George B. Nelson Collection Description

Guide to the George B. Nelson papers

Image from the Archives Collection

Collection number: HMC-0187.
Creator: Nelson, George B., 1889-1980.
Title: George B. Nelson papers.
Dates: 1908-1980.
Volume of collection: 3.15 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. In 1962, he suffered a heart attack which necessitated his occasionally living 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, clippings, ephemera, 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.  Additionally, the collection contains diaries, notebooks, drawings, and other papers kept by his wife, Margaret Barnett Nelson, from circa 1928-1937.

Arrangement: The collection is arranged into the following series:

Series 1.  Diaries, notebooks, and address books; 1921-1978.

Series 2.  Correspondence; 1912-1979.

Series 3.  Other papers; 1919-1980.

Series 4.  Photographs; 1908-1978.

Series 5.  Postcards; 1908-1978.

Series 6.  Publications, artifacts, and ephemera; 1915-1978.

Digitized copies: A small selection of photographs from this collection have been digitized and are available online at Alaska’s Digital Archives ( by doing a keyword search for “George B. Nelson.”

Rights note: Archives owns rights to this collection.

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

Separated materials: Two publications have been removed to the Rare Books collection.

Acquisition note: This collection was given to the Archives by Jacob Mlynarik in 1980 and 1987.

Processing information: This collection was originally arranged and described by Dennis Walle. The guide to the collection was revised by Megan K. Friedel in 2011.

Container list:


This series is arranged chronologically.



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 Diaries 1921-1923
1/3 Diaries 1925-1929
1/4 Hunting diaries 1930-1931, 1939
1/5 Daily record of longshoreman work 1949-1952, 1955
1/6 Diary 1973-1974
1/7 Diary 1975 January-1977 November
1/8 Diary 1977 December-1978 January
1/9 Notebooks, including notes on fur farming in Alaska (1930-1932), hunting (1931), and other topics 1930-1932, 1978
1/10 Notebook containing notes on mining 1934 January-February
1/11 “An Unexpected Bear Hunt And a Few Exciting Seconds…” (photocopy of typescript manuscript written by George B. Nelson and Nick Lien) circa 1937
1/12 Address books 1967-1972, undated
1/13 Margaret Barnett Nelson diary 1928-1930



This series is arranged chronologically.



Description Dates
2/1 Letters received from Marnie George, Dale & Donna, WWB, and Dale Nelson, a circular, and a draft of a letter to William Loffland and to President Ford. undated
2/2 Letters from Fred W. Nelson to B. Nelson. 1912
2/3 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, as well as letter to editor of Outdoor Life. 1921-1927
2/4 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 Barnett Nelson, Brenner Gold Mining Co., Myer Prussian, Robert Rose, and Leon Zeglio, among others. Includes excerpts of letters written by Margaret Barnett Nelson to Vella Ingram and hand-copied by George B. Nelson that concern her marriage with George B. Nelson. 1930-1939
2/5 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
2/6 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
2/7 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
2/8 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. 1970-1979
2/9 Christmas cards undated, 1929, 1949
2/10 Greeting cards 1942
2/11 Other announcements and cards 1935-1953
2/12 Envelopes 1934-1979


SERIES 3.  OTHER PAPERS; 1919-1980.

Arranged alphabetically.



Description Dates
3/1 Airplane tickets 1965, 1974
3/2 Alaska Railroad Seward dock longshoremen seniority list 1942 January 1
3/3 Bills and receipts 1930-1975
3/4 Biographical notes undated
3/5 Book plates and clothing tags undated
3/6 Business cards undated
3/7 Depositions regarding George B. Nelson’s birth 1941
3/8 Financial papers 1931-1978
3/9 Fishing license (Minnesota) 1965
3/10 Membership cards, receipts, etc. for Masons, Odd Fellows, and other fraternal organizations and associations 1927-1978
3/11 Guide licenses 1930-1945
3/12 Identification cards 1939-1979
3/13 I.L.W.U. Welfare Fund papers 1947-1980
3/14 List of ships and ports 1934
3/15 Liberty loan 1919
3/16 Medical papers 1950-1976
3/17 Military records (U.S. Marine Corps) 1918-1922
3/18 Other papers 1968-1978
3/19 National Geographic Society papers 1941, 1947
3/20 Poetry 1932, undated
3/21 Social Security Administration pamphlets and form letters 1936-1939
3/22 Trapping license 1929
3/23 Veteran organizations 1927-1979
3/24 West Savings and Loans Co. undated
3/25 Margaret Barnett Nelsonpapers: Chemistry notebook of from University of Washington 1928
3/26 Margaret Barnett Nelson papers: Drawings undated
3/27 Margaret Barnett Nelson papers: Fashion designs undated
3/28 Margaret Barnett Nelson papers: Woman’s Home Companion, Better Babies Bureau newsletters undated


SERIES 4.  PHOTOGRAPHS; 1908-1978.



Description Dates
Box 4 Album 1: 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
Box 5 Album 2: Historic photographs and other images of scenery and people, including 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 Seward, Oscar W. Hoagland, Ken Diane, Terry Lancaster, Peggy Carl, Rose and Johnnie Waller, G. Alan, Lars Larsen, and Rasmussen family. 1889-1978
Flat Cabinet 2 From Album 2: Photo of Haines, Alaska undated
Box 6 Album 3: Photographs of scenery, color slides of Hawaii, and copies photographs and contact prints undated
7/1 Album 4: Photographs of trip to Africa, Maritimes, New Zealand, and Switzerland undated
7/2 Loose photographs of sled dog team leaving Kaltag for St. Michael and of bears in unidentified location undated
7/3 Negative envelopes undated


SERIES 5.  POSTCARDS; 1908-1978.

This series is arranged by subject.



Description Dates
7/4 “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
7/5 Animals undated
7/6 Cabins, caches, and buildings undated
7/7 California and Hawaii undated
7/8 Comic undated
7/9 Fishing undated
7/10 Historic postcards undated
7/11 Human activity undated
7/12 Mounted animals undated
7/13 Scenery undated
7/14 Towns (Homer, Hope, Seward, Cordova, Juneau) undated





Description Dates
8/1 Manual and Course of Study for the Elementary Schools of Alaska, inscribed with notes written by Margaret B. Nelson 1926
8/2, Flat Cabinet 2 Alaska maps 1915, 1927-1928
8/3 Alaska publications on game and animals 1930-1942
8/4 Alaska publications, other, some inscribed by Margaret B. Nelson 1929-1960
8/5 Alaska Railroad timetable (Mt. McKinley Route) 1937
8/6 Alaska publications on towns and sites, some inscribed by Margaret B. Nelson 1930, 1933
8/7 Alaska Traffic Laws and Regulations Thereunder 1943
8/8 Artifacts: Army comb and mirror set, Kodak Outdoor Filter Guide, Army Pocket Signal Disk, US MC postcard stitched insignia, Aloha Week pin 1917, 1971
8/9 Calendars 1944
8/10 Campaign flyer for Jay Hammond 1978
8/11 Currency converter, Whitman’s Answer Book, and other notebooks 1923-1928
8/12 Health publications, some inscribed by Margaret B. Nelson 1929-1930
8/13 Flyer on uniforms and related material undated
8/14 Newspaper clippings related to education in Alaska 1933
8/15 Newspaper clippings on Alaska in general 1932-1977
8/16 Newspaper clippings on hunting and recreation 1924-1941
8/17 Newspaper clippings on health and retirement 1966-1977
8/18 Obituaries for Mercedes Johnson Nelson, Erick G. Nelson, and Frank Dorbrand 1935, 1937, 1968

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