularly among young people, as evidenced by the files on the sea use program (box 54), the summer oceanography classes (box 57) and the television continuity public relations program (box 58). The minutes of the Oceanographic Commission of Washington's meetings constitute a sizeable part of this series (boxes 50-52) and readers interested in this subject should also consult the many files on oceanography in the subject file (boxes 33-34).
    The Atomic Energy Commission series is probably the most valuable part of the collection, with its direct link to issues of great national and international significance. As for all the other major series, a big correspondence section is present, with important letters to heads of state and of American and foreign agencies (boxes 60-68), as well as a record of most of the speeches delivered by Dixy Lee Ray during that time (boxes 81-87). The files on her travels abroad (boxes 88-89) to attend international conferences and meet with foreign officials in charge of nuclear policy provide valuable information, as does the file on the visit to the United States of French atomic officials (box 89). On the working relationship between the Atomic Energy Commission and the executive branch, files on the Office of Management and Budget (box 78) and the White House (box 89) are to be consulted. This series also contains a very important file on the implementation of the Energy and Research Development Administration, one of the two agencies (the other being the Nuclear Regulatory Commission) created at the Atomic Energy Commission's dissolution, on ll October 1974 (box 69).
    The State Department series' most specific contribution is the file on the establishment and the role of the Bureau for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (box 98), a newly created office which Dixy Lee Ray took over with enthusiasm but one with which she became rapidly frustrated, as indicated in particular by her correspondence (boxes 91-98).
    The small interim years series consists for the most part of correspondence dealing with her numerous speaking engagements, which were scheduled by her agent, the Leigh Lecture Bureau. But Dixy Lee Ray was already thinking of running for governor: her victorious bid of 1976 for that position is recorded in the gubernatorial campaigns series, which also includes, for the sake of coherence, her unsuccessfull campaign of 1980 for re-election. Both campaign series have original files documenting general strategies, staff work, popular support; fund-raising records and statements for the Public Disclosure Commission are particularly well kept and extensive for the 1976 campaign (boxes 105-110 and 112-114).
    The governorship series is the largest of the collection, with substantial files on budget conference notes (boxes 121-124), higher education (boxes 137-138), the eruption of Mount St. Helens in May of 1980 (boxes 140-142), the penitentiary system (boxes 144-145), town hall meetings (boxes 162-163), various Washington State agencies (boxes 164-169).
    A considerable amount of audio-visual material complements the collection. Most noteworthy are an extensive series of photographs depicting Dixy Lee Ray in official functions, especially as director of the Atomic Energy Commission and as governor of the state of Washington, and the recordings on cassettes of virtually all of the speeches she gave while governor.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Video tapes
    Sound recordings
    Motion pictures
    Washington (State) -- Politics and government
    Nuclear energy -- United States
    U.S. Atomic Energy Commission