Guide to the Sleeper family papers and photographs

Guide to the Sleeper family papers and photographs
circa 1922-1984

Collection number: HMC-1092.
Sleeper, David Allanbrook, 1922-2001.
Sleeper, Jane Parry, 1918-2009.
Title: Sleeper family papers and photographs.
Dates: circa 1922-1984, bulk 1947-1954
Volume of collection: 3.5 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, where he was also a member of the photography club.  After college, David worked for the Appalachian Mountain Club under Joe Dodge and served for a time as hutmaster of the Carter Notch Hut.  In the late 1940s, David attended a Master’s program at Stanford University. 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 Parry 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.  During this time, Jane Sleeper worked part-time as a clerk at the Weather Bureau of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce in Anchorage, and David continued his work with the U.S. Public Health Service.  In the summer of 1954, the Sleeper family moved to the University of Michigan’s Douglas Lake Biological Field Station, where David Sleeper attended summer courses, and then to Ithaca, New York, where he received a PhD in Biology at Cornell University.

Collection description:
This bulk of the collection contains photographs and papers created and collected by David and Jane Sleeper during their time living in Anchorage from 1947-1954.  The papers in the collection include documents from David Sleeper’s service with the U.S. Public Health Service and correspondence to and from the Sleepers from family and friends, among other materials.  Most 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) and interest in the art of photography.  Other 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 a series of 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.  There are additionally some papers and photographs documenting the Sleepers’ lives before and after coming to Alaska.

Arrangement: The collection is arranged in the order in which it was received by the Archives.

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

Access restrictions: Researchers may not be allowed access to the financial records in the collection.

Rights note: Archives owns copyright to this collection.

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

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

Separated materials: Books have been moved to 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.

Processing information: This preliminary guide to the collection was written by Megan K. Friedel in 2011.

Container list:

Box Description Dates
1 David Sleeper U.S. Public Health Service Alaska Insect Control Project papers; Alaska Steamship Co. ephemera, postcards, notecards, and maps; biographical material about Charlie Wilson; American Red Cross ephemera; letters to and from David and Jane Sleeper, including correspondence and medical records regarding Jane Sleeper’s back surgery; sound recordings; Sleeper family financial documents, birth certificates, identification cards, and photographs, including photos of Jane Sleeper in Alaska from 1947-1948 and the Sleeper family trip to Alaska in 1984; postcards; Anchorage maps; ephemera; and publications circa 1922-1984
2 Fur Rendezvous pin; framed photo of Andrew Sleeper; and 3 boxes of photos and slides, as well as loose photos circa 1947-1954
3 Kitchen apron, tablecloth, and baby t-shirts; photographs taken by David Sleeper; slide projector; and slides of David Sleeper’s travelogue of Alaska, mostly taken on the Baranof in 1949 circa 1949-1954
4 David Sleeper slide projector screen undated
Oversize maps Maps of Alaska (some annotated) and Alaska Steamship Co. routes circa 1947-1954

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