Tips on preserving family films & photos

Our Library Development Officer suggested this helpful & interesting article from the New York Times:

Thanks Suzanne! This is a handy resource.

With love and kisses: the Basil Clemons papers

Our indexer Dee has finished describing all the photos of the Basil Clemons papers, which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she says:

This is my house party. (Basil Clemons papers, UAF-1994-71-3)

This is my house party. (Basil Clemons papers, UAF-1994-71-3)

This collection consists of a mixture of photos and postcards, 130 in all.  Images primarily depict mining, streetscapes, and festive gatherings near Ruby, Long, Iditarod, and Flat, Alaska. There are also scenes of Fort Liscum, Valdez, and Anchorage, Alaska, and some photos taken in Seattle, Washington.

On 47 of the postcards and photos, Basil Clemons wrote personal notes to his family members, many of them written with warm affection and lovingly signed, “with love and kisses.”

I have to confess that I developed a deep fondness for Basil during the indexing of this collection.  Okay, a crush. I have a full-blown Basil crush.  How could I not after spending so much time reading through his loving notes, studying his photos, and then describing all these images photographed through his eyes?

He seemed to quickly immerse himself in the Alaska scene when he arrived in 1909.  He writes of mushing all through the night; he talks politics and the effects of elections on the construction of the Alaska Railroad; he mentions the parties he has attended.  He joined the U.S Army, training at Fort Liscum, and captured scenes of military men and parades, and writes of “Old Glory” and defending freedom against autocracy.

I love a good party, so my favorite images are of the social and civic gatherings he photographed, and they are profuse. He had a lifetime membership to the Arctic Brotherhood, and photographed festive gatherings related to this organization and other fraternal organizations.  There are group portraits taken at the harem-themed party, a necktie-and-apron party, a ship social, and even a “smoker” banquet with men shown sitting around a table, eating and smoking cigars.

I savored my time working on this collection, and fondly referred to my blocks of indexing times as my “Basil dates.” I was impressed with the passion and sense of adventure I imagined he had to have, wandering up to Alaska in his early twenties, traveling around and photographing Alaska natives, ice cutting, dogsled racing — all new and exciting people, events and things that he never saw before, growing up in Ridgeway, Texas.

If I were to write a postcard to Basil, I would express my gratitude and appreciation for the photos he’s left behind, and I myself would sign off with his signature closing, “with love and kisses!”

Ship social in Pioneers' Hall, Anchorage, Alaska.  (Basil Clemons papers, UAF-1994-71-81)

Ship social in Pioneers’ Hall, Anchorage, Alaska. (Basil Clemons papers, UAF-1994-71-81)

So many trees, so much beauty: the A.C. Kuehl Photographs.

Our indexer Dee has finished describing all the photos of the A.C. Kuehl Photographs, which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she says:

During the indexing of this collection, I was on inanimate overload.  Trees, mountains, rivers, roads, more trees, bridges.  What do we have here?  More and more trees.  Oh, look, another.  Give me a living creature, I lamented.  There are very few human life forms depicted in this collection consisting of an album of 60 photographs taken along roadways in Alaska and the Yukon in 1943 and 1944.

This said, looking through these scenic views along the Alaska, Richardson, and Glenn Highways, and views of the Mentasta Lake region, I also felt a profound appreciation and pride for this great state.  This is home to me, and isn’t it a beautiful one? — the mind-blowing mountains, the meandering rivers.

Many photos lured me in, and I was struck by how little of Alaska I’ve actually seen.  This is a place I want to explore!  Camping near the Chickaloon River, bike touring the Glenn Highway: plans I now have to see what I haven’t of this vast state.

Once I got past all the spruce trees, I saw all the beauty this state possesses through these images Alfred C. Kuehl has captured.  What a lovely reminder.

Chickaloon River - Glenn Highway, Alaska.  (A.C. Kuehl Photographs, UAF-2009-1-50)

Chickaloon River – Glenn Highway, Alaska. (A.C. Kuehl Photographs, UAF-2009-1-50)

Alaska Film Archives YouTube Site Surpasses UAF YouTube Site

For a while now, UAF and AFA have been neck and neck as regards the number of subscribers to each site. Today the Alaska Film Archives moved pass UAF with 319 subscribers compared with 318 for UAF. UAF began their YouTube site on February 7,2007, more than two and a half years before AFA began on October 7, 2009. AFA has been well ahead of UAF in the number of views, with UAF having 427,836 views and AFA having 613,561 views. It can be safely said that the Alaska Film Archives YouTube site is the number one site at UAF, and perhaps even in the State of Alaska.

Big Cities and Remote Locales: The Averill and June Thayer Photographs

Our indexer Emily has finished describing all the photos of the Averill and June Thayer Photographs, which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she says:

What do you get when your job requires you to fly all over Alaska?  You get a broad view of post-war Alaska.  From the sand dunes of Kobuk Valley National Park, to the immeasurable lakes of the Kenai Peninsula, to the top of Mount Troy in Southeast Alaska, this collection has a little something for everyone.

