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Frederick John Date papers

Guide to the Frederick John Date papers

Archives Image

Collection number: HMC-0379.
Creator: Date, Frederick John.
Title: Frederick John Date papers.
Dates: 1833-1938.
Volume of collection: 1.2 cubic feet.
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Collection summary: Papers and photographs of a miner, Alaska Road Commission employee, and railroad man.

Biographical note:
Fred Date moved from Elkhart, Indiana, to the Valdez area in Alaska in 1898. He was a prospector and served on the exploratory expedition under Captain W.R. Abercombie in 1899 as an ax man and guide. He was employed by the Alaska Road Commission from 1905 to 1916 and worked on the trail from Fairbanks to Fort Gibbons, the Beaver to Chandalar Road, the Olnes Road, and on various roads and trails in the Fairbanks area. In 1914, he began to work for the Alaska Railroad and eventually became roundhouse foreman at Nenana and later at Healy. He retired in 1936. For most of the years after he left Valdez, he and his wife resided in Fairbanks, Alaska. He later moved out of Alaska. Frederick Date died in Portland, Oregon in 1956.

Collection description:
This collection consists primarily of documents and artifacts relating to Fred Date’s life and activities in Alaska. The collection includes correspondence, a journal, photograph albums, photographs, and artifacts. The images depict towns, buildings, social activities, mining, travel, people, as well as his activities with the Alaska Road Commission and the Alaska Railroad. The artifacts include a compass, winter goggles, and license plates.

Arrangement: The collection is grouped into series by record type: documents, photographs, and artifacts.

Alternative formats: Copy negatives have been made of some of the photographs in the collection.

Digitized copies: Digital copies of the photograph albums are available on the Alaska’s Digital Archives. For information about obtaining digital copies, please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Rights note: Some collection materials may be subject to copyright not held by the Archives. Copyright to materials created by Frederick John Date is held by the Archives.

Preferred citation: Frederick John Date papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Separated materials: Published materials in the collection have been removed to Rare Books.

Acquisition note: The collection was gifted to the Archives by Walter Strong, grandson of Frederick John Date, in 1992.

Processing information: This collection was arranged and described by an unknown archives staff member prior to 1995. The collection guide was revised to meet current standard by Arlene Schmuland in 2015. Publications were removed to Rare Books at that time.

Container list:
Series 1: Documents; 1833-1956. 0.05 cubic feet.
This series consists of letters, clippings, and a hand-drawn map.

Box/Folder Item Description Date
1/1 1 Letter/Journal: F. Date to Mother, describes trip to Tolovana camp and to Fairbanks-A.R.C. work. 8 pages 1915 April 17-24
1/1 2 Letter: F. Date to Mother, concerns A.R.C. work 1915 May 1
1/1 3 Letter/Diary: F. Date to Ms. Ella E. Frink, describes trip on the U.S.C.G.C. Morris from Seward to Juneau. 43 Pages 1936 November 19-27
1/1 4 Letter: F. Date to Alaska Road Commission 1936 November 28
1/2 1 Letter: George Stanton (York, Canada) to Samuel Stanton (Dundas, Canada) 1833 February 12
1/2 2 Letter: William Stanton (Amherstburg, Canada) to Samuel Stanton (Dundas, Calanda) 1833 March 31
1/2 3 Letter (incomplete): Jos. Jn. Walington (?) to Samuel Stanton (St. George, Canada) 1846 October 10
1/3 Clippings 1910-1937
OSF1 Hand drawn map (30 X 9.5 inches). Shows trail from Alatna River and Arctic to Yukon River near Tanana. undated
OSF2 2 Kroll Map Company maps of Alaska undated, 1936

Series 2: Photographs; 1899-1938. 1.05 cubic feet.
This series consists of three photograph albums containing over 400 images, nearly 300 photographic prints collected by Frederick Date, and copy negatives of many of the photographs. The album photographs primarily relate to Valdez and the Copper River country. Subjects include towns, buildings, camps, social events, mining, packing supplies and equipment, people, and scenery. Some may relate to the Abercrombie expedition. The photographic prints are grouped into two groups: by geographic location and by subject, both arranged roughly alphabetically.

