William Francis Thompson papers, 1910-1971  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Thompson, William Francis, 1888-1965
Title
William Francis Thompson papers
Dates
1910-1971 (inclusive)
Quantity
approximately 31.0 cubic feet, including textual materials, photographs, 1 film reel, and 1 sound tape reel
Collection Number
2597
Summary
Fishery scientist and professor of fisheries, University of Washington
Repository
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
98195-2900
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
speccoll@uw.edu
Access Restrictions

Open to all users.

Languages
English


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Fishery scientist and professor of fisheries, University of Washington

Known as the father of fisheries biology because he developed the first theory of fish conservation through management and regulation, William F. Thompson was an administrator in various research organizations and served as the director of the University of Washington’s School of Fisheries. Thompson’s studies of salmon and halibut led him to develop the first theory of fish conservation through fisheries management and regulation. At the University, Thompson led a reorganization of the School of Fisheries after the departure of the school’s founder, John Cobb, and became the first director of the UW Fisheries Research Institute.

Born in 1888 in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Thompson moved with his parents in 1903 to Everett, Washington. After studying zoology at the University of Washington from 1906 to 1909, he transferred to Stanford where he studied ichthyology (a branch of zoology that deals with fish) and received his bachelor’s degree in 1911.

After college, Thompson worked for the California Department of Fish and Game to survey the clam and oyster beds of northern California. In 1912 and 1913, he worked for the Commissioner of Fisheries of British Columbia to conduct similar surveys of halibut, clams, oysters, and herring. Thompson worked for these organizations in the summers while he did graduate work at Stanford.

In 1917, Thompson accepted a position with the California Fish and Game Commission to begin its fish research program. There he studied albacore tuna fisheries, grunion, and sardines in San Pedro and Long Beach. In 1924, a treaty between the US and Canada established the International Fisheries Commission and Thompson was asked to organize and direct the Commission’s study of the Pacific halibut fishery. For this project, Thompson devised a statistical data gathering system, initiated studies on the history of the fishery, and conducted studies on the migrations, races, growth rates, and early life history of Pacific halibut. Initiatives resulting from his work included winter closure, the establishment of a research program, and closing localized areas subject to overfishing.

During the 1920s, Thompson had been critical of the UW fisheries program, arguing that it was too technical and not grounded firmly enough in a body of scientific knowledge. Administrators at the University held similar views, and in 1930 the school dissolved the College of Fisheries and dismissed all faculty members except for one. To reorganize the Department of Fisheries, the University hired Thompson as Research Professor and head of the department in 1930, the same year he received his doctorate from Stanford. The reforms that Thompson implemented were based on the concept that the study of fisheries was not merely an application of zoology, but also needed firm grounding in mathematics, chemistry, and other sciences. During his tenure at UW, Thompson remained active in professional life outside the school. From about 1934 to 1937, he was a member of the Fisheries Advisory Technical Committee of the Washington State Planning Council. From 1937 to 1943 he served as the director of the International Pacific Salmon Commission, working only part-time at the University. For the Commission, Thompson directed studies of the sockeye salmon of the Fraser River and the impact of landslides on salmon at Hell’s Gate Canyon. After he resigned as Director, Thompson continued serving the Commission as a consultant.

In 1943, after resigning from the International Pacific Salmon Commission, Thompson began working full-time as the director of the UW School of Fisheries. In 1947, Thompson’s work for the University changed when an Alaska salmon industry group collaborated with the University to create the UW Fisheries Research Institute (FRI). Thompson became the Director of the Institute, where he served full-time and conducted research. For the FRI, Thompson headed a major study of salmon habits in Bristol Bay, AK.

During Thompson’s full-time work for the University, he continued numerous outside professional activities. Between 1945 and 1948, he conducted investigations on the Columbia River as a consultant for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Beginning in 1954, Thompson also served as a consultant to the International North Pacific Fisheries Commission (established by treaty between the US, Canada, and Japan). He was a member of the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists, which he helped found in 1956

Thompson retired from the University and from his directorship of the FRI in 1958, but remained active as an emeritus professor and a consultant to the FRI library. He died in 1965..

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Consult the scope and content information for each of the accessions listed below.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Consult the restrictions governing reproduction and use for each of the accessions listed below.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

 

Accession No. 2597-001: William Francis Thompson papers, 1911-1971 (bulk 1940-1965).Return to Top

Total extent: 20.5 cu. ft. (21 boxes); 1 reel to reel audio tape; 1 motion picture film.

Scope and Content: Correspondence, writings, research notes and data, photographs, conference and convention files, committee files, reports, bibliographies, maps, minutes, ephemera, certificates, financial records, film. Documents Thompson's academic and professional activities. There may be some overlap between the main subject series and subgroups, especially with regards to the Fisheries Research Institute. Records from the various organizations that Thompson served, including the Fisheries school and the FRI, make up the accession’s subgroups. Thompson’s diaries from 1940 to 1944 are in the International Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission subgroup, but they contain little information other than his schedule and expenses.

