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Sleeper family papers

Guide to the Sleeper family papers
1918-2017, bulk 1947-1984

Collection number: HMC-1092.
Sleeper, Andrew Parry, 1950-.
Sleeper, David Allanbrook, 1922-2001.
Sleeper, Jane Parry, 1918-2009.
Title: Sleeper family papers and photographs.
Dates: 1918-2017, bulk 1947-1984.
Volume of collection: 2.55 cubic feet.
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Collection summary: Papers and photographs of the family of a U.S. Public Health Service employee who worked with the Alaska Insect Control Project in Anchorage.

Biographical note:
David Allanbrook Sleeper (1922-2001) was born in Exeter, New Hampshire and raised there as well as in Watertown and Belmont, Mass.  His aunt Mabel acted as a surrogate mother to him and introduced him to his lifelong interest in the outdoors through hiking trips with the Appalachian Mountain Club.  David graduated with a B.S. in Biology from the University of New Hampshire.  After college, David worked for the Appalachian Mountain Club under Joe Dodge and served for a time as master of the Carter Notch Hut.  In the late 1940s, during a cross-country drive from New Hampshire to California, where he was to start a Master’s program at Stanford University, David met conservationists Olaus and Margaret (Mardie) Murie in Jackson, Wyoming, who introduced him to the idea of moving to Alaska.  He eventually received a job with the Alaska Insect Control Project, run by Charles Sawyer Wilson at the U.S. Public Health Service in Anchorage, to study ways to limit transmission of malaria by mosquitoes and black flies.

The Alaska Insect Control Project worked out of Elmendorf Air Force Base, and David met Jane Parry (1918-2009) there, who was working for the American Red Cross in a clerical position.  Jane was raised in Bangor, Pennsylvania, graduated from Wilson College in 1939 with a B.S. in Biology, and came to Alaska with the Red Cross circa 1946-1947.  The pair were married in Wellesley, Mass. in 1949 and returned to Alaska on the Baranof, an Alaska Steamship Co. boat.  This was Jane’s second marriage; she had been previously married to a man with the last name of Brown, with whom she eventually had her marriage annulled.  David and Jane Sleeper’s son, Andrew Sleeper, was born in December 1950.  In the early 1950s, Jane Sleeper began suffering from severe back problems.  In 1953, she was sent to the U.S. Public Health Service hospital in Seattle, where she underwent spinal fusion surgery and was required to stay at the hospital for six months.  During this time, Andrew lived with another family while his father continued to work in Anchorage.

The Sleeper family remained in Anchorage until 1954 and lived at the corner of Oregon Drive and 33rd Avenue in the Woodland Park subdivision, where they had an extensive garden and a kennel for breeding and raising springer spaniels. In 1954, the Sleeper family moved to Michigan, where David Sleeper worked at the Douglas Lake Biological Field Station, and then to Ithaca, New York, where he received a PhD in Biology at Cornell University.

Collection description:
The collection contains papers, photographs, sound recording and objects created and collected by David and Jane Sleeper during their time living in Anchorage from 1947-1954.  The papers in the collection include birth certificates, marriage certificates, and identification cards; documents from David Sleeper’s military service and work with the U.S. Public Health Service; correspondence to and from the Sleepers from family and friends; information about dog breeding; and information about Charles Sawyer Wilson’s cabin in Anchorage. The majority of the photographs were taken by David Sleeper and document his service with the Alaska Insect Control Project, U.S. Public Health Service and his family life, travels in Alaska (including his 1949 trip up the Inside Passage with Jane on the steamer Baranof). Photographs taken by Jane Sleeper document her service with the American Red Cross in Anchorage, as well as her family life and travels in Alaska, and the collection also contains photographs documenting the Sleepers’ return to Alaska in 1984 with their son, Andrew.  The collection also contains Alaskan ephemera and maps collected by David and Jane Sleeper from 1947-1954, and on their trip to Alaska in 1984.  The sound recordings include five Soundsciber vinyl records sent to the Sleepers by W.J. Goodwin, as well as one unidentified vinyl record recording in Anchorage in 1953. The objects primarily consist of Alaskan souveniers and memorabilia. There are additionally some papers and photographs documenting the Sleepers’ lives before and after coming to Alaska, including copies of the logbook from Carter Notch Hut and photographs from the family’s travels.

