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Griffith family films

Guide to the Donald T. Griffith family films

Collection number: HMC-1058.
Creator: Griffith, Donald T.
Title: Donald T. Griffith family films.
Dates: 1948-1969.
Volume of collection: 0.5 cubic feet; 28 reels of film.
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Collection summary: Home movies and documentary created by Bureau of Land Management land planner.

Biographical note:
Donald Thomas Griffith was born October 3, 1912 in Wendell, Idaho. In 1934 Griffith received his B.S. in Business from the University of Idaho in Moscow. His career went on to include positions with the United States Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers, and the Alaska State Department Highways.  He married Ruby Denney in 1937 and together they had twins: Jack and Janet. In 1948 Griffith and his family moved to Anchorage, Alaska where he accepted a position as a land planner with the Bureau of Land Management. He traveled throughout the State of Alaska, helping choose campsites and providing advice on land use. In addition to traveling around Alaska for work, Donald Griffith took his family on many Alaska trips and often times filmed them. In 1991, Griffith and his wife left Anchorage and moved to Eugene, Oregon. He passed away in 1992.

Collection description:
The collection consists of 8mm films Donald Griffith took while on family vacations and trips around the state of Alaska from 1948-1969. People appearing on film include Donald Griffith, Ruby Denney Griffith, Jack and Janet Griffith, Charlie White, George Gustafson, and an uncle named Cress Denney. Footage covers activities, such as hunting, fishing, skiing, flying, Alaska Methodist University graduation, Janet Griffith’s ballet recital, dog sledding, seal herding and processing; and events such as Fur Rondy.  Film locations are from all over the state and include Anchorage, Saint Lawrence Island, Valdez, Homer, Eklutna Flats, Cordova, and Whittier, Pribiloff Islands, Haines, Kodiak. In addition to family movies, the collection has a documentary Donald Griffith created called, Four Seasons in Alaska. Descriptions in container list were provided by Janet Ariane Nelson, daughter of Donald T. Griffith.

Arrangement: Items in the collection are arranged in numerical order based on the number of the reel, which was assigned by Donald Griffith.

Digitized copies: Select film has been digitized and is available on Alaska’s Digital Archives. The Atwood Foundation provided funding for the digitization of the materials in the collection. For information about obtaining digital copies, please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Access restrictions: Viewing film footage that has not been digitized may require conversion fees.

Rights note: The Archives owns copyright to this collection.

Preferred citation: Donald T. Griffith, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alasaka Anchorage.

Works used in preparation of inventory:
Obituary of Donald T. Griffith,” Anchorage Daily News, March 21, 1992.
Griffith, Ruby Denney, and Jana Ariane Nelson. “Donald T. Griffith Biography.”

Acquisition note: The collection was presented to the Archives and deed of gift was signed by Jana (Janet) Ariane Nelson in 2010.

Processing information: This collection was described by Mariecris Gatlabayan in 2011. Most of the reels arrived at the Archives numbered and with detailed descriptions from Donald T. Griffith’s daughter, Janet Ariane Nelson. Numbers were given to reel numbers 1, 2a, and 3a after the collection arrived at the Archives. The guide to the collection was updated by Veronica Denison in 2019.

Container list:

Reel # Description Date
1 Saint Lawrence Island trip with Woodland Park Presbyterian Church (now Trinity Presbyterian Church) group.  (Ruby Denney Griffith, Jack and Janet).  Hexagon or octagon shaped house belonged to a woman named Mary (Rie Manoz painted a picture of her house in 1977 called “Winter Sun, Gambell.”) I remember one fellow named Clarence Irrigou [sp]. [50 feet reel] 1957
2a Boeing C-97, Strato-Cruiser down in Inlet on ice. [50 feet reel] 1957
2b Haines & Kodiak [300 feet reel] 1948-49
3a Cordova, Whittier, Prince William Sound, all from air; landing at Merrill Field. [50 feet reel] 1958
3b Janet Griffith on bike; salmon fishing; Lake Spenard, moose hunting at Willow; Christmas; bird feeder; skiing, Palmer; Uncle Cress Denney at ice blocks (Fur Rondy?). [200 feet reel] [Digitized] 1950
4 Deep snow pictures; blanket toss; Eskimo dances on Park Strip; dog races; ski jump at hospital; Arctic Valley; Jack Griffith snow shoe hunting; moose on CAA field; Eklutna Flats; crab in kettle. [200 feet reel] [Digitized] 1950
5 Salmon nets at Point Woronzoff; netting; fish canning. [200 feet reel] [Digitized] 1951
6 Arctic Circle trip. [200 feet reel] 1951
7 “Four Seasons in Alaska,” spring and summer. Documentary made by Donald Griffith. [400 feet reel] [Digitized] 1951
8 “Four Seasons in Alaska,” fall and winter. Documentary made by Donald Griffith. [400 feet reel] [Digitized] 1951
10 Jack Griffith’s caribou hunt at Nancy Lake with Don Griffith, George Gustafson & Charlie White. [300 feet reel] 1952
11 Fall and Winter; Christmas; Skagway; skiing at Arctic Valley. [200 feet reel] 1952
13 Family; Tin Can Camp; skiing; 4th of July; salmon fishing at Anchor River; Lake Spenard; small tract in South Anchorage; Ice Lake; Knik; Spenard Road. [400 feet reel] 1953
14 Kotzebue and Nome trip for Ruby Denney Griffith; Mt. Spurr eruption, ash in Anchorage. [200 feet reel] 1953
15 Dawson trip. [200 feet reel] 1954
16 Lake Louise caribou hunt with Charlie White and Donald Griffith. [200 feet reel] 1954
17 Family; Knik; dog sled races in Anchorage; blanket toss; North Star Elementary skating; Janet’s ballet; small tract cabin; hunting; Eklutna scout train to Fairbanks; Mo Allen[?] at Brushkana; Bureau of Land Management picnic at Kemp Lake. [400 feet reel] 1954
20 Wildlife; Izzy the chameleon; Jack’s alligator or crocodile; squirrel. [200 feet reel] 1956
21 Big snow; Romig Hill; skiing at Tin Can Creek (in Johnson’s Pass?); scouts. [200 feet reel] 1956
22 Summer:  Flying to McGrath; driving to Valdez and Homer; 4th of July at Elmendorf AFB. [200 feet reel] 1956
23 Alaska wildlife:  Moose, bear, caribou, goats (heavy red tint on film, turn color off for good black & white). [200 feet reel] 1956
24 Moose hunt at Cold Lake; Scout camp-over; dog races; Tangle Lakes; Cold Lake goat hunt. [300 feet reel] 1957
25 Alaska Statehood celebration, bon fire. [200 feet reel] 1958
27 Big Lake; Tok hunt; skiing at Big Lake; Dedication of AMU Campus. [300 feet reel] 1959
28 Big Lake; skiing; bear hunt, grizzly, Talkeetna; Anchorage High School Graduation (last year as 1 high school); Illiamna; Marcharamma [?]; Loon nest; Eisenhower visit. [200 feet reel] 1960
34 Fur Rondy dog races. [200 feet reel] 1964
35 March 27, 1964 earthquake. [200 feet reel] 1964
42 Pribiloff Islands; seal rookery, herding, slaughter, skin processing. [200 feet reel] 1969

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