Category Archives: Alaska’s Digital Archives

Gaustad-Bartlett Family Papers

Our indexer Ulyana processed photographs from Gaustad-Bartlett Family Papers. Here is what she had to say about the collection:

Gaustad-Bartlett family photographs depict Fairbanks, Sitka, and Hoonah during 1910 – 1920. The collection includes rare images of the George C. Thomas Memorial Library and Fairbanks public school, as well as photos of Alaska tribal buildings, private houses, and community events.

Interior of the Fairbanks Library, 1915. Gaustad-Bartlett Family Papers, 1972-156-125, Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Interior of the Fairbanks Library, 1915.
Gaustad-Bartlett Family Papers, 1972-156-125, Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Vide Marie Gaustad Bartlett (1904-1976) attended school in Fairbanks during the school year, and joined her father, O. P. Gaustad, in the Livengood mining district, during summers. Vide completed her high school in Los Angeles, and subsequently earned a university degree and teaching certificate. She taught in Wrangell, Alaska, and in Washington State before marrying E. L. “Bob” Bartlett in August 1930.

Fairbanks soldiers off for the war, 1918. Gaustad-Bartlett Family Papers, 1972-156-313, Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Fairbanks soldiers off for the war, 1918.
Gaustad-Bartlett Family Papers, 1972-156-313, Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks

E. L. “Bob” Bartlett (1904-1968) was a prominent Alaska politician and a member of the Democratic Party. He attended the University of Washington and Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reporter and associate editor, Bob Bartlett also worked as secretary to Alaska’s delegate to Congress Anthony Dimond. He served as Alaska’s delegate to Congress seven times from 1945. E. L. “Bob” Bartlett became Alaska’s first U.S. Senator in 1959.

Fairbanks public school, 1919.  Gaustad-Bartlett Family Papers, 1972-156-126, Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Fairbanks public school, 1919.
Gaustad-Bartlett Family Papers, 1972-156-126, Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks

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W.H. (Bill) Carroll Photographs

Indexer extraordinaire Lisa just finished updating the W. H. (Bill) Carroll Photograph Collection on Alaska’s Digital Archives. W. H. (Bill) Carroll came to Alaska in 1936, and attended the University of Alaska in Fairbanks in 1938. His field of study was Mining Engineering, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. Most of these black-and-white photos were taken between 1938 and 1940, and most are mining photos or pictures of student life at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. There are several photos of Bill Carroll, but my favorite of him is in a point field, manning a “point hammer.” He evidently worked at the thaw fields in the summertime.

Bill Carroll at his summer's pastime. W. H. Bill Carroll Photograph Collection, 1988-168-39, Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Bill Carroll at his summer’s pastime.
W. H. Bill Carroll Photograph Collection, 1988-168-39, Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

I always enjoy photos that have a story behind them, like this photo that captured the continuing search for some “store boughten teeth” in the middle of the gold field.

Man digging with pickaxe. W. H. Bill Carroll Photograph Collection, 1988-168-196, Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Man digging with pickaxe.
W. H. Bill Carroll Photograph Collection, 1988-168-196, Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Quite a number of the photos in this collection were focused on the Fairbanks Ice Carnival, and the beauty pageant that was associated with it. The photos depict the queen and her court on a specially carved ice throne, dressed in parkas. Below is Miss Alaska from either 1938 or 1939.

Miss Alaska. W. H. Bill Carroll Photograph Collection, 1988-168-151, Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Miss Alaska.
W. H. Bill Carroll Photograph Collection, 1988-168-151, Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

There were many interesting photos of student life at the University of Alaska, so it was hard to choose just one or two to highlight. There are several photos of R.O.T.C. members, such as this one where Army R.O.T.C. cadets were “on guard at the gym.”

Gym with the R.O.T.C. on guard. W. H. Bill Carroll Photograph Collection, 1988-168-71, Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Gym with the R.O.T.C. on guard.
W. H. Bill Carroll Photograph Collection, 1988-168-71, Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Some things about life on campus don’t seem to change much, but clothing styles certainly have. I am always amazed at how suits were commonly worn by men in that time period, even if they were just studying. One thing that doesn’t change is the enjoyment of hanging out with friends on campus, and there are hints of that in many of these photos. I hope you will take the time to look further into this collection, for it is well worth delving into!

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Alaskan Air Command Photograph Collection

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

This is an album comprised of twenty-five photos documenting Operations Rainbow and Fish for Kids, the Air Command’s efforts to stock Lake Louise, Green Lake, Gregory Lake, and Six Mile Creek with rainbow trout during the summer of ’55. Mostly practical but occasionally striking, the photos are composed in black and white, with captions that provide fairly detailed descriptions of the steps involved in stocking Alaska’s waterways.

Carried in suspension by the water.

Carried in suspension by the water.

