Reverend S. Hall Young Album

At Muir Glacier.

At Muir Glacier.

Our indexer,  Ulyana has finished describing the Reverend S. Hall Young Album which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she has to say: Reverend S. Hall Young Album features 106 images of his 1913 summer cruise to Alaska and Siberian waters. The big game hunting expedition, organized by Young’s son-in-law Frank E. Kleinschmidt, consisted of Dr. S. Hall Young, Kleinschmidt, E. Marshall Scull, Gilpin Lovering, Dr. Arthur W. Elting, Alfred M. Collins, and taxidermists Albrecht and Kusche. The hunters, except Lowering, who joined in Nome, boarded steamer Jefferson in Seattle. E. Marshall Scull, who in 1914 described this expedition in a book titled Hunting in the Arctic and Alaska, stated that the itinerary was: “to traverse the Inside Passage by steamer, cross the White Pass to the head of the Yukon River, take steamer to Dawson and see the Klondike gold fields, go down the great river across the boundary into Alaska, to Fairbanks, the chief interior town, and emerge at Nome. . .” From Nome, the party boarded Ed Born’s P. J. Abler, and sailed across to Siberia, toward Wrangell Island in the Arctic, back to southwestern Alaska, and to Seattle. P.J. Abler’s crew included Captain Larsson, P.J. Abler’s owner and engineer Ed Born, assistant engineer Frank Born, Mate Hanson, and a cook and a cabin boy. About half of the album’s photographs were taken by Frank Kleinschmidt, whose other interest included filming a motion picture. The other half consists of photo postcards.

Mike Utcht, our guide, and family.

Mike Utcht, our guide, and family.

Rev. Young and two other hunters stealing up on walrus.

Rev. Young and two other hunters stealing up on walrus.

Agnes E. Egan photographs

Our indexer, Lisa has finished describing the Agnes E. Egan photographs which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she has to say:

Three story building with cupola.

Three story building with cupola.

Agnes E. Egan was born in February 1874 to a family that was from Canada but had relocated to Minnesota. Agnes moved to Alaska in April 1898 to live with her sister, Mrs. Chisolm. She worked in Douglas as a nurse, and she also taught school during her lifetime. These nineteen photographs were taken between 1900 and 1905, in and around the Douglas area. The photos include some professional portraits of local citizens, the Douglas Harmony & Island Bands, the Douglas Fire Department, and several of the Gastineau Channel waterfront. There’s even a photo of fifteen people seated on an iceberg! The finding aid states that “many of the portraits are by photographer E. Andrews, perhaps Edmund Andrews.”

Douglas Harmony Band

Douglas Harmony Band

Douglas Fire Department.

Douglas Fire Department.

E.B. Collins papers

Our indexer, Lisa has finished describing the E. B. Collins papers which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she has to say:

What did people do before Facebook? They made scrapbooks! I’m not speaking of the kind where you sink hundreds of dollars into fancy papers, tools, and stickers. I’m talking about the good old-fashioned album with the black pages that you attached photos, ticket stubs, performance programs, and the like to. They told a story of someone’s life, and of the ones that were closest to them. Often the edges would become worn and tattered from all the handling they received over the years. Such was the case in the life of Margaret Collins Cooper. Her photo albums (there were two) were typical of what you might find in any home from the same era. They had photos of family and friends, school outings and baseball games. They include images from when Margaret was young (she was born in 1902) through young adulthood. Many of the photos are of Margaret and her friends during their high school years.

Margaret, 1919.

Margaret, 1919.

One thing that stood out about Margaret is that she loved wearing her fur stole! She graduated from Fairbanks High School in 1921, and married Robert Cooper. Unfortunately, some of the photos were not captioned, so I can only guess at which ones depict Robert. However, many did have captions, and so we see Muriel, Evalyn and others, as well as Margaret’s family members.

Florence1

Florence.

Her father was E. B. (Earnest Bilbe) Collins (1873-1967) who came to Alaska in 1904, became a gold miner in the Fairbanks area, and later became a politician. I hope you enjoy walking back in time with Margaret and her friends, seeing Alaska as it was in the early 1900s.

Margaret Collins in her uniform.

Margaret Collins in her uniform.

The Cheechakos collection

Our indexer, Lance has finished describing the “The Cheechakos” collection  which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what he has to say:

In 1922 Austin E. Lathrop and George Lewis formed the Alaska Motion Pictures Corporation for the purpose of creating the silent film “The Chechahcos.” It was thought the altered spelling would  make it easier for audiences to pronounce. It was the first fiction film shot entirely in Alaska. Filming took place in 1923 and released to the public in 1924. It’s plot received a poor review and the title was criticized as unpronounceable. The movie was a commercial failure in the lower 48.

