Biography of Roderick Stephens
Roderick Stephens, Jr. (1909-1995) was a renown yachtsman of the twentieth century. Born in New York City in 1909 Stephens began his sailing career off Cape Cod in 1919. In 1928 Roderick Stephens left Cornell University after one year to work up through the ranks at the Henry Nevins boat yard on City Island. In 1933 he joined the yacht design firm of Sparkman and Stephens which had been co-founded by his brother Olin Stephens, II and Drake Sparkman. As a member of the firm Roderick Stephens oversaw domestic and foreign construction of all Sparkman and Stephens boats, and later became president. During World War II, he played a major role in the design of the DUKW, an amphibious Army vehicle that subsequently earned Mr. Stephens a United States Medal of Freedom.
In yachting, Roderick Stephens’ racing career is legendary. One of his most notable wins was aboard DORADE, an innovative 52-foot yawl he and Olin designed and built in 1930. The yawl won numerous long-distance races, including the 1931 British Fastnet Race and in that same year, the Trans-Atlantic Race from Newport, R.I. With Olin as Captain the DORADE sailed a Northern route while the other contenders sailed South. DORADE arrived at the finish forty-eight hours before the other contenders. Stephens then proceeded to win the British Fastnet race. On the crew’s return home, the DORADE crew was given a ticker-tape parade in New York City.
Roderick Stephens also aided in the design and sailing of the America’s Cup defenders, RANGER in 1937; COLUMBIA in 1958, and CONSTELLATION in 1964, and was a member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. He belonged to several yacht clubs, including the New York Yacht Club, and was a former commodore of the Cruising Club of America. He was also an honorary member of the United States Naval Academy Fales Committee and was chairman of the New Ship Committee of the Sea Education Association.
Scope and Content
The collection contains 34 logs, 8 navigator’s notebooks, 7 scrapbooks, 2 guest registers as well as notes, correspondence, newspaper and magazine articles.
The logs, navigator’s notebooks and guest registers are primarily arranged by vessel: DORADE (Yawl); 1931 – 1934 for the Trans-Atlantic/ Fastnet Races, STORMY WEATHER (Yawl); 1935 for the Trans-Atlantic/ Fastnet Races, MUSTANG (Sloop); 1947 – 1968 Rod Stephens’ personal yacht, and other yachts; 1940 – 1968 on which Stephens acted as navigator and or captain.
The remainder of the collection; 3 boxes, contains general papers, magazine and newspaper clippings, some bound in scrapbooks, regarding Roderick and Olin Stephens’ (Roderick’s brother) personal, business and yachting activities.
Restrictions on Access
Available for use in the Manuscripts Division.
Restrictions on Use
Various copying restriction apply. Guidelines are available from the Manuscripts Division.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the G. W. Blunt White Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Sparkman & Stephens
Stormy Weather (Yawl)
America’s Cup races
Medal of freedom
World War, 1939-1945–Amphibious operations
Coll. 163, Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.
Detailed Description of the Collection
The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.
Dorade (yawl), logs and papers; 1931-1935. Stormy Weather (yawl), logs and papers; 1935. Mustang (sloop), logs, navigator’s data, guest registers, clippings; 1947-1968. Other yachts, logs, navigator’s data, and related papers; ca 1938-1971. Roderick Stephens, Jr. General papers, etc.; 1931-1993. Magazine articles, clippings, re Stephens brothers and their yachting activities; 1930-1964. Scrapbooks; 1931-1968. Charts; nd.
