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Lowell Thomas Jr. papers

Guide to the Lowell Thomas Jr. papers

Collection number: HMC-1258.
Creator: Thomas, Lowell, 1923-.
Title: Lowell Thomas Jr. papers.
Dates: 1953-1990.
Volume of collection: 14.7 cubic feet.
Language of materials: Materials in this collection are in English.
Collection summary: Papers of a former Alaska State Senator and Lieutenant Governor.

Biographical note:
Lowell Thomas Jr. was born in 1923, and served in the Army Air Corps as a flight instructor during WWII. In 1949, Mr. Thomas, along with his father Lowell Thomas Sr., traveled to Tibet to document the Himalayan land. Mr. Thomas and his wife Mary Taylor (Tay) began producing National Geographic articles and books in 1954. The Thomases took an assignment to make a film about flying in Alaska for Thomas Sr.’s television show, “High Adventure,” which influenced the Thomases move to Alaska in 1960. Mr. Thomas flew for research and documentary purposes in Alaska, as well participating in mountain rescues on Denali and in the Alaska Range. In 1962 and 1964, Mr. Thomas, a Republican, unsuccessfully ran for the Alaska House of Representatives, losing to Ralph Rivers both times. He then served as an Alaska State Senator from 1967-1974. While in the Senate, Mr. Thomas was the Senate Majority Leader, chairman of the Health, Education, and Social Services Committee, and was a member of the Legislative Council, Alaska Parks and Monuments Advisory Commission, and the Legislative’s Special Pipeline Impact Committee. He was also a member of the following committees: Resources, State Affairs, Labor and Management, Community and Regional Affairs, and Finance and Rules. He was also active in environmental issues and sponsored the bill that created Chugach State Park in 1970. In 1973, he successfully ran for Lieutenant Governor in the primary elections, which paired him with Jay Hammond, who was running for governor, in the general election. The two then went on to win the general election. In 1977, Mr. Thomas decided not to seek reelection as Lieutenant Governor. In 1981, Mr. Thomas bought Talkeetna Air Service and operated it for many years. He was also on several boards of nonprofit organizations and sponsored efforts to improve education, recreation, and life in local and world communities. Mr. Thomas also helped create the Thomas Planetarium at the Anchorage Museum, a ski training facility (now called the Thomas Training Center) on Eagle Glacier near Girdwood, and the Thomas Center, which is an independent senior living facility of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Mr. Thomas died at the Thomas Center in 2016.

Collection description:
The collection mostly contains materials relating to Lowell Thomas’s political career. The political papers in the collection include political and personal correspondence, legislative files, campaign materials, notes, research, and speeches, audio reels, film, and photographs.

Arrangement: The collection is roughly arranged by subject of material.

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

Access restrictions: Access to audio recordings and film may be subject to delays and costs for the digitization of the originals.

Rights note: Archives and Special Collections holds copyright to materials created by Lowell Thomas Jr. The collection contains materials not created by Thomas which may be subject to copyright restrictions.

Preferred citation: Lowell Thomas Jr. papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Works used in preparation of inventory:
Dunham, Mike. “Lowell Thomas Jr., former Alaska lieutenant governor, dead at 92.” Alaska Dispatch News. Accessed August 02, 2017. https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2016/10/03/lowell-thomas-jr-former-alaska-lieutenant-governor-dead-at-92/.

How Lowell Thomas Jr. escaped his name to become a great pilot, model Alaskan

Separated materials: Publications were removed from the collection and some added to the Consortium Library’s collections. Please ask an archivist for further information.

Related materials: Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association (AMIPA) has Lowell Thomas Jr.’s film, including some which relate to his political career. The papers of Lowell Thomas Sr. are held at Marist College.

Acquisition note: The collection was donated to Archives and Special Collections by Lowell Thomas Jr.’s children, Anne Donaghy and David Thomas, in 2017. Donaghy and Thomas signed a deed of gift at that time.

Processing information: This collection was described by Veronica Denison in 2017. Most of the titles on the folders within the collection came from original folder and envelope titles, most of which were written by Lowell Thomas Jr.

Container list:

