Coffee Hour at the Archives

This is the first posting by our new Assistant Archivist, Erin Wahl.

On Monday, August 29th, our new academic year begins here at UAF. As a sort of celebration of a brand new semester, the folks down in APRCA decided to host a coffee hour for library faculty, staff, and student workers. Some of us put our chef’s hats on and contributed some awesome baked goods to the cause, while others pitched in some dough for nice coffee.

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Library faculty, staff, and student workers enjoying coffee hour.

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Assistant Archivist Charles Hilton (left) discusses the Alaska Commercial Company Records with Interim Dean of Libraries Suzan Hahn (right) and ANCSA Project Director Robert Drozda (center).

We also wanted to share with our fun coworkers, some of the amazing stuff we get to see every day. So we decided to channel everyone’s inner history nerd by pulling items from some of our favorite, new, recently used, and cool collections for a library show-and-tell.

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Library faculty, staff, and student workers in the Paul H. McCarthy Research Room.

Some of the things our colleagues got to feast their eyes on? A ledger from the Alaska Commercial Company, brand new acquisitions of rare maps that have not yet been cataloged, a photo album from the 1890s, colorful maps of Alaska produced for tourism, some fun correspondence between family members from a recently processed collection, and some other goodies. We even put an unprocessed, recently donated box of slides next to a box of slides that had been processed as an example of the kind of work that we do on a daily basis.

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The Elmer E. Rasmuson Library on a rainy day with hot coffee!

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Library faculty, staff, and student workers in the Paul H. McCarthy Research Room.

It was fun to have our friends from other floors down for a visit before the busyness of a new academic year begins. Thanks for coming everyone! Next time I’m thinking…ugly sweater Christmas theme?

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Alaska and Polar Regions Bibliographer and Curator of Rare Books Dr. Katherine Arndt (left) discusses new rare map acquisitions with Library Development and Public Information Officer Suzanne Bishop (right).

Clark M. Garber Collection

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

The photos in this collection come from an unpublished manuscript, entitled ‘Atanak, the White Eskimo: a True Story of Alaska’ by Clark M. Garber as told to Edward R. Johnson. Together, the manuscript and its photos detail the years Garber (aka ‘Atanak’) spent working in Alaska for the U.S. Bureau of Education, from 1925 – 1933. The photographs consist mainly of portraits and action shots depicting Garber’s interactions with Alaska Natives, though the collection also contains maps, landscapes, and others.

Atanak.

Atanak.

Of all my photos, though, my favorites are the portraits. I love the windows they can open into others’ lives, and I love the ways in which the notes and captions can sometimes open windows within those windows. Take, for example, ‘Atanak.’ Here we have Garber in Native attire. The caption reads, simply, ‘Atanak.’ A note included with the manuscript indicates that this image was to be used as the manuscript’s ‘Frontispiece,’ which suggests to me that this was exactly how Garber—the manuscript’s author—intended us to see him. There’s something about that expression of intent that alters my perception of him. It’s not a false intent, exactly. But it is crafted.

Oonalik, chief of the Innuits at Wales.

Oonalik, chief of the Innuits at Wales.

Contrast that with this image: ‘Oonalik, chief of the Innuits at Wales.’ Note his bearing and his posture here. If I were to remove the caption, and present you with only the image of Oonalik, would you have any doubt if I told you he was a chief?

Ooganeesee, Eskimo girl of Wales.

Ooganeesee, Eskimo girl of Wales.

My favorite of all the photos, though, is ‘Ooganeesee, Eskimo girl of Wales.’ I love her proud stance here, the way in which the wind can be seen stirring the fur on her parka. In particular, I love her selection of story to share with Garber: ‘How an Eskimo Maid Jilted Her Suitor.’ There’s a certain synergy between her story selection and the way she’s represented by the photo. Maybe ‘How an Eskimo Maid Jilted Her Suitor’ was a favorite of hers. I, for one, wouldn’t doubt it.

William A. Egan papers

Our indexer,  Ulyana has finished describing the William A. Egan papers which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she has to say:

The William A. Egan Papers feature photos that belonged to William Allen “Bill” Egan, the first Alaska Governor who served from 1959 to 1966. He was reelected in 1970-1974. Egan’s widow, Neva Egan, gave his papers to the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections & Archives. In 1985, a special appropriation from the Alaska State Legislature funded the processing of this important political collection. The photos were arranged and identified by India Spartz. The images depict public events, politicians and public officers, and the city of Juneau.

Bill Egan taking the oath of office.

Bill Egan taking the oath of office.

Alaska’s three democratic electors – Lucille Marshall (Juneau), Clara McCutcheon (Anchorage), and Annella Davis (Fairbanks), 1965.

Alaska’s three democratic electors – Lucille Marshall (Juneau), Clara McCutcheon (Anchorage), and
Annella Davis (Fairbanks), 1965.

Officials of the University of Alaska view plans for the new health, physical education and recreation building which is planned for the Fairbanks University campus.

Officials of the University of Alaska view plans for the new health, physical education
and recreation building which is planned for the Fairbanks University campus.

Leslie A. Marchand Photographs

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

Leslie A. Marchand Photographs belonged to Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines professor who worked there in 1923-27 and 1934-35. Winter issue of 1924 Farthest-North Collegian listed Leslie A. Marchand as Professor of French and Instructor in English who “graduated from the University of Washington with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, in 1922, and the following year received a Master’s Degree with a major in English and minor in French from the same university.” The forty-three images feature Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines students and faculty, early Alaska pilots, Fairbanks city streets, and dog races. Fairbanks was becoming more modern – it had its own college, and the city conveniences included water delivery and air mail services.

Students and faculty ready for cold weather.

Students and faculty ready for cold weather.

Blue Crystal Water Co. water carrier near Andrew Nerland Warehouse, Fairbanks.

Blue Crystal Water Co. water carrier near Andrew Nerland Warehouse, Fairbanks.

New Alaska mail service.

New Alaska mail service.

Elizabeth Hayes Goddard Diary

Our indexer,  Ulyana has finished describing the Elizabeth Hayes Goddard Diary collection which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she has to say:

Elizabeth Hayes, born in New York in 1898, graduated from the Mary C. Wheeler School, Providence, Rhode Island and from the Rochester Business Institute, Rochester, New York. In 1943, she married George W. Goddard, then Colonel in the U.S. Air Corps. They had one daughter, Diane. Fifty-three photographs featured in Alaska’s Digital Archives illustrate Elizabeth Goddard’s diary that documents her 1934 trip along the Yukon and Koyukuk Rivers – from Vancouver to Dawson, Dawson to Eagle, Eagle to Fort Yukon, Fort Yukon to Koyukuk Station, up the Koyukuk to Allakaket, Koyukuk Station to Anvik, and Anvik upstream to Nenana. In foreword to her typed and bound 150-pages diary, Elizabeth Goddard wrote, “From the first day aboard ‘Pelican IV’ in the summer of 1934 I jotted down everything we saw and everybody we met along the Yukon and Koyukuk rivers in Alaska.”

Pelican IV.

Pelican IV.

Robert Service's cabin - Dawson, Y.T. Bluebells and wild roses in yard.

Robert Service’s cabin – Dawson, Y.T. Bluebells and wild roses in yard.

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Indian children of the mission school, Fort Yukon.

 

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.

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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.