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George B. Nelson papers

Guide to the George B. Nelson papers

Image from the Archives Collection

Collection number: HMC-0187.
Creator: Nelson, George B.
Title: George B. Nelson papers.
Dates: 1908-1980.
Volume of collection: 1.2 cubic feet.
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Collection summary: Papers of a game warden, hunter, and trapper who worked on the Kenai Peninsula.

Biographical note:
George Benjamin Nelson was born in Cokato, Minnesota on February 22, 1889. He came to Cordova, Alaska in 1908. After working in various jobs on the railroad, in a sawmill, on placer mines, and as a longshoreman, he enlisted in the Marine Corps in World War I. In 1923, Governor Bone appointed Nelson as a guide for the Kenai Peninsula, and in May 1930, he married Margaret “Peggy” Virginia Barnett (b. 1908), who taught school at Cooper Landing from 1929-1930. The couple had two sons, Alan and Dale Nelson, and later divorced.  Nelson also worked a game warden in the Cordova area, and during World War II, he again worked as a longshoreman. After 1962, he lived part-time in Hawaii. George B. Nelson died in Anchorage in January 1980.

Collection description:
This collection consists of George B. Nelson’s diary notes, reminiscences, correspondence, and photographs.  Most of the materials in the collection relate to his occupation as a guide, hunter, trapper, and game warden in Alaska and his life on the Kenai Peninsula. The collection also includes diaries and other papers relating to his later life in Hawaii.

Arrangement: The collection is arranged into the following series:
Series 1:  Diaries and memoirs; 1921-1978.
Series 2:  Address books and correspondence; 1912-1979.
Series 3:  Personal and professional papers; 1918-1980.
Series 4:  Photographs and postcards; 1908-1978.
Series 5: Artifacts; undated, 1917, 1971.

Digitized copies: A small selection of photographs from this collection have been digitized and are available on Alaska’s Digital ArchivesFor information about obtaining copies please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Rights note: Archives owns rights to materials in this collection authored by George Nelson.

Preferred citation: George B. Nelson papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Separated materials: Published materials have been removed from the collection.

Related materials: HMC-1329: Peggy Barnett Nelson papers.

Acquisition note: This collection was given to the Archives by Jacob Mlynarik in 1987.

Processing information:  The collection was originally arranged and described by Dennis Walle in 1980. The guide was updated to meet current standard by Megan Friedel in 2011 and some published materials removed. In 2019, the guide was further updated by Arlene Schmuland, the collection was reboxed, further published materials removed, and the Margaret Barnett Nelson papers moved to a separate collection.

Container list:
Series 1: Diaries and memoirs; 1921-1978.
This series is arranged roughly chronologically.

Box/Folder Description Dates
1/1 Diaries, including notes on hunting, personal matters, and other topics, dated May 29 – June 2, July 4-5, and April 23 – June 15, with no year(s) noted Undated
1/2-3 Diaries 1921-1929
1/4 Hunting diaries 1930-1931, 1939
1/5 Daily record of longshoreman work 1949-1952, 1955
1/6 Diary 1973-1978
1/7 Notebooks, including notes on fur farming in Alaska (1930-1932), hunting (1931), and other topics 1930-1932, 1978
1/8 Notebook containing notes on mining 1934 January-February
1/9 “An Unexpected Bear Hunt And a Few Exciting Seconds…” (photocopy of typescript manuscript written by George B. Nelson and Nick Lien) circa 1937

Series 2: Address books and correspondence; 1912-1979.
This series is arranged chronologically.

Box/Folder Description Dates
1/10 Address books, some with notes Undated, 1967-1972
1/11 Letters received from Marnie George and Dale Nelson, among other people, a circular, and draft letters to William Loffland and to President Ford. Undated
1/12 Letter from Fred W. Nelson to B. Nelson. 1912
1/13 Letters concerning George B. Nelson’s service in the U.S. Marine Corps with affidavits on residence in Seward in 1919 and appointment as licensed guide in Alaska by Governor Scott Bone, as well as letter to editor of Outdoor Life. 1921-1927
1/14 Letters to and from George B. Nelson, including correspondents Fred and Dale Nelson, Fechheimer Brothers Co., George Flinn, Jr., Jack Kennedy, S.N. Keefauver (Camp & Trails Club), William Loffland, Margaret Bartnett Nelson, Brenner Gold Mining Co., Myer Prussian, Robert Rose, and Leon Zeglio, among others. Includes excerpts of letters written by Margaret Bartnett Nelson to Vella Ingram and hand-copied by George B. Nelson that concern her marriage with George B. Nelson. 1930-1939
1/15 Letters to and from George B. Nelson, including correspondents Myer Prussian, Robert Rose, Thomas H. White, Alan and Dale Nelson, Sophia Larson, and Frank Hynes. Includes notice of final meeting of creditors of Alaska Guides, Inc. 1940-1949
1/16 Letters to George B. Nelson from Henry Disston and Sons, Inc., H. Everett Hoy (American Legion), Western Savings and Loan Co., and others. 1950-1959
1/17 Letters to and from George B. Nelson, including correspondents Marnie & Luke Elwell, Henry Schmidt (ILWU-Alaska, Pension Fund), R.B. Bolton (Veteran’s Administration), and others. 1960-1969
1/18 Letters to and from George B. Nelson, including correspondents John and Dotie Ingram, Florence Trygstad, C.C. Blakley, Elaine and Clayton Brown, Jake Mlynarik, Linda Hornberger, James Brooks, D.F. Stufft, Audrey Nelson, Alaska Longevity Bonus Program, Honolulu Medical Group, Inc., Mrs. Young; David A. Stringer, and others.  Includes Ted Stevens newsletter. (Note: one postcard contains an image of nude women.) 1970-1979
1/19 Holiday and Christmas cards Undated, 1929, 1942, 1949
1/20 Greeting cards 1942
1/21 Other announcements and cards 1935-1953

