Guide to the Papers of David C. Nutt, 1867 - 2008Stefansson Mss-71

Biography

David C. Nutt was born on June 21, 1919 in Cleveland, Ohio. He gradated from Dartmouth College with an AB in Botany in 1941. From 1935-1940 he accompanied Captain Robert A. Bartlett on several expeditions aboard the schooner 'Morrissey' to Greenland, serving as seaman, ornithologist, curator in charge of all scientific work and navigator. The experience he gathered during those trips enabled him to join the US Navy with a direct commission in 1941. He attended the Local Defense School at the Boston Navy Yard from 1941 to 1942. From 1942 to 1943 he served on the USS Bowdoin charting the West Greenland waters for the construction of air bases. From 1943 to 1944 he worked in the Navy Hydrographic Office in Washington, studying mapping problems before joining the crew of the USS Sumner, first as executive officer and then as captain, conducting surveys and clearing waters for navigation in the Western Pacific at Ulithi Atoll, Guam, Iwo Jima, Leyte Gulf, Bikini Atoll as well as Korea and China. Released from active duty in 1946 he was hired by the Dartmouth College Museum as Arctic Specialist in 1947. In 1955 he became Research Associate in Geography, a post he held until 1976. In 1948 he bought the schooner Blue Dolphin and refitted it for Arctic oceanographic research. From 1949 to 1958 he undertook oceanographic and hydrographic research during expeditions to Greenland and Labrador. Nutt and his scientific team, including noted scientist P.F. Scholander, were among the first to measure the composition of ancient air in ice. This practice contributed to the modern study of climate change in the polar regions, and to the measurement of the age of ice and composition of the atmosphere through ice core samples. Nutt also served as a geographical consultant for a project to export iron ore from Ungave Bay, Canada. From 1957 to 1962 and from 1965 to 1970 he was the head of the Arctic Institute of North America. He also served on the board of the American Polar Society, the New England Grenfell Association and the Aviation Association of New Hampshire. He was president of the Early Sites Foundation and was awarded the Elisha Kent Kane Medal of the Geographical Society of Philadelphia for Arctic service. During the 1970's he was a selectman in Hanover and served several terms in the New Hampshire legislature. David C. Nutt died on January 10, 2008 in Hanover at the age of 89.*

* adapted from Morse, S.A., "David C. Nutt (1919-2008)." Arctic. Vol.61, No.2. 2008

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