Connecticut College Magazine · Fall 2005


Mach Arom ´89: Rebuilding hope for Thai tsunami victims

Kathryn Bard ´68: Somewhere in Egypt

Who cares about Haiti?

Venturing into Iran: Beyond the warning

Gloria Hollister Anable ’24: Into the deep

Gaida Ozols Fuller ´74: Six months in Uganda

Sarah Trapido ´08: Going 13,000 miles on veggie oil

Yoko Shimada ´99: Fighting the war on AIDS in East Africa

The extra mile: Journeys that make a difference

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Gloria Hollister Anable ’24: Into the deep

Gloria Hollister Anable ’24: Into the deep
Gloria Hollister Anable ´24

Gloria Hollister Anable ’24, a zoology major who worked with oceanographer William Beebe, was the first woman to explore deep-sea life in the first bathysphere. At the time of her death in 1988, she held the women’s deep-descent record. Anable went on to help found the Nature Conservancy in 1953. She led the campaign to preserve the Mianus River Gorge, the Conservancy’s first project, and was awarded the Connecticut College Medal in 1970. - Barbara Nagy
Anable is mentioned prominently in Descent: The Heroic Discovery of the Abyss (Brad Matsen, Pantheon Books, 2005). The following excerpt (pages 99-100) describes her first dive, in 1930.

While the excitement of the quarter-mile descent still crackled across the Ready’s deck, Beebe called for quiet and announced that he and Barton had a surprise for Gloria Hollister.

She was 30 years old that day, and in honor of her birthday and to thank her and Tee-Van for their service to the department, they would make the next dive in the Bathysphere. Hollister had been so caught up in the excitement and tension of her role as the life link to the Bathysphere that she had completely forgotten the significance of the date. The sea conditions were still perfect, the sphere was in top shape with plenty of oxygen for a short dive, and Hollister and Tee-Van didn’t have to be asked twice. They dove into the sphere. Barton and a crewman swung the hatch cover into place and pounded home the main bolts, Beebe said farewell through the center hole and twisted in the wing bolt.

Inside, Tee-Van adjusted the oxygen flow and clamped the earphones onto his head, while Hollister took Beebe’s usual position at the center observation window. She was an ichthyologist, and though she had made dozens of helmet dives to depths of sixty feet, this was a dream come true. She felt much safer and calmer than she had on the Ready’s deck listening to the disembodied voices of Beebe and Barton, and knew that her entire life had led her to precisely that moment.

For the next half hour, Hollister dutifully called up her observations of pteropods, shrimp, jellies, and fish to Beebe on the topside telephone, and she and Tee-Van joined the exclusive club of deep-ocean explorers. Hollister marveled at a white, tissuelike creature she knew to be an eel larvae called leptocephalus which was infinitely more graceful in its own world [than] it had been in her laboratory aquarium. Their dive ended at 410 feet, deep enough for Hollister to set the world depth record for women but not too deep to worry Beebe that his magnanimous gift might become a tragedy. Hollister and Tee-Van pleaded for another hundred feet, but Beebe wouldn’t budge. He realized as he stood dry on the deck that a descent in the Bathysphere was more dangerous but nowhere near as frightening as staying behind with someone you loved in the depths below.

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