Alternate Forms Available
Scope and Content of the Collection
Title: Dixy Lee Ray papers
Date (inclusive): 1937-1982
Collection Number: 82106
Hoover Institution Archives
Language of Material:
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)
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
Hoover Institution Archives.
Ray, Dixy Lee
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.
For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.
[Identification of item], Dixy Lee Ray papers, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Archives.
Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1982.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find
the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at
. Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number
of boxes listed in this finding aid.
Alternate Forms Available
|1914, September 3
||Born, Tacoma, WA.
||B.A., Mills College, Oakland, CA.
||M.A., Mills College (LL.D., 1967)
||Teacher, Oakland Public Schools and Pacific Grove Public Schools, CA.
||John Switzer fellow, Stanford, CA.
||Ph.D. (Marine Biology), Stanford University
||Associate professor of zoology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
||Special consultant in biological oceanography, U.S. National Science Foundation
||Director, Pacific Science Center, Seattle
||Visiting professor, Stanford;
||Chief scientist, Research Vessel TE VEGA Expedition, International Indian Ocean
||Member, Presidential Task Force on Oceanography
||Member, Atomic Energy Commission
||Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
||Governor, State of Washington
|1980, September 18
||Lost her bid for reelection in state open primary
||Writer and lecturer
Scope and Content of the Collection
The Dixy Lee Ray collection in the Hoover Institution 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
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.
Nuclear energy--United States.
United States--Politics and government.
Washington (State)--Politics and government.