Cheechakos" film shooting group with actors at the entrance to Denali Park in 1923.

Cheechakos” film shooting group with actors at the entrance to Denali Park in 1923.

A fake Chilkoot Pass scene was filmed at mile 52 of the Alaska Railroad. Apparently a train was chartered for the day and the public was invited to participate as extras and to enjoy a free trip. They needed at least 250 extras to recreate the famous scene.
Fake Chilkoot Pass scene of the 1923 film "The Cheechakos."

Fake Chilkoot Pass scene of the 1923 film “The Cheechakos.”

The 87 minute silent film may be viewed on YouTube.

Coleen M. Platner Photograph Collection

Our indexer, Dee has finished describing the Coleen M. Platner Photograph Collection which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she has to say:

As the finding aid states, this collection “includes photographs of the Tanana Valley Railroad at Little Eldorado City, the original McKinley Park Hotel, the S.S. Dolphin in the Interior Passage, and a group portrait of Nenana’s first draft quota in June 1918. There are also photographs of a man feeding his pet bear and a boy holding a leashed young moose.”

This collection is reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie in an Arctic sort of way.  Instead of living in the Big Woods on the prairie, families lived in the Alaska wilderness.

Iditarod, Alaska, about 1912

Iditarod, Alaska, about 1912

Instead of traveling by covered wagon, dog sledding was a mode of transportation.

Dr. F.W. Herms, DDS on trip, Tanana - Ruby

Dr. F.W. Herms, DDS on trip, Tanana – Ruby

Instead of Nellie, there was  Sigrid.  [Photo credit: NY Daily News, Aug. 9, 2008.]

Nellie was a bit of a punk.

Nellie was a bit of a punk.

Sigrid McDonald

Sigrid McDonald

Housed in this collection are images of the Last Frontier – the wildness of Alaska, the animals of Alaska, the mountains and glaciers of Alaska, the people of Alaska.  Take a gander and see for yourself.

Robert L. Brown Photographs

Our indexer, Ulyana has finished describing the Robert L. Brown Photographs which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she has to say:

The 262 images in the Robert L. Brown Photographs were taken during the summer of 1967 by Robert L.Brown, who worked for the Alaska Department of Highways, Fairbanks District. The photographs document construction of the Tanana River Bridge in Nenana, Alaska. The images show construction crews, machinery, and formwork. The powerful steel structures are breathtaking! And yet, Nenana and Tanana Rivers flooded the same summer, making use of the Tanana River Bridge second priority…

Flood waters in Nenana. August, 1967.

Flood waters in Nenana. August, 1967.

Reinforcing steel in place prior to pouring deck slab on main bridge. June, 1967.

Reinforcing steel in place prior to pouring deck slab on main bridge. June, 1967.

Homer C. Votaw Collection

Our indexer, Alex has finished describing the Homer C. Votaw Collection which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what he has to say:

The Homer C. Votaw Collection includes an album of photographs taken and assembled by Homer Votaw’s mother between 1905 and 1915. Many of the photos were taken in and around Circle, Alaska (thus the album’s informal name: “The Circle Album”), though other locations are included. Subjects include landscapes, cityscapes, steamboats, close-ups of flora and fauna, and portraits, though the portraits are most striking, providing a distinctive look into Alaskan frontier life at the turn of the 20th century.

Take, for example, “Miller house,” a family portrait. Everything about this photo seems cut from the cloth of a different era, from the clothing on up to the facial expressions (smiling for pictures, as we know, is a more modern convention). I’m particularly delighted by the patriarchal figure in the center, identified in the album as ‘Cap’ Griffin. Everything about this guy seems bygone, even the nickname. I have to imagine that the only proper greeting for a ‘Cap’ Griffin would be a doffed cap or a curtsy.

Miller house

Miller house

And while many of the photos seem dragged up from a different century, there are others that seem positively alien. “Dumping out the barrow” is one such example. (Have you ever seen John Carpenter’s The Thing?) I love the surreality that the snowy atmosphere, the refuse pile, and the man’s straight-backed posture all lend to this picture. What world is this that we, the viewers, have just wandered into? And what on earth has got him staring off into the distance so attentively? Have a look at the background’s spectral trees….