Arrangement: The collection is arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Papers; 1918-2017
Series 2: Photographs; 1939-2001
Series 3: Audio; 1952-1953
Series 4: Objects; undated

Digitized copies: 105 photographs from the collection have been digitized and are available on the Alaska’s Digital Archives. For information about obtaining digital copies, please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Access restrictions: Access to vinyl audio recordings may be subject to delays and costs for the digitization of the original discs.

Rights note: The Archives owns copyright to materials in the collection created by David, Jane, and Andrew Sleeper. Materials created by others may be subject to copyright not held by the Archives.

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

Works used in preparation of inventory: Biographical information about the family was taken from a conversation with the donor in 2011.

Separated materials: Published materials have been moved to the Archives’ Ephemera collections and the Rare Books collection of the Consortium Library.

Related materials: For other archival material relating to the Alaska Insect Control Project, see the Charles Sawyer Wilson papers (HMC-0416).

Acquisition note: This collection was donated to the Archives by Andrew Sleeper in 2011. Additional material was donated to the Archives by Andrew Sleeper in 2018.

Processing information: A preliminary guide to the collection was written by Megan K. Friedel in 2011. A more detailed guide was written and additional material was described by Gwen Higgins in 2019.

Container list:

Series 1: Papers; 1918-2017. 0.65 cubic feet.



Description Dates
1/1 Clarence W. Sleeper (father of David Sleeper) military service documents 1918-1919
1/2 David and Jane Sleeper marriage and birth certificates, identification cards, and resumes 1922-1973
1/3 David Sleeper military discharge papers and Veterans Administration loan 1943-1965
1/4 Stanford University Admission letter 1947
Oversize maps Maps of Alaska (some annotated) and Alaska Steamship Co. routes circa 1947-1954
1/5 Public Health Service Alaska Insect Project file 1948
1/6 English Springer Spaniel breeding information 1948
1/7 Public Health Service personnel file 1949-1986
1/8 Alaskan postcards, greeting cards and stationery. Several of the cards contain handwritten notes undated, 1949, 1953
1/9 Andrew Sleeper birth certificate and baby book 1950
1/10 Operation lumbar: correspondence regarding Jane Sleeper’s back surgery 1952-1953
1/11-12 Correspondence: David Sleeper to Jane Sleeper during her recovery from back surgery in Seattle 1953
1/13 Correspondence 1953-1996
1/14 Correspondence: Douglas Watson and William Frohne 1975-1980
1/15 Alaska trip and visit with the Elsners 1984
1/16 Information regarding Charles Sawyer Wilson 1984-2008
1/17 David and Jane Sleeper death certificates and information regarding scattering of ashes 2001-2009
1/18 Appalachian Mountain Club Carter Notch Hut file. Includes copies of a logbook from the 1940s. 2010-2017
1/19 Temperature data for Alaska cities undated
1/20 Address books undated
1/21 Annotated maps undated
1/22 Humor undated

Series 2: Photographs; 1939-2001. 1.3 cubic feet.



