Category Archives: Oral History

New! Alaska & Polar Regions Collections and Archives Digital Repository

Elmer E. Rasmuson Library is pleased to announce the launch of the Alaska & Polar Regions Collections and Archives (APRCA) Digital Repository accessible at

The APRCA Digital Repository was created to provide access to some of Rasmuson Library’s unique digital resources, including items from the Alaska Film Archives, the Archives unit, the Oral History unit, and the Rare Books & Maps unit.

Visitors to this site are invited to browse by subject, collection, topic and type of object. The repository is in its early phase and library units are continuing to add content.

Funding for this project was provided as a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For inquiries about this project, contact Ilana Kingsley at

Alaska & Polar Regions Collections and Archives (APRCA) Digital Repository

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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

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KUAC-FM archival recordings available online

More than 120 hours of archival recordings from KUAC-FM, the public radio station in Fairbanks, Alaska, are now available for listening online.

The KUAC-FM Audiotapes Collection consists of nearly 950 open-reel audiotapes containing original local KUAC-FM programs from the late 1970s through the 1990s. It is held at the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections and Archives at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Elmer E. Rasmuson Library.

Technicians at the Northeast Document Conservation Center digitized 126 hours of recordings with grant funding provided by the Council on Library and Information Resources. The digital recordings are now available for listening online through the UAF library catalog by visiting

Topics include Arctic policy, climate change, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, whaling, dog mushing, gardening and the arts. Programs contain interviews with Alaska Native leaders as well as Alaska authors, politicians and students.

You can also see a news release about this at

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Leslie McCartney, 907-474-7737,

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Have you checked out Project Jukebox lately?

Project Jukebox provides online access to audio and video recordings, transcripts, maps, historic photographs and films from across Alaska.


Project Jukebox

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APRCA in the News: Glass-Base Records

Those of you who attended our open house last week might recall the fragile, interesting glass records the Oral History folks were showing off. The Northeast Document Conservation Center recently featured these glass-base records in a short article on their website here. As you can see from the article, these records are one-of-a-kind and an exciting and important addition to our collections, providing a record of an Alaskan Native dialect not often heard anymore. We are very happy that the university saw the need to provide support to have these records preserved.

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New Jukebox!

The Oral History Program at Elmer E. Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is pleased to announce completion of the Cold War in Alaska: Nike Missile Sites Project Jukebox, available on-line at

People who visit this site can listen to oral history recordings with veterans who worked at Nike Missile Sites in Anchorage and Fairbanks in the 1960s, as well as with experts on the effects of the Cold War on Alaska. You can hear about damage to the missile sites in Anchorage from the 1964 Earthquake, and what it was like working with nuclear warheads. There are stories about spies, airplanes being shot down, and the role Alaska played in the Cold War.

This project was supported by funding from the Alaska Historical Commission.

For more information about the project, please contact:

Leslie McCartney, Curator of Oral History, University of Alaska Fairbanks    (907) 474-7737

Karen Brewster, Research Associate, University of Alaska Fairbanks    (907) 474-6672

cold war jukebox_publicity announcement

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Pioneer Voices Presented by Leslie McCartney- Nov. 13th 7:00pm

Join Curator Leslie McCartney as she shares memorable audio clips from the Pioneers of Alaska Igloo No. 4 collection. The recordings, made by members of the Pioneers of Alaska, record the histories of hundreds of pioneers, from miners to homesteaders and captains of industry. The collection ranges from early gold camp days to the 1967 flood.

  • When: Thursday, Nov. 13 @ 7:00pm
  • Where: Research Room, Level 2, Rasmuson Library

For more information, contact Leslie McCartney, 907-474-7737 or

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Here are some pictures from last week’s Northern Studies/APRCA seminar on April 8th, Oral History in the Making–A Family Affair.  It was a presentation by Hild Peters, Helen Peters and Guy Peters as to the process of capturing the life story of the Reverend Helen Peters through oral history.

Keep your eyes open for next semester’s seminars!

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Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who came out and attended Leslie McCartney’s  presentation at the Tanana-Yukon Historical Society’s (TYHS) monthly meeting .

For more information on the TYHS:


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Pioneer Voices: Highlights of the Tanana-Yukon Historical Society Audio Collection

Tomorrow at 6:30 p.m., Leslie McCartney, curator of oral history at Rasmuson Library, will present “Pioneer Voices: Highlights of the Tanana-Yukon Historical Society Audio Collection.” The talk is part of the Tanana-Yukon Historical Society’s monthly meeting. The society recently made available hundreds of hours of oral history recordings made by several notable Interior Alaska pioneers.

Free & open to the public.

Location: Research Room on level 2 of the Rasmuson Library.

Please contact Leslie McCartney at or call 474-7737 for more information.


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