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Otto Geist's Treasure

There’s a mystery afoot in the APR Collection and Archives Research Room! Well, technically, it’s been a mystery here at UAF since 1938. Some of you may already know the story: Otto Geist, self-made paleontologist and well-known Fairbanksonian, reportedly buried mammoth tusks somewhere on campus. Some say it was to spite a rival, others say it was to test “proofing” methods to better preserve the fragile material. Whatever the reason, no one knows where the tusks are now. They sit, gaining value, just waiting for some lucky Goonies.

Dr. Geist with specimens

Before you all pull out your shovels and we have a full-on Sacharian Holes situation here, I should explain that students with the MAYmester documentary class have been hard at work treasure-hunting in the APR Archives. Using the Otto Geist papers, they’ve pored over his field notes, diaries, and reports looking for clues. They’ve even found a 1952 interview with Geist held by the Oral History Program. If anyone’s going to find those tusks, my money’s on them.

Do you have any campus legends you’d like to learn more about? Do you have any leads to other campus treasures? Tell the Archives about it! We love a good caper. Email us at UAF-APR-reference-Service@alaska.edu.

This page was last modified on January 6, 2020