Description Dates
1/23-25 Unidentified photographs and negatives (most likely eastern United States) undated, 1939
1/26-27 Jane Sleeper Red Cross photographs. Photographs depict Red Cross personnel and facilities at Fort Richardson, as well as some photographs taken in Nome and McKinley Park (Denali National Park and Preserve). circa 1946-1947
1/28 “Trip to Stanford-no family” 1948
1/29 “Alaska I.” Photographs depict Alaskan scenery, buildings and men working. 1948 July 15
1/30 Alaska photographs: David and Jane Sleeper, Downtown Anchorage, scenery. circa 1948-1949
1/31 Trip to Alaska on the S.S. Baranof 1949
1/32 Alaska photographs: S.S. Baranof trip, David and Jane Sleeper, apartment building in Anchorage, house on Oregon Drive in Spenard,  Mildred and Charles Wilson, Fur Rendezvous circa 1949-1950
1/33 Alaska photographs and postcards: scenery, Sleeper family, Alaska Insect Control Project members 1950
1/34 Family photographs: David and Jane Sleeper with Andrew Sleeper as an infant circa 1950-1951
1/35 Family photographs: David, Jane, and Andrew Sleeper; Springer Spaniels, birthday party circa 1951-1952
1/36 Family photographs: Thanksgiving, picnics, birthday parties, dogs, Christmas circa 1952-1954
2/1 Family photographs: David, Jane, and Andrew Sleeper in Alaska and on East Coast; dogs; house on Oregon Drive in 1984 1951-1957, 1984
2/2 Family photographs: picnic, dogs, Halloween 1951-1963
2/3 Public Health Service photographs 1952 April
2/4 Vermont, Maine, and Adirondacks photographs circa 1965-1967
2/5-3/2 Trip to Alaska: Eklutna, views from Glen Alps, Matanuska Glacier, Columbia Glacier, Whittier to Valdez ferry trip, Worthington Glacier, Copper Center Lodge, Trans-Alaska Pipeline, Ester, Nenana, Fairbanks, aerial views of flight from Seattle, Alaska railroad car, Denali National Park and Preserve, Anchorage, Charles Wilson’s cabin, house on Oregon Drive, Chitina 1984
3/3 “Pix (assorted) ’84-Fall.” Anchorage, Adirondacks 1984
3/4 Travel and 50th wedding anniversary: Sapelo Island, Georgia; Camel’s Hump, Vermont; U.S. Virgin Islands; Colorado circa 1987-2000
3/5 52nd wedding anniversary 2001
3/6 Scenery photographs undated
3/7 Alaska slides undated, 1950
3/8 Slides: At home Spenard, Wilsons’, Eklutna Cemetery, Anchorage undated
3/9 Berg picnic and Christmas slides undated
3/10 McKinley Park slides undated
3/11 Chitina trip slides undated
3/12 Slides: Air view Anchorage, Sparrevohn Air Force Station, Mt. Spurr, playpen on porch undated
3/13 Eklutna Lake slides undated
3/14 Hope trip and foliage at Sunrise slides undated
3/15 Fur Rendezvous, Wasilla, and Girdwood slides undated


3/16 Baby Andy slides 1951
3/17 Slides: Wasilla, Talkeetna Mountains, Knik Glacier, Spenard Lake undated
3/18 Eklutna and Girdwood slides undated
3/19 Slides: Spenard House, Moose at Post, Matanuska farm with cows undated
3/20 Andy and family, Aunt Hazel slides undated
3/21 Anchorage and Matanuska Glacier slides undated
3/22 Lily in Alaska slides undated
3/23 Slides: Ketchikan, Point Barrow, Chitina 1949 March-July
3/24 Slides: Valdez, Eagle River, Palmer, Arizona, Denali National Park and Preserve, Point Barrow, Petersburg, Ketchikan, Wasilla, Eklutna, Juneau, Anchorage, Naknek, Mat-Su Valley undated, 1949-1950

Series 3: Audio; 1952-1953. 0.1 cubic feet.



Description Date
3/25 Soundscriber discs (vinyl recordings). 5 discs. Sent by W.J. Goodwin to David and Jane Sleeper undated, 1952
PB1 Unidentified vinyl recording 1953 January 8


Series 4: Objects; undated. 0.5 cubic feet.

Box Description Date
4 Seattle and Anchorage bus tokens, Red Cross pins and buttons, “The World Needs Mosquito Control” hat, Alaska-themed tablecloth, Alaska-themed apron, child’s Alaska t-shirts (2), Alaska souvenir spoons (2), Colorado souvenir spoon, Alaska belt buckle, Alaska playing cards undated
5 Alaska lighter undated


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