1934-2004, predominant 1989-1994. – 804 videocassettes. – 144 sound recordings. – 11 motion pictures. – 3 videoreels.

Dr. Joe MacInnis, C.M. MD. FRCP. (Hon) LLD. (Hon), earned a medical degree from the University of Toronto in 1962 and was awarded a research position at the University of Pennsylvania to begin what would become his pursuit for the following three decades: the study of the physiology and psychology of men and women in undersea conditions. Between 1964 and 1970 he worked as the medical director of Ocean Systems Inc., the world’s largest diving and underwater engineering company. In 1970, Dr. MacInnis participated in the research and writing of Canada’s first national ocean policy. During this time, he initiated the first of eleven diving expeditions to study the systems and techniques needed to work safely under the ice in the near-freezing waters of the Arctic Ocean. In the next decade, his team would make more than 1,000 dives and construct the world’s first undersea polar station, the Sub-Igloo.

In 1978 Dr. MacInnis led the team that discovered, explored, and filmed the HMS Breadalbane, a three-masted British barque crushed by the ice in the Northwest Passage in 1853. Located in 340 feet of water 600 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the HMS Breadalbane is the world’s northernmost known shipwreck. The discovery of the Breadalbane encouraged Dr. MacInnis to explore the nature of humans and machines in the deep ocean, and no doubt pricked by the excitement of the shipwreck, he turned his attention to the most infamous shipwreck of all – the Titanic. Dr. MacInnis made two dives to the bow and stern of the Titanic between 1985 and 1991, and was co-leader of the two million dollar project to film the ship in IMAX format. In 2005, he joined James Cameron on a dive that produced a 90 minute live broadcast from some of the last unseen rooms of the ship.

Dr. MacInnis is involved in a number of community service projects that reflect the wide range of his interests, supporting both scientific and artistic ingenuity and the protection of the environment. He has been awarded five honorary doctorates, the Queen’s Anniversary Medal, the Admiral’s Medal and the country’s highest honour, the Order of Canada. He regularly lectures on topics of leadership and teamwork, and continues to publish on his underwater discoveries.

The fonds consists of audio, video and film recordings made by Dr. Joe MacInnis and his team during his underwater dives up to 2004. The bulk of the fonds concerns the shipwrecks of the Titanic, the Breadalbane and the Edmund Fitzgerald. There are also many films that highlight deep sea ecology and oceanography, particularly hydrothermal vents and deep sea sharks. Most films in the collection consist of “raw”, unedited footage, some of which were later used in other types of productions including James Cameron’s Titanic and Aliens of the Deep. The major motion pictures in which MacInnis’ footage appears are included in the collection. Also included are some video and audio recordings by MacInnis’ friends and colleagues.

For a breakdown of films by subject, see the MacInnis Audiovisual Series List. Some of the collection is also searchable in the library catalogue.

For additional biographical information, see

On the subjects of the films, see also:

Joe MacInnis, Underwater Images. McClelland and Stewart, 1972.
–. Underwater Man. Forward by Pierre Elliot Trudeau. McClelland and Stewart, 1974.
–. The Breadalbane Adventure. Optimum Publications Intl., 1982.
–. The Land that Devours Ships: The Search for the Breadalbane. CBC Books, 1984.
–. Titanic in a New Light. Thomasson-Grant, 1992.
–. Saving the Oceans. Key Porter Books, 1992.
–. Fitzgerald’s Storm: The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. MacMillan Canada, 1997.
–. James Cameron’s Aliens of the Deep: Voyages to the Strange World of the Deep Ocean. Introduction by James Cameron. National Geographic, 2005.
–. Breathing Underwater: The Quest to Live in the Sea. Penguin Books Canada, 2004.
–. Titanic Dreams: Reflections on the Discovery, Exploration and Salvage of the World’s Most Famous Shipwreck. (forthcoming, 2008).