Averill Thayer worked for the Fish and Wildlife Service in the 1950s.  This allowed him to fly to many isolated locations and towns across Alaska.  In these obscure places he would photograph caribou, moose, beavers, lakes, and glaciers.  In places with human inhabitants, the subjects changed to the village dwellings and their denizens.  In the major Alaskan cities, big events were photographed, giving us a look at downtown Anchorage during Fur Rondy and at Juneau on the 4th of July.

Many of these photographs were taken during winter or during break-up, showing that, even though time marches on, some things still stay the same.  Alaskans will always stop and take note of the ice going out on a river; they will always celebrate our pioneering heritage; and they will always climb mountains and fly across the wilderness searching for that last bit of unsullied beauty where Dall sheep roam free and the sun shines bright on our majestic state.

Big hike to top of Mt. Troy. (Averill and June Thayer Photographs, UAF-2010-25-395)

Big hike to top of Mt. Troy. (Averill and June Thayer Photographs, UAF-2010-25-395)

Research Room will be closed at lunch June 3-6

The Research Room will be closed from 11:45 am to 1:15 pm on June 3, 4, 5 & 6. The research room staff will be assisting with the move of a major collection. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.



Re: Denali Diary Part of Museum Exhibit

In the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner today (click here) is an article on the University of Alaska Museum’s special exhibit on the 100th anniversary of the Hudson Stuck Expedition’s ascent of Mt. Denali in 1913. The Walter Harper diary mentioned in the article is part of the Alaska and Polar Regions Archives and we were very happy to collaborate with the Museum to make this exhibit happen. As part of a disaster recovery workshop earlier in the year, myself and some of my colleagues got a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum where we saw the planning for this same exhibit. It looked intriguing then even in its notes-stuck-to-the-walls stage and I’m looking forward to seeing the final product. If you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to stop into the UA Museum and check it out.

Dirk Tordoff at Fairbanks Aviation Day 2013!!!

Dirk Tordoff, founder of Alaska Film Archives and author of Mercy pilot : the Joe Crosson story, is giving 3 mini-lectures on the first flights in Alaska that took place 100 years ago. He will discuss the people involved with getting the planes to Alaska, their roles in aviation and what they did after that historic July in 1913.

Takes place at the UAF Aviation Technology Hangar, East Ramp, 3504 South University Avenue on Saturday May 18, 2013.

Mini-lectures about 15 minutes at 10 am, 11:40 am & 1:20 pm

For more information visit Fairbanks International Airport Operators Council Facebook’s page.

Check out new exhibits on level 2!

Please check out our new tourism in Alaska exhibits on level 2. Photograph reproductions and books from semi-rare on level 2 displays in Alaska Collection. Original brochures and rare books on display in the Research Room.photomay3 photomay2 photomay1Level 2 Alaska Collection exhibits available to the public when the library is open (click here for library hours). Archives research room exhibits available to the public from Monday-Friday, 10 am-5 pm.

Re: Tourism in Alaska

In spring, Alaskans’ thoughts lightly turn to …tourism? Yes, indeed. May is traditionally the kickoff of the summer tourist season here in Fairbanks which runs from mid-May to mid-September. Here is pioneer businessman Chuck West talking about how he got into the tourism business in 1947:

Let me see now. I go back just a bit. ’47, that same summer, everything happened all at once it seemed like. While I was still on, across on First Avenue, I had two ladies walk in to see me–schoolteachers. And they said they wanted to know if there’s any sightseeing tours. And I said, “Well not that I know of. What do you want to see?” And they said, “Well, whatever there is to see.” And I said, “Well, I’ve got a Plymouth Sedan out here, 1936 Plymouth; I’ll take you around, show you what there is to see.” I, by then had two girls [Celia Hunter and Ginny Wood] working for me. I said, “Girls, mind the office. I’m going to take these ladies for a little ride around the area.” I put ‘em in the back seat of the Plymouth, took them out to the University of Alaska and showed them the Museum out there. Charles Bunnell was still there. And went around Farmer’s Loop, and a guy named Paul Elbert had a farm there, I went up and got a bucket of water from Paul and a salt shaker and went down in his garden with his permission, pulled some radishes out of the ground. They were just beautiful, big, delicious radishes–washed ‘em off, salted ‘em, gave ‘em to the ladies to eat. And they were crisp, juicy radishes like the ladies had never seen anything like it. And I took them up on the hill, let them pick some blueberries, and back into town, showed ‘em the gold dredges around Ester and so forth…had a flat tire, got eaten up by mosquitoes. RON INOUYE: People loved that experience. CHUCK WEST:They loved it. Came back to the Nordale Hotel, stopped on the way to the hotel, and I said, “Well, how did you like it?” They said, “Wonderful, what do we owe you?” I said I don’t know; you’re my first sightseeing passengers. How about $20?” They handed me a $20 bill. I said, “Great.” So rushed back to the office and said, “Girls–we’re in the sightseeing business. Get a sign made- ­”SIGHTSEEING – $10.”

To hear and/or read more about Chuck West,the company that eventually became Westours, and the role of aviation in developing tourism in Alaska, click here to go the Pioneer Aviators Jukebox. Depending on your browser, you may need to download additional plug-ins to play the audio.