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Katharine Crittenden papers

Guide to the Katharine Crittenden papers


Collection number: HMC-1075.
Creator: Crittenden, Katharine Carson.
Title: Katharine Crittenden papers.
Dates: 1978-2008.
Volume of collection: 0.45 cubic feet and 9.5 GB.
Language of materials: Materials in the collection are in English.
Collection summary: Correspondence and research files for Crittenden’s book, Get Mears!

Biographical note:
Katharine “Kit” Carson Crittenden was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1921. She earned a degree in drama from Illinois Wesleyan University. In 1943, she traveled to Ketchikan for a job at the Tongass Trading Company and met her husband, architect Edwin Crittenden. The couple settled in Anchorage in 1949 and Kit became involved in the beautification and historic preservation of the city, helping to establish the Urban Design Commission and the Anchorage Historic Preservation Commission, and heading Historic Anchorage, Inc. As part of an effort by the Historic Preservation Association to reconstruct the residence of Colonel Frederick Mears, principal engineer of the Alaska Railroad, Crittenden conducted in-depth research into Mears’s life. She turned that research into a biography, Get Mears! which was published in 2001. Kit Crittenden died in 2010.

Collection description:

The collection consists primarily of Kit Crittenden’s correspondence and research files related to her book, Get Mears! The correspondence consists of letters to and from Colonel Mears’s daughter, Betty Mears Wainwright and granddaughter Marilyn Richards, concerning the Mears family. The research files include Crittenden’s notes and copies, of clippings, documents, and photographs, dating from 1892 to 1918, that she used in writing the book. The photographs include both digital and print copies of photographs depicting the Mears family, railroad construction, and early Anchorage. In addition to the files relating to the book, there is a script for an Alaska Historic Properties press conference, and material related to a documentary written by Crittenden and produced by the Historic Preservation Association titled Anchorage’s Past Brought into Focus. The collection also includes a handkerchief embroidered with the state of Alaska.

Arrangement: The collection is arranged by document type.

Digitized copies: This collection has not been digitized. For information about obtaining digital copies, please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Use restrictions: This collection contains copies of photographs and documents copied from archival or library collections elsewhere. Copies of these items must be obtained from the holding institutions.

Rights note: Archives and Special Collections does not own copyright to the collection.

Preferred citation: Katharine Crittenden papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Works used in preparation of inventory: “‘Kit’ Crittenden helped beautify city.” Anchorage Daily News, February 16, 2010. NewsBank.

Separated materials: A copy of “The History of First Presbyterian Church Anchorage, Alaska” was removed from the collection and added to the Archives ephemera collections.

Related materials: Archives and Special Collections also holds the Mears family papers (HMC-1063) and the Edwin B. Crittenden papers (HMC-0094).

Acquisition note: The collection was donated to the Archives, along with the Mears family papers, by Katharine Crittenden in 2009.

Processing information: This collection was described by Gwen Higgins in 2018. At that time, publications and items duplicated in the Mears family papers were removed from the collection. Digital materials were added to the collection in 2019 by Gwen Higgins.

Location of originals: Some materials in the collection were copied from other libraries and archives, and the originals are presumed to remain with those institutions.

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