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John Lyman Scientific Papers

Identifier: SC-MS-032

Scope and Contents

This collection contains Dr. John R. Lyman's scientific papers and notes, most of which were created during his tenure with the U.S Navy Department Division of Oceanography. Included are a Handbook of Oceanography, a ledger book containing various tables of research data, correspondence with Encyclopedia Britannica concerning article publication, and various other items related to oceanographic information collected mainly between 1946 and 1964.


  • Creation: 1940-1970


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Copyright Statement

Copyright retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Biographical Note

Dr. John R. Lyman was born in Berkeley, California on October 28, 1915 to Theodore Benedict and Rowena Wilson Lyman. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1936 and joined Union Oil in Oleum, California as a chemist in 1937. He became an Assistant Oceanographer to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at LaJolla in 1937 and worked there until 1941. He was married on May 4, 1946 to Mitchell Forrest and they had two children, John F. and Richard D. Lyman.

Also in 1946, John Lyman became an Oceanographer at the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office in Washington, D.C., where he stayed until 1951. In that same year (1951) he earned his Master of Science degree in Oceanography from the University of California at Los Angeles. From 1947-1958, John was also the Oceanographic editor for the publication, American Geophysical Union Transactions, and he was the Director of the Division of Oceanography for the U.S. Navy Department from 1951-1959. In 1957, he received his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Oceanography from UCLA, and in 1959 he became the Associate Program Director for the Oceanography National Science Foundation based in Washington, DC, a position he held until 1963. For a one year period from 1963-1964, John was the Program Director for the Oceanography National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C. He followed that title with a two year term from 1964-1966 as the Oceanographic Coordinator at the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries before becoming the Program Director for Chemical Oceanography at the Office of Naval Research in Washington, D.C. from 1966-1968.

In 1968, John became a Professor of Oceanography, Marine Sciences Coordinator at UNC-Chapel Hill in North Carolina, where he served until 1973. He eventually was named Director of the Sea Grant Program at Chapel Hill and he was a responsible for the establishment of three key oceanographic research centers on the North Carolina coast. During 1972, he became a member of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. John retired from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1973 and went on to become a consultant to the United Nations in the area of chemical oceanography.

John became the Vice-President of the North American Vexillogical Association in 1975; he was also a member of the Society of Nautical Research, the Nautical Research Guild, and a fellow of the American Geophysical Union.  John Lyman died on November 17, 1977 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


1 Container (Contains 1 document box.)

Language of Materials


Acquisition Information

This collection was donated by Mrs. Mitchell Forrest Lyman in 1977.

Processing Information

This collectioned was processed by Matt Bradley in September 2022.

John Lyman Scientific Papers
Matt Bradley
2022 September 07
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Repository Details

Part of the Randall Library Special Collections Repository