Alaskan Women, Music, and the Final Frontier

Celebrate the end of Women’s History Month and join us for a presentation on Alaskan Women’s history by Dr. Suzanne Summerville.

Elmer E. Rasmuson Library Present Alaskan Women, Music,and the Final Frontier Dr. Suzanne Summerville

Elmer E. Rasmuson Library Present Alaskan Women, Music,and the Final Frontier
Dr. Suzanne Summerville

For more information on this event please contact Cat Williams at (907) 474-7224.

Celebrate Women’s History Month

Check out the exhibits celebrating Women’s History Month on level 2 in the library! There is an exhibit case dedicated to Margaret Murie, the first woman to graduate from UAF, including an oral history recording you can listen to. There is also original material from the Fairbanks Business and Professional Women’s Club Records on display in the research room.

The Archives Research Room is open from 10 am – 5 pm Monday through Friday. Come visit us and see what other cool historical material we have!

UAF-1958-1026-54Photo available on the Alaska Digital Archives:

Charles E. Bunnell, UAF-1958-1026-54, Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Re: New Art Book Exhibit

If you haven’t gotten a chance yet, drop by the Northwoods Book Arts Group display case on Level 4 and check out the new exhibit of art books using natural materials. My personal favorite is the book made out of two conks (birch shelf fungus). If you are interested in learning how to make books like these yourself, UAF offers classes on a regular basis.

Reduced Hours for The Research Room on Friday, 22 February 2013

On Friday, 22 February 2013, we will be closing the Research Room at 12:00 noon to prepare for the activities surrounding the dedication of the new Alaska Native Language Archives public services space on the second floor of the Elmer E. Rasmuson Library. We hope that you will join us, starting at 3:00 p.m., when we will open the Room as part of the celebration.

More details are available here:

Road history in Alaska: Woodrow Johansen Papers

Goldstream bridge.  (Woodrow Johansen Papers, UAF-2007-64-178)

Goldstream bridge. (Woodrow Johansen Papers, UAF-2007-64-178)

When you move from a lush environment to a desert, your first impression is that it is bleak and lifeless — then, as you spend time there, the colors seem to emerge, and you spot life popping up everywhere as you never expected. I’ve been having a similar happy experience with the Woodrow Johansen Papers.

Woody Johansen was an engineer for the Alaska Road Commission, which from 1920 to 1956 built and maintained automobile-accessible roads, including the Richardson, Steese, and Elliott Highways.  (An edited interview with Johansen is part of Project Jukebox’s history of the Dalton Highway.)

At first, I just saw a bunch of dull pictures of bridges, road-graders, and construction sites.  It’s been a pleasure, though, to examine the Johansen photos in preparation for putting descriptive information about them on Alaska’s Digital Archives.  I’m getting an amazing glimpse into the infrastructure of Interior Alaska — heavens, how much work went into making the state accessible! — and a fun look also at what my town of Fairbanks used to be like.  For example, did you know about the Graehl pedestrian bridge across Noyes Slough?  I’m told that it connected Slater St. and Front St., where today there are only dead ends.   It tickles me to see the Minnie St. bridge, connecting to dirt roads where hardly anything was built.

Only 219 photos (out of about 1,100) have full descriptions up, but they’re all online, and I’m working slowly through them.  Take a virtual drive through the history of our roads.  I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I have.

Alaska Film Archives surpasses 1/2 million views from 170 countries on YouTube!

Today the Alaska Film Archives YouTube site surpassed the 1/2 million mark with 500,555 views from 170 countries! The top viewing countries outside of the United States and Canada are Germany, the United Kingdom, and Poland. Also we currently have 219 subscribers to our channel, including the National Library of Scotland, and, locally, Alaska Dispatch and the UAF School of Management.

Oral History clips!

The following clips are all from ORAL HISTORY 02-00-24 Opening ceremonies of the Alaska Highway at Soldier’s Summit, Yukon Territory near Kluane Lake on November 22, 1942.

This first clip sets the scene: 02-00-24 Soldiers Summit Opening Scene

This second is the official ribbon cutting: 02-00-24 Soldiers Summit Ceremony

And this last clip is an amusing song about the Alcan entitled “918 Miles”: 02-00-24 Soldiers Summit 918 Miles Song

Check out the new displays on level 2 in the Alaska collection and in the Archives research room. How do they tie in with this clip?

New exhibits on level 2!!

The Alaska and Polar Regions Collections & Archives has new materials on display in honor of Alaska Civil Rights and for Black History month. Check out the new exhibits in the display cases on level 2.

Research Room opening late Monday, January 14

We apologize for the inconvenience, but the research room will be opening at 11 am, instead of 10 am. on January 14. There is a department meeting. Thank you for your patience!

Alaska Mental Health Trust History Project Jukebox

The Oral History Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (The Trust) are proud to announce the completion of the Alaska Mental Health Trust History Project Jukebox, available online at This project includes interviews with twenty-nine individuals talking about the history of mental health services in Alaska ranging from the early days when people were sent to Morningside Hospital in Oregon, the legal battle and settlement over the management of the state’s mental health trust program, and changes in the delivery of mental health services through time. Themes discussed include: litigation and settlement; land selection and valuation; Morningside Hospital; psychiatry in Alaska; understanding mental illness; advocacy for Alaska’s mentally ill; Harborview Developmental Center in Valdez; Alaska Psychiatric Institute in Anchorage; and creation of The Trust.

The story about the civil rights of those with mental disabilities in Alaska, the development of a system of care to treat them, and establishment and responsibilities of the Alaska Mental Health Trust is a little-known aspect of Alaska history. It is also a land rights story of how the State took control of its land from the federal government and began to shape its own destiny, determining how the land would be managed and for what purposes. These stories, many of which have only been known by the individuals who took part in the early days of treating and caring for Alaska’s mentally ill, have never been considered popular enough to be presented in Alaska history classes alongside the signing of our state constitution. However, they are equally important foundations on which the state was built. Now, Project Jukebox has preserved these stories and made them accessible to the public.

This project is supported by funding from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, and the Alaska Humanities Forum through the National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal agency. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For more information about this project, please contact:
Karen Brewster at the Project Jukebox Office,, (907) 474-6672
Vivian Hamilton, Chief Communications Officer, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority,, (907) 334-2531