Friday, September 20, 2013

First Ladies of Scuba Diving

Lady with a Spear by Eugenie Clark. Published by Harper Brothers Publishers, New York, 1953. Illustrated with photographs and line drawings.

Author Eugenie Clark has a thrilling story to tell in her memoir, Lady with a Spear, about diving for exotic fish, especially poisonous fish off the coast of California, the West Indies, Hawaii, Guam, the Red Sea and many other global spots for locating exotic creatures underwater. It all started when she was 9 years old on a day at the Marine Aquarium in Battery Park, New York. She also studied the lives and behaviors of sharks. Years later, after spear fishing and then writing scientific papers on distinctive fishes and sharks, her PhD. well in hand, she wrote this memoir. A sense of the international aspect of studying poisonous fish and sharks is obvious in the illustrations, where people from Palau (islands near Indonesia, the Philippines and Micronesia) and the Red Sea spear fish. Her research contributed world-wide to marine biology and oceanography.

The Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library has also recently received a full run of Historical Diving Society Magazine ( In it appear several articles on women scuba divers, notably Lotte Hass ( and Zale Parry ( who appeared on the TV series Sea Hunt.

See biographies and memoirs in maritime history in the Library collection online at LibraryThing.