Box Description Dates
1 1962 and 1964 campaign for congress files: Includes talks and speeches with notes and research, congressional records, campaign guest book, election returns, TV and radio spots, and  interview notes, fundraising lists, Republican contacts and supporters in and outside Alaska, campaign planning and flyers, debate material and notecards, news clipping subject files, sample ballots, congressional race results; 1964 luncheon and New Year’s party; 1967 Inaugural Ball for Governor Walter Hickel undated, 1961-1970
13, 15 1962 campaign scrapbooks: Includes news clippings, photographs, campaign flyers, and information 1962
12 1964 campaign index cards: Anchorage area volunteers, includes contact information and campaign work; Campaign contributors in and outside of Alaska 1964
2 1964 campaign materials and speeches, includes speeches by Walter Hickel, Keith Miller, and Charles Lindbergh 1959-1977
2 1974 campaign and Lieutenant Governor files and 1978 election files: Photographs of Thomas, Hammond and staff; Speeches and notes for speeches; Notes and research regarding political issues; Press releases; Campaign mailers; Various poems written by Jay Hammond; Thomas campaign contributors; 1975 Inaugural Ball; National Conference of Lieutenant Governors; Media Time purchases; News releases 1967-1990
3 Mostly 1974 and 1978 election and campaign files, and audio reels from Mr. Thomas’s various campaigns: Accomplishments of Hammond Administration; Election legislation; Remarks and statements by Thomas, Hammond, and Byron Mallott on Thomas’s South Africa remarks; 1978 campaign material; 1978 election recount and court case files; Retirement Court Actions; 1980 Governor’s Dinner; Walter Hickel files; Audio reels: Thomas with Michael Jackson from Los Angeles radio, KBYR FM, 1962 campaign radio spots 1962-1990
13 1975 Inaugural Ball photograph album 1975
12 Monthly planners 1975-1977
4 Speeches and presentations while Lieutenant Governor (most date from 1977-1978) and 1978 datebooks; Jay Hammond speeches while Governor 1975-1978
5-6 Correspondence to and from Thomas: Correspondents include constituents, politicians, family, friends and organizations regarding various legislation and bills. Subjects include abortion, Trans-Alaska Pipeline (TAPS), building of roads, O’Malley Tract, state spending, education, pension bill (Old Timer’s pension bill), pollution, wolf bounty, drunk driving, teacher’s retirement fund, health, chiropractors, recycling, employment, McKinley (Denali) State Park proposal, Chugach State Park proposal, reflective license plates, alcoholism, fishing and hunting, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Native land claims, and Thomas’s campaigns. 1962-1981
7 Wolf bounty and airplane shooting controversy: Includes letters to Thomas, petitions against bounty, and his research and notes 1964-1970
7-8 Pipeline, natural gas, and North Slope files: Includes testimonies, hearings, and statements, data, Mr. Thomas’s research and notes, correspondence, economic and environmental impacts, and Pipeline Impact Committee files, bills, building of the pipeline and right-of-way, Thomas’s notes from meetings, proposed bills, state management; Pipeline Impact Committee: Correspondence, meeting notes 1968-1977
9 Legislative files: Alcoholism and drunk driving; Health, Welfare, and Education Committee files: Alcoholism, narcotics, marijuana, Native education, school bonds, bill drafts, meeting minutes; Correspondence; CSSB 122 school boards; Social Services; Abortion files; Right of Way Lease Act; Medicaid; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day controversy, includes correspondence, votes on resolution, newspaper clippings; “The Plot to Drown Alaska”, Voter registration SB 94; Ted Stevens re-registration and election; 1964 Republican Party Platform; SB14 and SB24 “old folks”, snowmobiles, SOS Hearing, public assistance, Alaska Residence Incentive Program, taxing 65 and older; Legislation reform regarding pay SB9; NY Governor Rockefeller remarks and press releases; Honoring President Johnson, and Thomas’s notes on Johnson; Brookings Reports on the future of Alaska; Slides of unidentified men; Districting; Southcentral District Convention of the Republican Party meeting minutes; Howard Pollock speech before Joint Session of the State Legislature; KFGD report, 1969 session and Thomas’s notes; Alaska economy; Apportionments, reapportionments; Capitol move 1953-1977
10 Legislative subjects files: Subject file “A”: Alaska State Medical Association, Alaska Homemade Services, Alaska Consortium for Early Childhood Education, Alaska General Population Characteristics Reports, American Medical Associations, Alcohol; Subject files “E”: Public Employee’s Retirement and Salary; Subject file “L”: Labor and Labor Unions; Subject file “M” and “Mc”: Motor Vehicle Inspections, Highway Safety Standards, Unified Municipality, Mining’s Future; Subject file “N”: Board of Directors for Alaska State-Operated Schools, Teacher Negotiations Law, Binding Arbitration; Health, Welfare, and Education Committee; Subject file “O”: Ombudsmen Committee, Oil; Subject file “P”: Pipeline; Subject file “R”: Runways, oil taxes, oil and gas leases, House Resources Committee—Department of Education proposals; Subject file “T”: Vesting; Subject file “Wolf Bounty” 1961-1972
10 Legislative files: Anchorage International Airport runway; City of Anchorage Parks and Recreation—Earthquake Park; Aircraft Noise Impacts; Labor Committee files: Plumbers Code bill, Operating Engineers Local 302 discrimination, petitions, grievances, and information, Special Senate Labor Committee; Highways; Fisherman’s fund; Mount McKinley (Denali) National Park and north boundary; Conservation: Wolf bounty, hunting, timber harvest, pollution, fishing; Wilderness area proposals in Alaska; Land Use decisions and Wildlife Management; Hydro-electric power, water resources, fisheries, and Rampart Dam 1965-1984
11 Legislative files: Chugach State Park proposal; Lindbergh’s remarks at conservation meeting 1968; Study of Outdoor Recreation in Alaska; Alaska Native issues; Questionnaires and answers to general issues, Eskimo letter; Photographs taken at Yellow Knife; Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) file; Land Use Act—ANCSA 1954-1978
11 Audio reels: Thomas Natives Talk, Thomas and Ralph Rivers debate (also on audio cassette); Senate Labor Hearings; Anchorage hearing on voter registration; SB91 “Plumbers Bill”; Green—Thomas tapes; Television speech; Charles Lindbergh speech before Joint Session of Legislature on conservation circa 1962-1974
11 Film: Thomas interview with Congressman Brotzman; Campaign television spots; TV political cartoons; WARC TV news “KINE” of Lowell Thomas, Jr. circa 1960-1974
11 Audio cassettes: Thomas and Ralph Rivers debate; Walter Hickel interview on KNOM, Nome 1962-1978
12 Untitled audio reels undated
12 Photographs; Speech notes; Biography; Statehood speech for radio; Notes and notebook relating to film and politics circa 1959-1978
14 Campaign pins, pencil, flyers, and bumper stickers; Lowell Thomas Jr. for congress posters; Desk calendar probably from August 1974 (the calendar is printed for October 1974 but it is crossed out and the days are changed); 1978 Thank You poster from a class at Whale Pass School; 1978 Arctic Winter Games guest pin; Alaska State coins; Alaska Purchase Centennial bone; 1977 poster for the dedication of the official opening of the Klondike Gold Rush Historical Park; Photographs of 5th Alaska State Legislature and House of Representatives, 1967-68 Alaska State Senate, 1971-72 Alaska Senate 1962-1978



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