Yet again, it has been a busy few months in Archives and Special Collections. We have new collections available, added photographs and texts to Alaska’s Digital Archives, and even had a new archivist join our crew.
Collections now available (the link directs to the collection guide):
Ruth Schmidt papers: The collection was donated by Sally Gibert after Ruth’s death in 2014. From 1943 to 1963, Schmidt worked for the United States Geological Survey, starting in Washington D.C. and later transferring to Alaska in 1953. In 1959, Schmidt began teaching geology at Anchorage Community College. She founded and chaired the Geology Department of the University of Alaska Anchorage, retiring in 1984. The collection contains the papers of Ruth Schmidt, the majority of which pertain to her career as a geologist. Included in the collection are geological slides, papers, and various objects which Schmidt used for her geological studies. The collection also includes Schmidt’s personal papers and photographs. An online exhibit on Ruth Schmidt is also available here.
Alaska Rural Rehabilitation Corporation (ARRC) records: After the Anchorage Branch of the National Archives and Records Administration closure in 2014, the ARRC records were given to us. The collection includes records regarding administrative organization, applications for admission, colonist relations, land records, reports, financial documentation, community activities, and survey information. Arlene had written a blog post in August regarding the acquisition of these records.
Barb Manz papers: Barb Manz came to Alaska in the summer of 1970. While in Alaska, Manz worked for the Forest Service, the Department of Fish and Game, and held several waitressing jobs at various Alaskan lodges and restaurants. She also worked as a cook and deckhand on fishing boats and tugboats. The collection contains the letters written by Barb Manz during her time in Alaska from 1970-1976. Manz often wrote about the sexual discrimination she faced while applying for jobs and working for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Forest Service, and as a deckhand on a tugboat in Cook Inlet. Also in the letters, Manz describes her life and work conditions in Alaska.
Walter Parker papers: The Archives and Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association were saddened to hear about the death of our friend Walt Parker over the summer. A majority of the records relate to his work on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Commission, the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council, the Bering Sea Forum, the Land Use Planning Commission, the Alaska Oil Tanker Task Force, and the Alaska Telecommunications Task Force, as well as Parker and Associates, Inc. The collection also contains Parker’s professional correspondence, his appointment books, maps, and name badges from various conferences and meetings he attended. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed or damaged a portion of the records. The Archives is currently in the process of digitizing these damaged materials to make them more accessible to the public, however the collection is entirely open to researchers.
Earle D. Jewell papers: Earle Jewell was stationed on Shemya in 1946 and 1947 as part of the 633rd Air Materials squadron. The collection contains photographic negatives, prints, a 16 mm film, and a memoir of Mr. Jewell’s time in the service. The majority of the prints concern the crash of a B24 bomber from the 404th Bombardment Squadron.
Alaska Newspapers Inc. records: Alaska Newspapers Inc. (ANI) was a subsidiary of Calista Corp. until dissolved in 2011. During that time, ANI published several weekly community newspapers, some statewide publications and special publications, including Anchorage Chronicle, Arctic Sounder, Bering Strait Record, Bristol Bay Times, Cordova Times, Dutch Harbor Fisherman, Seward Phoenix Log, Tundra Drums, and Valdez Vanguard. The collection primarily contains the photographs taken for the newspapers published by ANI. Most photographs are negatives, prints, and slides, though some are on various types of electronic media. The collection also contains materials gathered and produced by Camai Printing.
Jack O’Malley papers: Jack O’Malley came to Alaska in 1934 and worked as a surveyor for most of his life in Alaska. The collection consists of Jack O’Malley’s surveying and engineering papers. These include survey field books, research files, and maps and plans. Surveys include the original Matanuska Valley Colony sites done with Anton Anderson, highways throughout southcentral Alaska, and various utility projects.
McDonell and Mullooly papers: Daniel McDonell owned several mining claims in the Fairbanks area and also worked as a prospector for L.C. Doheny. Upon his death, around 1947, some of his lands were sold to Strandberg and Sons Inc. and some were given to University of Alaska. M. James Mullooly worked in Alaska on gold dredges. The collection contains papers and photographs of Daniel McDonell and M. James Mullooly. Included are land deeds, purchases, and transfers regarding McDonell’s various mining claims and WWI short stories written by Mullooly.
Alan May’s diary from the Peabody-Harvard expedition to the Aleutian Islands in 1948, led by William Laughlin, is now available for research.
New to Alaska’s Digital Archives (the links direct to the Alaska’s Digital Archives records):
Thomas Saplak photographs: Photographs of the area between Dawson Creek and the Sikanni Chief River in British Columbia during the construction of the Alaska Highway.
Grace Hoeman’s 1967 Denali climbing journal, including the transcription.
Herman Binschus application and permit to enter Alaska from the Western Defense Command and Fourth Army Alaska.
Select photographs from the Miriam Bell papers. The photographs largely pertain to Miriam Bell’s nutrition training program. Many more of Miriam Bell’s photographs are available on the Arctic Health website, too.
Photographs from the Bernasconi family papers. Photographs of earthquake damaged areas of Anchorage after the 1964 Earthquake.
Select photographs from the Rubye Johnson photograph album. Rubye Johnson and her family lived on 414 Fourth Street, Anchorage, during the late 1910s and early 1920s. The photographs consist of early Anchorage life and houses.
We are also happy to announce the new hire of faculty archivist, Gwen Sieja. Gwen received her M.A. in Library and Information Studies with a specialization in Archives from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014. Previously, she worked at the Wisconsin Historical Society and the UW-Madison Department of Special Collections, and interned at the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center. She is excited to be here.
Harry “Bud” Campbell project:
In the fall we received two surveying collections: Harry “Bud” Campbell papers and Jack O’Malley papers. The Campbell papers collection description has yet to be posted online, however the collection is available to the public. Jack O’Malley began surveying the Mat-Su Valley when the first Palmer colonists settled there. Bud Campbell’s parents were part of the original colonists. Campbell also became a surveyor, and worked primarily in the Mat-Su Valley.
Joe Burch, who was in part responsible for both of these donations, has been indexing and organizing the surveying maps and other records of the Campbell papers. Joe began surveying in 1962, and was registered as a Land Surveyor in Alaska in 1971. He worked as a surveyor for the city of Anchorage, the state of Alaska, and the Air Force, as well as in private industry. Joe believes “historical information in land surveying can be very important to current land owners in establishing their property boundaries as originally surveyed. And sometimes that can only be confirmed by doing research through prior surveying data, which is not necessarily available.” The work he is doing is greatly appreciated and extremely helpful.