Carried in suspension for the water,” for example, depicts several hundred trout fry being introduced to Six Mile Creek via a long hose attached to a tank in the back of a truck. “Past tests have proven losses are negligible by this method,” says the caption, though, to my mind, the most interesting thing about this photo is its composition: While two men labor to operate the hose in the foreground, in the background, a film crew has set up on the banks of the creek. In this way, an entire scene is evoked.

Rainbow fry in the troughs

Rainbow fry in the troughs.

Similarly, “Rainbow fry in the troughs” is a dynamic image that offers insight into an earlier step in the fish-planting process. “This is the start of Project ‘Fish for Kids,’” reads the caption, and the picture itself is positively brimming with different energies and textures: sun and shadow; the still, sturdy grid formed by the troughs; the squiggling and the wriggling of the fish.

Personnel that made the plant.

Personnel that made the plant.

Finally, “Personnel that made the plant” gives us a look at the men involved in these projects, putting a human face on the whole operation. It’s the final photograph in the collection, which I think is fitting. Though the Alaskan Air Command Photograph Collection is probably of most interest to those involved in fisheries or in the history of fish-stocking in Alaska, it’s also full of unique and compelling images from a bygone era.

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A Vertigo Inducing Collection – the H. C. Barley photographs

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

Looking south from the tunnel.

Looking south from the tunnel.

Dear reader, what plans do you have after reading this blog post? I invite you stop what you’re doing (after reading this post), put on your shoes, preferably of the sneaker sort, and run, no, sprint over to the APR Research Room and look at this collection yourself. Do I have your attention? Good. Please take heed.

The online stuff just doesn’t cut it. You’ve got to hold these photos in your own white-gloved hands (not so fashionable, but compulsory), and see them with your own eyeballs to truly appreciate this collection. Stunning. Dimensional, almost three dimensional. The photos pop out at you. True story – while examining some of these photos, I experienced vertigo. The winding rails, the steep cliffs and the high mountains had me holding onto the table and swaying back and forth. The white gloves came in extra handy as I used them to wipe my damp brow.

Okay, not really. But they did make me dizzy and spellbound. Honestly, I have to say these photos made me gasp with glee. They’re breathtaking in an Oooh Ah sort of way.

Photo credit goes to H.C. Barley (also known as Harrie C. and Harry C.) who was hired as the company photographer for the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad in the spring of 1898. He worked for two years documenting the construction and early operation of the 110-mile narrow gauge railway which ran from Skagway, Alaska, to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.

Barley was known for his daring, often risking his life to get the perfect photograph of the construction of the railway. Many of the photos show this. I wondered how he could have possibly positioned himself to capture the angle and the proximity of the subject manner? He compromised his safety and was injured at least once for the sake of the shot.

Dear reader, what are you waiting for? Go! These photos await you.

Trestle over Glacier Gorge at the tunnel.

Trestle over Glacier Gorge at the tunnel.

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Thanks be to Elmer: the Elmer E. Rasmuson Papers

Our indexer Dee has finished describing 36 items — including photographs, letters, and other physical artifacts — of the Elmer E. Rasmuson Papers, which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she has to say:

I’ve worked at the Rasmuson Library for 11 years now, and, for my first few years here, I passed by this portrait of Elmer E. Rasmuson hanging up at the south entrance of the library, mistakenly thinking it was our dean at the time.  To my new employee eyes, they looked remarkably the same!

Official photograph of Elmer Rasmuson used in advertising for his 1968 U.S. Senate campaign.  (Elmer E. Rasmuson Papers, UAF-2001-128-19)

Official photograph of Elmer Rasmuson used in advertising for his 1968 U.S. Senate campaign. (Elmer E. Rasmuson Papers, UAF-2001-128-19)

When I discovered that this was actually the eponym of the library, I have to say, I was unimpressed.  Because, to me, it looked like a thousand other portraits of philanthropists and politicians.  I felt a bit of gratitude and respect for the man, but not much past that.

But indexing this collection of photos was a pleasure — a true honor, to be honest.

This philanthropist and politician…  Well, he was very very engaged, very instrumental to Alaska’s development, and very philanthropic.  It’s no wonder he has a library named after him!

I strongly encourage you all to read the gems of information about him and his family that can be found here: http://library.uaf.edu/rasmusonbio/.  This collection was curated by our very own Lisa Morris who works in the Alaska and Polar Regions Collection & Archives at the Rasmuson Library.

I will now pass by Elmer’s portrait, and I will honor him.  I nod to you, Elmer, with much appreciation, with all due respect.

