Biography of Olin J. Stephens II
Olin J. Stephens was born on April 13, 1908 in the Bronx, New York. His father was a coal merchant who moved the family to Scarsdale, New York in 1913, where Olin and his brother Rod went to school. It was while spending summers on the New England coast that Olin first learned to sail.
Graduating in 1926 from Scarsdale High School, Olin attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology for one semester and then began his yacht design career at the age of 19. He worked for some time with Henry J. Gielow, and then Philip Rhodes. In 1928 a partnership was arranged with Drake Sparkman, a yacht broker, and on November 11, 1929, Sparkman & Stephens Inc. was formally created with five partners: Drake Sparkman, James Sparkman, James Murray, Olin Stephens, and Roderick Stephens.
Mr. Stephens’ first success was with the design of the ocean racing yacht DORADE, launched in 1930, which was fast, and efficient. She won the 1936 Transpac, finishing first, first in class and first overall. In 1930, Olin also married Susie Reynolds. Olin designed one of the J-class boats, RANGER, for the defense of the 1937 America’s Cup, and several other America’s Cup boats were designed by Sparkman & Stephens including COLUMBIA, CONSTELLATION, FREEDOM, INTREPID and COURAGEOUS.
Olin Stephens retired from the design business in the 1980’s, after designing over 2,000 boats, including eight America’s Cup winners, in career lasting more than 50 years.
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.
Corporate Bodies (Including Vessels):
Stormy Weather (Yawl)
Naval architects–United States Yacht designers–United States
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Coll. 266, 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.
|1||1||Provisions list, STORMY WEATHER; 1935|
|2||Scrapbook, “RANGER-ENDEAVOUR II”; 1937|
|3||The New Yorker, “Profiles”; page 39|
|4||Towing Tanks and Hulls, published by the Stevens Institute of Technology; 1937|
|5||The New Yorker, “Profiles”; page 49|
|6||“12-meters his specialty”, newspaper clipping; 1957|
|7||Editorial photocopy from “The Skipper”; 1957|
|8||Machine Design cover; 1974|
|9||Newspaper clipping, RANGER (sloop); 1937|
|10||Life magazine reprint, “INTREPID; A Shapely Radical”; 1967 Jul 28|