Jane Lubchenco, head of NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), visited the Hollings Library on Friday for a graduation luncheon. The university couldn’t have chosen a better locale for the lunch. Why? Senator Hollings is known as the father of NOAA (he steered the oceans and coastal zone agency into existence in 1969-1970 while serving in the U.S. Senate) and a grant from NOAA helped build the Hollings Library (opened in 2010).
Ms. Lubchenco spoke to me of a meal she and the Senator shared a year or two ago, in which Hollings told her the story of the establishment of NOAA. She marveled at his memory as he recounted the story to her, complete with details of the wheeling and dealing that took place over forty years ago. She said with clear admiration for him that he spoke with passion about the oceans and conservation.
I showed Ms. Lubchenco an exhibit of four small traveling cases holding NOAA and oceans-related documents and photos from the Hollings Papers. In the first two cases, I tried to show Hollings’ efforts during the two-year campaign to establish NOAA through letters, speeches, and bills. Simply establishing an oceans agency wasn’t the only challenge; Hollings and others had to work out major issues with President Nixon and other powers on Capitol Hill. One issue–would NOAA be an independent agency and if not, where would it reside? One photo among all the photos on display is a favorite among the staff here. See if you can guess which one. You’ll have to look closely.
In the 3rd case, I included photos of Hollings receiving plaudits over the decades for his work on the oceans and the coastal zone. The 4th case (not pictured) held oceans material from some of our other collections. Given our great state’s location, you can be assured that a number of our collections have wonderful material to study if you’re researching anything related to coastal conservation efforts, marine mammals, ocean drilling, etc.