Major correspondents include: Richard Van Cleve, Clinton E. Atkinson, Donald L. McKernan, Francis N. Clark, John P. Babcock, William C. Herrington, Edward W. Allen, Milton Brooding, Roy Jackson, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: Janet Rothebuhler (daughter), 1976-12-07

Description
William Francis Thompson papers

Accession No. 2597-002: William Francis Thompson papers, circa 1947-1954Return to Top

.21 cu. ft.

Scope and Content: Contains a biographical folder with a six-page biography and a list of Thompson’s publications. The rest of the accession contains correspondence and various studies that Thompson conducted in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Included is a copy of Thompson’s 1954 study of the tripartite treaty between the US, Canada, and Japan.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: Whitman College via Yasuko Fukano, 1979-08-20

Description
William Francis Thompson papers

Accession No. 2597-003: William Francis Thompson papers, 1906-1969Return to Top

10 cu. ft.

Scope and Content: Correspondence, subject files re Hell's Gate Salmon Run Project (Fraser River).

In this accession is represented Thompson's direction of the Hell's Gate project to restore the Fraser River salmon run and his direction of the Fisheries Research Institute and its initial concentration on the Alaska Salmon Fishery.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: Transferred from Fisheries Research Institute, 1983-10-18

Description
William Francis Thompson papers

Accession No. 2597-004: William Thompson papers, 1951-1953Return to Top

1 vertical file

Scope and Content: Speeches and writings.

"An Outline of Salmon Research in Alaska," 1951. "North Pacific Oceanic Salmon Expedition of the USFWS M.V. John N. Cobb," 1953. Speech to the Association of Pacific Fisheries, 1953.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: Fisheries/Oceanography Library, 1989-09-01

Description
William Thompson papers

Accession No. 2597-005: William Thompson photographs, 1958Return to Top

1 vertical file

Scope and Content: Photographs.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: Cheryl Sorenson, School of Fisheries, 1991-04-18

Description
William Thompson photographs

Accession No. 2597-006: William F. Thompson papers, 1912-1965Return to Top

.42 cu. ft. (1 box)

Scope and Content: Correspondence, reprints and manuscripts, reports.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: J. Richard Dunn, 2002-02-07

Description
William F. Thompson papers

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Personal Names :
  • Thompson, William Francis, 1888-1965--Archives
  • Corporate Names :
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Association of University Professors. University of Washington Chapter
  • Faculty Men's Club (University of Washington)
  • Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society of North America. University of Washington Chapter
  • University Kiwanis Club (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • Atkinson, Clinton E. (Clinton Edwin) (creator)
    • Bessey, Roy F. (Roy Frederic), 1889-1980 (creator)
    • Brooding, Milton E (creator)
    • Carlander, Kenneth D (creator)
    • Dana, Marshall N (creator)
    • Davies, Isla V (creator)
    • Dillaway, W. C (creator)
    • Freeman, Miller, 1875-1955 (creator)
    • Grainger, Bruce (creator)
    • Hart, John Lawson, 1904-1973 (creator)
    • Hubbs, Carl (creator)
    • Hubbs, Laura (creator)
    • Jackson, Roy, 1916-2000 (creator)
    • Kizer, Benjamin H. (Benjamin Hamilton), 1878-1978 (creator)
    • McKernan, Donald L. (Donald Lynn), 1918-1979 (creator)
    • Rich, Willis H. (Willis Horton), 1885-1972 (creator)
    • Royce, William F (creator)
    • Schaefer, Milner Baily, 1912-1970 (creator)
    • Thompson, Harold (creator)
    • Tiffany, R. K (creator)
    • Van Cleve, Richard, 1906-1984 (creator)
    • Vestal, Alice T (creator)
    • Corporate Names :
    • American Fisheries Society (creator)
    • American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists (creator)
    • American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (creator)
    • American Society of Limnology and Oceanography (creator)
    • American Society of Photogrammetry (creator)
    • Association of Pacific Fisheries (creator)
    • British Columbia. Provincial Dept. of Fisheries (creator)
    • California. Dept. of Fish and Game (creator)
    • California. Fish and Game Commission (creator)
    • Fisheries Research Board of Canada (creator)
    • International Fisheries Commission (creator)
    • International North Pacific Fisheries Commission (creator)
    • International Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission (creator)
    • Municipal League of Seattle and King County (creator)
    • National Canners Association (creator)
    • Pacific Fisheries Society (creator)
    • Pacific Fisherman (creator)
    • Pacific Fishery Biologists (Society) (creator)
    • Pacific Science Congress (6th : 1939 : Berkeley, Standford and San Francisco, Calif.). Fisheries Committee (creator)
    • Phi Sigma Society. Psi Chapter (University of Washington) (creator)
    • Research Society (University of Washington) (creator)
    • Seattle Federal Business Association (creator)
    • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (creator)
    • United States. Air Force (creator)
    • United States. Dept. of State (creator)
    • United States. Dept. of the Interior (creator)
    • University of British Columbia (creator)
    • University of Washington. Agnes Healy Anderson Research Fund Committee (creator)
    • University of Washington. Fisheries Research Institute (creator)
    • University of Washington. Museum Committee (creator)
    • University of Washington. President (creator)
    • University of Washington. School of Fisheries (creator)
    • University of Washington. University Archives
    • Washington State Planning Council (creator)
    • Western Society of Naturalists (creator)

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • University Archives/Faculty Papers (University of Washington)