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An Epic Expedition: Norman H. Read Mount Logan Papers

Our indexer Dee has finished describing 14 photos of the Norman H. Read Mount Logan Papers, which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she has to say:

This collection consists of a mere 14 photos depicting a team of mountaineers described as a “hodgepodge of Brits, Americans, Canadians, privileged alpinists, World War I veterans, and inveterate Sourdoughs” who were the very first to ascend Mt. Logan, Canada’s highest peak, and the largest base circumference of any non-volcanic mountain on earth.  Sure, it’s shorter than Denali, but “because of its remoteness (St. Elias Range of Northwestern Canada in the Yukon Territory) and fierce storms, Logan has seen fewer climbers in its entire human history than one year’s traffic on Denali.”*

Six men pulling two sleds loaded with gear.  (UAF-1992-174-1092, Norman H. Read Mount Logan papers.)

Six men pulling two sleds loaded with gear. (UAF-1992-174-1092, Norman H. Read Mount Logan papers.)

The team of six, led by the Canadian Alpine Club-appointed Albert MacCarthy, walked 70 miles up the Chitina River, dragging sleds of gear and supplies until they arrived at the glacial trough, the King Trench, on the west side of the mountain.  This final climb took the team more than two weeks to cross the tough terrain and reach the summit, arriving on June 23, 1925 at 8pm.

Along the way, they dealt with fiercely cold weather, storms, blizzards, and avalanches that resulted in frostbite, delays, and exhaustion.  They climbed in grueling conditions at altitudes of over 18,000 feet.

This climb has been described as the “most extraordinary epic of hardship and endurance in the annals of North American mountaineering.”** And we’ve got photos of this epic journey in our very own collection.  Maybe you should all stop by Rasmuson Library and see these photos for yourself!

Team of mountaineers geared up with backpacks and expedition poles.  (UAF-1992-174-1080, Norman H. Read Mount Logan papers.)

Team of mountaineers geared up with backpacks and expedition poles. (UAF-1992-174-1080, Norman H. Read Mount Logan papers.)

*Waterman, Jon. Great mountains of the world: Mt. Logan | adventure journal.  http://www.adventure-journal.com/2012/07/great-mountains-of-the-world-mt-logan-2/
**Highpoints of Canada: Mount Logan.  http://www.highpointsofcanada.com/mount-logan.html

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Mostly Mining: Hanot Family Papers

Our indexer Dee has finished describing the photos of the Hanot Family Papers, which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she has to say:

With all due respect to the Hanot family, I thought it was my true misfortune to have been assigned the unfortunate task of indexing this collection.  After a quick perusal of the collection, I saw mostly pails, pulleys, sluices, and gold scales.  Four gold scales to be exact.  In short, lots and lots of photos of mining doodads, thingamajigs, and doohickeys. Fairbanks.  (UAF-2007-212-30, Hanot Family Papers)

Fairbanks. UAF-2007-212-30, Hanot Family Papers.

Turns out though, that I’m not so unfortunate after all, in that the collection took a turn to the mildly interesting with this photo of a man (with an outrageously large moustache) and woman canoeing a flooded street in Fairbanks.

Damaged Dominion Commercial Company building.  (UAF-1997-212-41, Hanot Family Papers)

Damaged Dominion Commercial Company building. (UAF-1997-212-41, Hanot Family Papers)

For a less recreational view of the flood that hit the Interior during this time period (possibly May 1911), look at the damage that occurred to local businesses such as the Dominion Commercial Company.  The impact it had on Fairbanks must have been devastating.

MVP (Most Valuable Photo) goes to the one of the skull graffiti commemorating George Buchanan, a Detroit coal merchant who began bringing boys and girls to Alaska on adventure trips in 1923, continuing these excursions for approximately 50 kids every summer for 15 years.  His goal was to help young people learn the art of earning and saving money.  To accompany Buchanan on these special excursions, a young person had to earn one third of the cost of the journey.  The parents could pay one third and Buchanan contributed one third.  If necessary he assisted the would-be adventurer to earn his share of the costs.  (https://www.wpyr.com/history/facts.html)

On to Alaska with Buchanan -1928.  (UAF-1997-212-50, Hanot Family Papers)

On to Alaska with Buchanan -1928. (UAF-1997-212-50, Hanot Family Papers)

So among the mining doodads, I uncovered a moustached man paddling a flooded street and a skull drawn on a mountain to celebrate a generous, adventurous man.  I sluiced out some gems among the dirt!

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A Nurse and a Tourist: the Grace O’Keefe Photograph Collection

Our indexer Dee has finished describing the photos of the Grace O’Keefe Photograph Collection, which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she has to say:

I am woman, hear me roar.

Twelve Navy nurses.  (UAF-1994-23-3, Grace O'Keefe Photograph Collection)

Twelve Navy nurses. (UAF-1994-23-3, Grace O’Keefe Photograph Collection)

Girl power, all the way.  I suppose this is a big reason I enjoyed indexing this collection, as I got a chance to hang out with Grace O’Keefe as a Navy nurse during her stint here in 1945, and again, in 1958, when she returned as a tourist.

