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James L. Simpson diary

Guide to the James L. Simpson diary
1917-1928, bulk 1917-1921

Collection number: HMC-1338.
Creator: Simpson, James L.
Title: James L. Simpson diary.
Dates: 1917-1928, bulk 1917-1921.
Volume of collection: 0.01 cubic feet.
Language of materials: The diary is written in English.
Collection summary: Diary of a man who homesteaded at Chickaloon.

Biographical note:
James L. Simpson was born in England in 1870.  In 1917, he may have been a worker at a roadhouse on the Valdez-Fairbanks Trail. Beginning in June 1917, he traveled to Anchorage and then south to Kachemak Bay on the Kenai Peninsula. He then moved onto a homestead in the vicinity of Chickaloon. There, he engaged in various activities, including farming, hunting, cutting timber, and working for the Chickaloon Coal Company and the California Coal Company. Life was difficult, and at times, there was little food to eat. Simpson eventually had to sell his goats and other property and find work elsewhere. He died in Palmer, Alaska in 1945.

Collection description:
The collection consists of a diary written by James L. Simpson, who homesteaded near Chickaloon beginning in 1917. The diary begins on February 16, 1917 and contains short entries about Simpson’s daily activities, including work he performed, people he saw, and places he traveled to, as well as the weather. Early on, the diary also functioned as a ledger, detailing how much money Simpson took in and spent each day. In later entries he no longer used separate columns for money taken in and spent, but he continued to include financial information in the entries. The collection also includes a typed transcript of the diary with additional information provided by the donor, Joseph Homme.

Arrangement: The diary is arranged in the order in which it arrived at the Archives. Diary entries are chronological.

Alternative formats: The transcript is also available as a searchable PDF.

Digitized copies: This collection has not been digitized. 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: The diary is in the public domain.

Preferred citation: James L. Simpson diary, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Works used in preparation of inventory: Information about the collection was provided by the donor, Joseph Homme.

Related materials:
HMC-1309: Chickaloon Coal Company records; 1910-1922, bulk 1917-1919. Simpson worked for the Chickaloon Coal Company while homesteading in the Chickaloon area.

Custodial history: The diary was given to Harold Stephan of Palmer by an unknown person. After he died, it became the property of his daughter Joan and her husband, Gary Hamacher and transferred to Leslie Hamacher after their death. Leslie Hamacher gave the diary to Joe Homme in 2013.

Acquisition note: The collection was donated to Archives and Special Collections, and a deed of gift signed, by Joseph Homme in 2019.

Processing information: This collection was described by Gwen Higgins in 2019. The diary was transcribed by Joe Homme with the help of Cheryl Homme and Jim Fox in 2019.

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