|1||1||Log, Dorade (yawl); 1931 Jul 4-21.|
|2||Log, Dorade (yawl); 1932 May – Aug.|
|3||Log, Dorade (yawl); 1933 May – Jul.|
|4||Log, Dorade (yawl); 1933 Jul – Aug.|
|5||Log, Dorade (yawl); 1934 Jun – Jul.|
|6||Dorade (yawl), dinner menu; Larchmont Y.C.; 1931 Sep 11.|
|7||Dorade (yawl), misc. bills, etc. for Norway – England Trip; 1933.|
|8||Roderick Stephens Jr., notes on Dorade (yawl) and Fastnet/Transatlantic; nd.|
|9||Navigator’s notebook; Dorade (yawl) and Stormy Weather (yawl); 1933. 1935.|
|10||Log, Stormy Weather (yawl); 1935 Jun – Jul.|
|11||Log, Stormy Weather (yawl); 1935 Jul – Sep.|
|2||1||Log, Mustang (sloop); 1947 Aug – 1948 May.|
|2||Log, Mustang (sloop); 1948 Jun – Oct.|
|3||Log, Mustang (sloop); 1949 Apr – Oct.|
|4||Log, Mustang (sloop); 1950 May – Oct.|
|5||Log, Mustang (sloop); 1951 Apr – Oct.|
|6||Log, Mustang (sloop); 1952 May – Oct.|
|7||Log, Mustang (sloop); 1953 May – Jun.|
|8||Log, Mustang (sloop); 1954 May – Jun.|
|9||Log, Mustang (sloop); 1955 May – Oct.|
|10||Log, Mustang (sloop); 1956 Apr – Oct.|
|11||Log, Mustang (sloop); 1957 May – Oct.|
|12||Log, Mustang (sloop), fall Off – Soundings; 1957.|
|13||Log (photo copy) Mustang (sloop); 1959.|
|14||Navigator’s notebook, Mustang (sloop); 1950.|
|15||Navigator’s data, Mustang (sloop); 1959.|
|16||Navigator’s data, Mustang (sloop).; 1963.|
|17||Info. on radio, Mustang (sloop); 1958.|
|3||1||Guest register, Mustang (sloop); 1950 – 1952.|
|2||Guest register, Mustang (sloop); 1953 – 1968.|
|3||Clippings, Mustang (sloop), Bermuda Race; 1946 – 1948 & 1950.|
|4||Newspapers, Mustang (sloop), Bermuda Race; 1950.|
|4||1||Logbook, Viking (Sept. 1940), White Heron (Nov. 1940), Mustang (sloop); 1940, 1946.|
|2||Logbook, Blitzen (June – July 1938), Good News (Feb. 1940), Mustang (sloop); 1938, 1940, 1947.|
|3||Logbook, Revonoc; 1949 Jul – 1951 Feb.|
|4||Log and Navigator’s data, Branta, Halifax to N.Y.; nd.|
|5||Log (unidentified yacht); 1959.|
|6||Log (unidentified yacht); 1960.|
|7||Log (unidentified yacht); 1961.|
|8||Log (unidentified yacht); 1962.|
|9||Log (unidentified yacht); 1963.|
|10||Log (unidentified yacht); 1964.|
|11||Log (unidentified yacht); 1965.|
|12||Log (unidentified yacht); 1966.|
|13||Log (unidentified yacht); 1967.|
|14||Log (unidentified yacht); 1968.|
|15||Notebook of navigator’s data kept by Rod Stephens, “Bloodhound Navigation”; 1939 Aug.|
|16||Navigator’s notebook by Rod Stephens; ca. 1950 – 1952.|
|17||Navigator’s notebook by Rod Stephens; ca. 1952.|
|18||Navigator’s notebook by Rod Stephens; ca. 1971.|
|5||1||Diary, Roderick Stephens Jr.; 1931.|
|2||DUKW, final Report. Images|
|3||DUKW, misc. correspondence, photos, data, etc.; ca. 1991 – 1993.|
|4||Cert. of Appreciation to R. Stephens Jr. from National Defense; 1945 Mar 1.|
|5||Honorary MA Degree, Brown University; 1959 Jun 1.|
|6||Membership certificate, International Maritime Technical Institute; 1968.|
|7||America’s Cup, “Race Committee Report and Sailing Instructions”; 1958.|
|8||America’s Cup, “Race Instructions and Conditions Governing Race”; 1964.|
|9||America’s Cup, log data yacht Constellation; 1964 Aug – Sep.|
|10||America’s Cup, clippings; 1964 Aug – Sep.|
|11||“Standing Rigging”, re. yacht Ranger, final draft; 1990 Sep.|
|12||Roderick Stephens Jr., misc. correspondence; ca. 1956 – 1992.|
|13||Roderick Stephens Jr., misc. papers, etc.; nd.|
|6||1||Yachting Magazine; 1939 – 1958.|
|2||Sports Illustrated; 1958 – 1964.|
|3||Miscellaneous sailing magazines; 1958 – 1964.|
|4||Magazine articles (unbound); ca. 1930 – 1960.|
|5||Newspaper clippings; ca. 1950 – 1960.|
|6||Scrapbook 1; Dorade (yawl) and 1931 Trans-Atlantic Race.; 1931.|
|7||1||Scrapbook 2; Rod Stephens Jr; WWII career, marriage; ca. 1945 – 1950.|
|2||Scrapbook 3; Rod Stephens Jr; yachting activity and family life; ca. 1950 – 1960.|
|8||1||Scrapbook 4; yacht Palawan; 1968.|
|2||Scrapbook 5; America’s Cup trials and yacht Columbia; 1958.|
|3||Scrapbook 6; America’s Cup and acht Columbia; 1958.|