As a nurse stationed in Adak during World War II, Grace took many pictures of the naval base and the land around it.  My favorite shows waves splashing up onto the rocky shore, mountains peeking out across the water.

Adak shore.  (UAF-1994-23-41, Grace O'Keefe Photograph Collection)

Adak shore. (UAF-1994-23-41, Grace O’Keefe Photograph Collection)

Grace also shares photos of the wildflowers and wildlife she saw while stationed here.  Many other pictures taken during this time period are of social scenes, parties, and Adak outings where she’s seen smiling broadly in group shots with some of her Navy cronies.  She appeared to enjoy herself while here, exploring the city and engaging in social gatherings.

View of Adak harbor.  (UAF-1994-23-42, Grace O'Keefe Photograph Collection)

View of Adak harbor. (UAF-1994-23-42, Grace O’Keefe Photograph Collection)

Her first trip to Alaska as a nurse was an assignment she had to fulfill, a job duty. Even so, she did not just work, she played; she appeared to appreciate her surroundings and partake of them.  Years later, she chose to return and, this time, saw a lot more of the state from Kotzebue and Nome, to Fairbanks and Nenana, down to Juneau and the Inside Passage.

I am woman, hear me roar.  Grace roared; she took the time out of her life to see things, activities, land, and people different than her own.  The unusual, the uncommon: dog sledding, panning for gold, attending a festival that included the Eskimo blanket toss.  She witnessed subsistence first-hand with Alaska Natives whaling and drying fish at a fish camp.  She saw all these things and she roared with great life and appreciation for them.

Old Yukon River boat graveyard.  (UAF-1994-23-85, Grace O'Keefe Photograph Collection)

Old Yukon River boat graveyard. (UAF-1994-23-85, Grace O’Keefe Photograph Collection)

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Flotsam and Flannel, This and That: Doris Stephan Photograph Collection

Our indexer Dee has finished describing the photos of the Doris Stephan Photograph Collection, which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she says:

Look over the finding aid for this collection and you’ll read that there are “105 photographs of street scenes, buildings, dog teams, bridges, animals, landscapes, aircraft, people, and aerial views. Views include construction, the sternwheeler ‘Aksala’, Camp Aehnder, and quonset huts.”

“Howard L. and me, just fooling.” (UAF-1993-253-13, Doris Stephan Photo Collection.)

It fails to mention, however, about the plaid flannel. You’ll find this checkered pattern throughout on the frames of Howard Ryan.  Not that this is a bad thing, but I was hoping for a change of wardrobe, perhaps a down parka?  Maybe a trench coat or a bomber jacket.  Something, anything with a hood!  This is the Arctic, after all.

What Howard lacked in fashion sense, he made up with his sense of humor.  Here he’s seen clowning around with his friend.  Please notice what he’s wearing.

I found UAF-1993-253-110 to be the most intriguing photo in the collection.  What happened to cause all this destruction? It appears to be an airplane accident, but no details were written on the photo.

“Flotsam.” (UAF-1993-253-110, Doris Stephan Photo Collection.)

In closing, this was a mixture of many different images: a hodgepodge of a little bit of this (plaid flannel) and a little bit of that (particularly dog teams, dirt roads, and water scenes).

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New online: Fannie Quigley Collection

Our indexer Emily has finished describing all the photos of the Fannie Quigley Collection, which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she says:

Fannie Quigley.  (Fannie Quigley Papers, UAF-1980-46-215)

Fannie Quigley. (Fannie Quigley Papers, UAF-1980-46-215)

Until I worked on this collection, I had never heard of Fannie Quigley.  Little did I know I was missing out on an amazing story.  She arrived in Alaska in 1906, during a time when women rarely set out on their own.  She survived for in Alaska for over 30 years, living off the land and braving harsh winters in the vast wilderness near Kantishna.  She and her husband, Joe Quigley, built a home for themselves, complete with many small cabins and a large garden.  Photographs of their lives were captured by her husband Joe Quigley.  They show happiness, camaraderie, and friendship.  Fannie Quigley was truly a woman ahead of her time.

This collection consists of 311 photographs, 81 nitrate negatives, and some printed materials.  Many of the photographs are scenes from the Quigley mining operations at Kantishna, while others depict scenes from Fairbanks, Mt. McKinley, Southeast Alaska, and Joplin, Missouri, plus individuals such as Lillian and Joe Crosson.

For further information, read Jane Haigh’s definitive biography, Searching for Fannie Quigley: A Wilderness Life in the Shadow of Mount McKinley.

Mr. Edmonds, Fannie Quigley.  (Fannie Quigley Collection, UAF-1980-46-242)

Mr. Edmonds, Fannie Quigley. (Fannie Quigley Collection, UAF-1980-46-242)

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