Guide to the Robert H. Thompson family papers
Collection number: HMC-1247.
Thompson, Robert H.
Thompson, Robert L.
Title: Robert H. Thompson family papers.
Volume of collection: 0.4 cubic feet and 14.4 GB.
Language of materials: Materials in the collection are in English.
Collection summary: Papers and photographs of a miner at Kennecott Mines, who was also part of a construction crew on the Richardson Highway.
Robert Harold Thompson was born in Canyon City, Colorado in 1902. In 1927, Thompson took a job with the Kennecott Copper Co., which operated the Bonanza, Mother Lode, Jumbo, and Erie mines in Alaska. He traveled by boat from Seattle to Cordova, Alaska, an then by rail to Kennicott, Alaska, where he began work at Bonanza Mine. Thompson spent the summer of 1929 working as a truck driver doing road maintenance on the Richardson Highway. He returned to Kennicott in 1930 to work as a hoist operator at the four mines owned by Kennecott Copper Co. Thompson left Alaska in 1932, settling in California and working for 30 years as a mechanic for Hayward Ford. He and his wife, Carrie, had two children, Robert “Bob” and Janene. Robert H. Thompson died in Hayward, California in 1994.
In 1990, Bob Thompson and his wife Kris went on a mountain bike tour of Alaska. The tour took them to Kennecott Mines, now part of Wangell-St. Elias National Park, and other locations where his father had been years earlier. Bob Thompson died in 2017.
The collection consists of papers, photographs, and video created by Robert H. Thompson and his family. The papers include an account of Thompson’s experiences in Alaska written in 1987, and his obituary from 1994. The photographic materials include loose prints, a photograph album, and digital photographs. Subjects of the loose prints and those in the album include Southeast Alaska and Cordova from Thompson’s voyage to Alaska; Kennecott Mines and mining activities; glaciers, mountains, and other scenery; road construction along the Richardson Highway; and recreational activities, including snowshoeing, hiking, hunting, and fishing. The digital photographs include photographs from Bob Thompson’s Alaskan bicycle tour, as well as photographs of Thompson as a boy and members of his family. There is a video consisting of still shots of photographs and other materials from the collection, with Robert H. Thompson’s children and grandchildren reading his writings about Alaska. There is also a video about Bob Thompson’s bike tour of Alaska.
Arrangement: The collection is arranged by type of material.
Alternative formats: The collection contains a xerographic copy of the photograph album.
Digitized copies: Digitized copies of 64 of the photographs can be found on Alaska’s Digital Archives. For information about obtaining digital copies, please contact Archives and Special Collections.
Digital materials: The digital contents of this collection are not available online. Access may only be provided on-site in the Archives research room. For more information about potential distance access to digital records, please contact Archives and Special Collections.
Rights note: Archives and Special Collections owns copyright to materials in the collection created by the Thompson family. Materials not created by the Thompson family may be subject to copyright not held by the Archives.
Preferred citation: Robert H. Thompson family papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.
Custodial history: Scans of the photographs in the collection were made by Bob Thompson.
Acquisition note: The collection was donated to the Archives, and a deed of gift signed, by Robert H. Thompson’s son Robert L. “Bob” Thompson and daughter Janene Ford in 2016.
Processing information: This collection was described by Gwen Sieja in 2016.