The Smithsonian Institution Archives began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives'
record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program
staff conduct interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also interviews conducted
by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
Alfred C. Glassell, Jr., was interviewed for his achievements in sport fishing, his contributions to National Museum of Natural History, and his service to the Smithsonian
The Alfred C. Glassell, Jr., Interview was conducted on March 12, 2002, by Judy Terry Smith and Clyde F. E. Roper from the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural
History. The interview discusses Glassell's background and early career in the petroleum industry; his adventures in sport fishing; the scientific expedition to the Indian
Ocean aboard his ship, the Argosy; the capture of the world record 1,560 pound black marlin; his induction into the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Hall
of Fame; his wife and family; his first visit to the Smithsonian Institution; the formation of the Smithsonian National Board; his views on leadership, development, and museum
outreach; the scientific expedition with the University of Miami Marine Institute (Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences); and other angler friends. The collection
consists of 2.5 hours of audiotape recording, 75 pages of transcript, and occupies 0.5 cubic feet of shelf space. The interview has been digitized for preservation purposes,
so the collection also consists of 5 digital audio .wav files and 5 digital .mp3 files. Box 1 contains transcript of the interview, digital .mp3 files and cassette copies
of the original micro-cassette recordings, which are in security storage.
Alfred C. Glassell, Jr. (1913-2008), a leader in the petroleum industry and an advocate for marine biology research, was a generous supporter of the Smithsonian Institution.
He was born on March 13, 1913, in northwest Louisiana on Cuba Plantation, a remote cotton plantation near the Red River. He received a B.A. from Louisiana State University
in 1934, and in 1945, after serving approximately three and half years in the U.S. Army, he moved to Houston, Texas. Glassell traveled the world extensively hunting marlin,
blue fin tuna, and swordfish. He was a member of the U.S. Team in the International Tuna Cup Matches for seven years and served as captain of the 1952 second-place team. He
secured the world record title for hooking a 1,560 pound black marlin, the largest grander caught on rod and reel, off the coast of Cabo Blanco, Peru, on August 4, 1953. Glassell
donated the immense fish to the Smithsonian for a new hall titled Life in the Sea at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). As an accomplished sport fisherman,
he was inducted into the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame in 2001.
He organized scientific expeditions around the world aboard his vessel, the Argosy, for Yale University in 1957, and in 1961 for the University of Miami, where a
research laboratory bears his name. He was named an Honorary Member of the Smithsonian National Board of which he was a founding member. In 1991, the Smithsonian Benefactors'
Circle recognized him for a lifetime of patronage and dedication to the Smithsonian Institution. He founded the Glassell School of Art, a teaching wing at the Museum of Fine
Arts in Houston (MFAH) where his world-renowned collection of gold is housed, and he served as Chairman Emeritus of the MFAH board of trustees.
Restricted (Tapes and transcripts). The Alfred C. Glassell, Jr., oral history interview may not be used without the written permission of Alfred C. Glassell, Jr., or his heirs or assigns.