Dumping out the barrow

Dumping out the barrow

Finally, for those horror fans among us, those steel-nerved aficionados of all things unsettling, eerie, spine-tingling, and macabre, I beseech you, look no further than “Faceless man with blurry dog.” Gaze upon this image and know the depths of horror! By what witchcraft has this man been scrubbed of all his features? From what circle of Hell has this devil dog come howling? The answer, friend, lurks in the darkness just beyond the doorway. Step inside and see…

Faceless man with blurry dog

Faceless man with blurry dog

Folger, George C. Papers

Our indexer, Dee has finished describing the Folger, George C. Papers which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she has to say:

This collection documents the life and times of George and Willa Folger during the seven years George managed the Lomen Commercial Company stores at Teller, then Candle, then Golovin from 1935 to 1941.

You’ll find several images of the local people in this area, including Grandma Harding, who on one eventful summer day back in June of 1939 was out ice fishing for tomcod.

Grandma Harding

Grandma Harding

This fishing outing became a floating outing, when the chunk of ice Grandma was standing on, broke off and whisked her out to sea.

Grandma out to sea

Poor Granny!

Fortunately, her grandson, Tommy was nearby and rescued his kinswoman from near death.

Tommy rescuing his grandma

Tommy rescuing his grandma

Hooray for heroic rescues!  For family.  And for ice-fishing grandmas whisked out to sea.

John Sigler Photograph Collection

Our indexer, Alex has finished describing the  John Sigler Photograph Collection which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what he has to say:

This collection consists of over 1400 photographs taken by John Sigler, a graduate of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’s class of 1950 or 1951. Though I only indexed a portion of the whole collection, it quickly became one of my favorites. Sigler is a brilliant stylist, and many of the photos are breathtakingly beautiful. Taken primarily during the early 1950s, they focus on Fairbanks and the University, with subjects like dances, parades, graduations, plays, and football games played in the snow. There are images of tanks and artillery lining the streets of downtown Fairbanks, and an image of Chief Justice Earl Warren shaking hands outside a University building. One memorable image depicts students playing with a polar bear cub, while another shows a cow parachuting lazily to the earth. Who put the cow in the parachute, you ask, and why did this person undertake such a ridiculous endeavor? I have no idea. Many of the photos came with little or no identifying information, leaving me to theorize and wonder (which, of course, is one of the joys of indexing). Here, for example, is a woman sitting at a table full of skulls. And she’s grinning!

Skulls galore

Skulls galore

Then there are the portraits, the candid images of campus life in the 1950s. As much as I love the stranger, more outlandish photos, I think I like these ones best. They depict a tea party shared in a 1950s living room, or a man in an overcoat, looking up at a stuffed bear, or two men adding breasts to a snowman and naming her “EVE.” There’s a certain liveliness and vivacity to these images, however irreverent they may be. They tell stories. I’m particularly fond of a photo in which a man and a woman share a kiss on a stage decorated in paper hearts. They appear to be the king and queen of something (a Valentine’s Day dance, perhaps?), but take a look at the way she balances her crown with one hand. Look at the way he’s touching her neck. It looks like real life.

Smooch

Smooch

Or what about this photo, the one with the woman posing at her desk? At her back, a shelf is loaded with books, causing me to wonder if maybe she’s a librarian. I’m totally enamored with a tiny detail in this photo: the glasses sitting on her desk. Notice the way they’ve been positioned, as if to suggest she’s just removed them, probably for this very photo. There’s something very lived-in, very human in that gesture, don’t you think? It evokes a naturalness and immediacy that transports me. A single, frozen moment becomes a whole series of moments. There is movement now. Time is passing. And then I’m standing in the room across from her. The photographer adjusts his lens, and I can smell the musty books. It’s 1951.

In the library

In the library

Daisy Keene / Tonia Smith Photograph Collection

Our indexer, Ulyana has finished describing the Daisy Keene / Tonia Smith Photograph Collection  which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she has to say:

This is a collection of color slides that were gathered by Tonia Smith. Taken by an unknown person in 1940s – 1960s, the slides depict city life and scenery in Southeast and Northern Alaska – in Sitka, Juneau, Ketchikan, Hydaburg, Metlakatla, Little Diomede, King Island, Teller, Golovin, and Kotzebue, with the bulk of collection feature Nome. The 352 color images portray Alaska traditional activities and subsistence lifestyle, street views, schools and clinics, cities and city residents.

Bruce Cook - Alex Douglas - Fredrick Grant. Hydaburg, 5/48.

Bruce Cook – Alex Douglas – Fredrick Grant. Hydaburg, 5/48.

Little Diomede. July '50.

Little Diomede. July ’50.

 

 

 

 

 

It seems that the 1950s winters were cold, with heavy frost weighing down the wires!

First Avenue, Nome. Frost on wires.

First Avenue, Nome. Frost on wires.