 Series 3: Personal and professional papers;; 1918-1980.
Arranged alphabetically.

Box/Folder Description Dates
1/22 Airplane tickets 1965, 1974
1/23 Alaska Railroad Seward dock longshoremen seniority list 1942 January 1
1/24 Bills and receipts 1930-1975
1/25 Biographical notes Undated
1/26 Book plates and clothing tags Undated
1/27 Business cards Undated
1/28 Depositions regarding George B. Nelson’s birth 1941
1/29 Financial records 1931-1978
1/30 Fishing license (Minnesota) 1965
1/31, OSF1/1 Membership cards, receipts, etc. for Masons, Odd Fellows, and other fraternal organizations and associations 1927-1978
1/32 Guide licenses 1930-1945
1/33 Identification and membership cards 1939-1979
1/34 I.L.W.U. Welfare Fund papers 1947-1980
1/35 List of port distances from Seward, list of of names with license numbers and dates 1934
1/36 Liberty loan bond payment note 1919
1/37 Pioneer home physician’s certificate and insurance statement 1975-1976
1/38 Military records (U.S. Marine Corps) 1918-1922
1/39 Other papers: property lists, appointment note, recipe, property claim ticket, barometric pressure gauge list, drug prescription labels, financial notes, election ballot stub, address notes 1968-1978
1/40 National Geographic Society papers 1941, 1947
1/41 Poetry Undated, 1932
1/42 Social Security Administration pamphlets and form letters 1936-1939
1/43 Trapping license 1929
1/44 Veteran organizations 1927-1979
1/45 Western Savings and Loans Co. mailings Undated

Series 4: Photographs and postcards; 1908-1978.

Box/Folder Description Dates
1/46-49 Photographs of animals, hunting and camping, and people, including Alec Bolan, Ed Bangs, Arthur Norcross, George Nelson, Hank Lucas, Osgood Field, George Burkhardt, Francis Randolph, George Graves, and Harold Coolidge.  Includes negatives. 1908-1928
1/50-54, OSF1/2 Historic photographs and other images of scenery and people, including a panoramic photograph of Haines. Individuals include George B. Nelson, Mr. and Mrs. Axel Rantis, Josie Waltin and Martin Lenning, brother Fred and Nettie Nelson, George Burkhardt, Bernice Daykin, Mrs. Benson, Mark Johnson, Margaret Barnett Nelson, Lois Larsen, Gabriel Santos, Oscar W. Hoagland, Ken Diane, Terry Lancaster, Peggy Carl, Rose and Johnnie Waller, Lars Larsen, Rasmussen family, and others. 1889-1978
1/55-57 Photographs of scenery, color slides of Hawaii, and copied photographs and contact prints Undated
1/58 Album 4: Photographs of trip to Africa, Mauritius, New Zealand, and Switzerland Undated
1/59 Loose photographs of sled dog team leaving Kaltag for St. Michael and of bears in unidentified location Undated
1/60 Negative envelopes Undated
2/1 “Souvenir of Alaska Highway and Yukon” postcard packet, including postcards of Dawson Creek, B.C. Mile Zero; S.S. Klondike, Yukon Sternwheeler; Kluane Lake; Lynz; Dawson City; Peace River Bridge and Pipeline Crossing; Kiskatinaw Bridge, Mile 20, Alaska Highway; Toad River near Mile 135, Alaska Highway; Watson Lake, Yukon Territory; Gold dredge in Klondike. Undated
2/2 Postcards arranged by subject: animals, cabins/caches/buildings, California and Hawaii, comic/jokes, fishing, historic, human activity, animal mounts, scenery, and towns (Homer, Hope, Seward, Cordova, Juneau) Undated

 Series 4: Artifacts, undated, 1917, 1971.

Box/Folder Description Dates
2/3 Military issue comb and mirror set, Kodak outdoor filter guide, Army pocket signal disk, U.S. Marine Corp postcard with stitched insignia, Aloha Week pin Undated, 1917, 1971

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