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.



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.

Star Archives upgrade today!

The archives’ finding aid catalog Star Archives is being updated today and may not be available during the update. We are sorry for any inconvenience.

Russell Knapp Papers

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

This collection was mostly about the Beluga.  No, not the Arctic marine mammal kind, but of the inflatable nylon dome kind.  Let me explain.

The Beluga was an inflatable nylon dome built on the UAF campus in the late 1960s and was used for hockey in the winter and tennis in the summer, and over half of the pictures in this collection show the construction and completion of this funky dome structure.

Oblong dome.

Oblong dome.

The other half of the collection consists of photos of the UAF campus, people swimming and playing hockey, and this photo here that I’m incredibly fond of.  I really do appreciate a good ‘fro.

Bert Perry in dorm room at UA campus.

Bert Perry in dorm room at UA campus.

Harold M. Snyder Photographs

Our indexer, Ulyana has finished describing the Harold M. Snyder Photographs collection which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she has to say:

Harold Snyder in lab office, detachment 1058. Point Barrow, 1945.

Harold Snyder in lab office, detachment 1058. Point Barrow, 1945.

Gift of Sharon Arthurs, Stephen Snyder, and Sandra Williams, Harold M. Snyder Photographs depict Barrow and Point Barrow in 1945-1946. Harold M. Snyder was a U.S. Navy photographer during World War II. According to the 1943 letter verifying Harold Mervin Snyder’s military service, he “was attached to the 24th Naval Constr [Construction] Bn [Battalion] during its participation with the combined forces of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps in the capture and occupation of Rendova and Munda, New Georgia, B.S.I.” The South Pacific joint military campaign of the Allies was directed against Japanese forces that captured New Georgia in 1942. The Harold M. Snyder Photographs depict Detachment 1058, its sailing abroad USS Spica from Portland to Barrow, its Point Barrow headquarters, buildings, daily activities, and celebrations. On his way to Barrow, Harold M. Snyder paused to take photos of Dutch Harbor, a harbor on Amaknak Island in Unalaska attacked by the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1942.

Dutch Harbor on way to Point Barrow.

Dutch Harbor on way to Point Barrow.

Oral History Curator Leslie McCartney gives presentation tonight!

The Tanana Yukon Historical Society


The 2nd program of the 2015-2016 Season

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

7 p.m.

Pioneer Hall at Pioneer Park

“Project Jukebox”

Presenter: Leslie McCartney

Alaska’s oral history has been actively captured on topics ranging from mushing, to the railroads, pioneer aviators, and beyond.
How can YOU find that information?  Whose stories have been captured? 
Where can YOU access those oral histories, in print, or on the Internet? 
Join us at this presentation and see how you can learn more about Alaska’s history – from real Alaskans.  McCartney will talk about “Project Jukebox” and the hundreds of statewide interviews deposited there.
Leslie McCartney has been Curator of Oral History at the UAF’s Rasmuson Library since early 2013.  Trained as an anthropologist, she has been actively seeking, recording, and researching oral histories in Canada, England, Ireland, and the United States since 2000.
* * * *
For more information about this and other lectures sponsored by the Tanana Yukon Historical Society, please call 488-3383, or e-mail
All TYHS events are free and open to the public.
Check out our website
or “friend” us on Facebook: Tanana-Yukon Historical Society

Dorothy Jean Ray Papers available!

From Lisa Morris, Processing Assistant:

The Dorothy Jean Ray Papers contain autobiographical information, correspondence, notes, manuscripts, publications, research files, microfilm, slides, photographs and negatives.  The bulk of the papers are research files that Ray collected as material to use for her many publications and/or because the topic was of interest to her.  Ray (1919-2007) was the author of eight books and around ninety professional papers on the art and ethnohistory of primarily the Inupiaq and Yupik Eskimo.


Thiscollection can be accessed in the Paul H. McCarthy Research Room, hours available here:

Presentation tonight!

Recording Sound Through the Ages: Oct. 26 at 7:00pm

  • Recording Sound Through the AgesMonday, October 26, 2015 at 7 p.m.
  • Research Room, Level Two, Rasmuson Library
  • Free and open to the public

Steve Hormann, UAF journalism student and Archives volunteer, will discuss the evolution of sound recording from reel-to-reel to today’s digital formats, and demonstrate old sound recording equipment.

Leslie McCartney, Oral History Curator and Robyn Russell Collection Manager, Oral History Program will explain the Oral History program, where staff do everything from recording interviews to preserving and digitizing recordings in the collection. Recordings from the collection will be presented.

For more information: or 907-474-7737

Research Room closed for lunch

We are very sorry for the inconvenience but the Paul H. McCarthy Research Room will be closed for lunch Tuesday-Friday 12 pm to 1 pm, due to staffing shortage.