Box/Folder Description Dates
3/1 Album 1: 176 prints on 24 pages. Subjects include: Will Crary and Dr. A. V. Gunther, Bering Glacier, Chilcat Point, McKinley Avenue, Valdez, Tonsina Bridge, Copper River City, Eagle, Ellamar, Sitka, Unalaska, Valdez, Russian Orthodox Church, Valdez Christian Endeavor Church, Will Crary Drug Store, U.S.S. Rosecrans, camps and camping, cattle, cemeteries, churches, dinner scene, dish washing, Fourth of July, gardens and gardening, glaciers, gold mines, gold mining, and gold panning, graves, hunting (ptarmigan), log cabins, miners, mines, natives, pack animals (dogs, horses, mules, steers), picnics, sawmill, shipwrecks (steamboat and steamship), sluices, social gatherings, streams, tents. 1899-1905?
1/4 Album 2: 133 prints on 51 pages. Subjects include: Detroit River, Valdez, Fred and Jake Tonsina Road House, backpacking, bridges, cabins, camps, canoes, cemeteries, Fourth of July, mess tent, natives, pack animals (horses, steers), pack trains, picnics, races (foot, potato sack, sled dog), river crossing, sled dog teams, sleds, horse drawn, sleds, native, social gatherings (dinners, outings, picnics), tents. 1899-1905?
1/5 Album 3: 119 prints on 50 pages. Subjects include: Mrs. Brown (Judge Brown’s wife), Dick Brown (son of Judge Brown), Charley Browne (Commissary Sergeant with Abercrombie), Crary Family, Ethel Date, Eva Date, Helen Leonora Date, Bob Herren, Andrew J. Meals (?), Valdez, Copper River Draying Company, Ed Wood’s Dray Company, The Northern Hotel, bicycles, brewery, bridges, cemetaries, churches, dwellings (native), games (checkers), gold mines and gold mining, musical instruments, natives, sail boats, sleds, horse drawn, sluices, social gatherings (dinners), soldiers, steamboat (at wharf), totems, horse-drawn trams. 1899-1905?
1/6 Beaver: The Beaver Lodge,” The Ashelby and Carter Store, an Eskimo family, and various people (Ole Nicols?, Carter, Yasuda, Doddo, and Date) 1910
1/7 Fairbanks: Includes pictures of Date’s home (17), churches (St. Matthews, Presbyterian), musk oxen,buildings (Courthouse and Post Office, Schoolhouse, First National Bank, Pioneer Brewing Company, Fairbanks Railroad Station), dog teams, log houses, Ester Creek, Seppala’sDog Team, Date’s Mail Team, Harding Lake, Alaska College, Circle Hot Springs, people (F. Date, Tod Coles, Mrs. Jack Haley, Clegg, Dunham), A.R.R. Engine No. 1, as well as a 1913 river front scene 1913, 1926-1938
1/8 Koyukuk Region: includes pictures of the steamboat Reliance, a riverboat, the river, and scenery undated
1/9 Rampart: groups of identified people. F. Date, Poillie, Bill, and Mrs. Balleau,Prof. and Mrs. Gosser, Clark and Minnie Peck, Jack Salmon, Tommy Wright Undated
1/10 Ruby, Long, Poorman: Includes pictures of sled dog racing, hunting, Ruby Kennel Club, Loyal Order of Moose, Fourth of July, Ruby riverfront, a group of people, and of a house 1917
1/11 Stevens village: houses on riverbanks and scenery Undated
1/12 Tolovana: Date’s pack train, steamboats, camp and dog team Undated
1/13 Valdez: homes, businesses, street scenes, churches, family groups, outings,the waterfront, scenery, snow, a play, and steamships. Also, there are two pictures ofminers at the Chistochina areas 1900-1906
1/14 Wilson Creek or Shushana: Hanshaw’s Thanksgiving party 1914
3/2 Air: Will Rogers, Wiley Post Undated
1/15 Detroit Arctic Expedition Undated
1/16 Alaska Railroad: engines, buildings, routes, scenery, President Harding’s visit, Healy 1923-1936
2/1 F. J. Date portrait 1909
2/2 Mastodon remains from Quartz Creek, Yukon: miners with mastodon tusks and skulls 1901-1904
3/3 Pioneers of Alaska Igloo number 4: list of members 1910
2/3 Rio Grande play production Undated
2/4 Photographs taken by Lou Stanley of Shushana, Chisana, miners camps, cabins, and glaciers 1914-1915
2/5 U.S.C.G. cutter Morris in Thumb Cove. 1936
2/6 Unsorted images: includes Snag City, Skagway, Si’s Roadhouse (Tatlanika River), mining camps, buildings, dog teams, steamboats, group potraits, Hotel Nizina, and U.S Commissioner’s Office. 1916-1930
2/7-9 Copy negatives of photographs from albums
2/10 Copy negatives of loose photographs

Series 3: Artifacts; undated. 0.1 cubic feet.
This series consists of various tools or other realia used or owned by F. J. Date during his life in Alaska.

Box/Folder Description
2/11 Compass: brass, made in France, 1.25 inch diameter
2/11 Goggles: amber colored with fur rims. Labeled: “Express Brevet 433 606 made in France.”
2/12 1934 Alaska vehicle license plate, number 1418.
2/12 1934 Fairbanks vehicle license plate, number 215.
2/13 Instrument packet: contains two tweezers, 1 scissors, 3 picks, 1 scalpel, 1 water dropper, 1 ruler


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