Guide to the John Mesick photograph album
Collection number: HMC-1349.
Mesick, John, recipient.
Title: John Mesick photograph album.
Volume of collection: 0.3 cubic feet.
Language of materials: Materials in the collection are in English.
Collection summary: Photograph album documenting a U.S. Army Special Services expedition to mine jade in the Kobuk River area.
Marshall Gravatt was Director of Arts and Crafts at the U.S. Army’s Alaska headquarters and participated in a 1952 trip to the Kobuk River area to collect jade for use by the Arts and Crafts Branch of the U.S. Army Special Services Division.
John Mesick was born in 1894 in Hudson New York and graduated from West Point in 1918. In 1952 Colonel Mesick was named Assistant Chief of Staff, G1, U.S. Army, Alaska. While in Alaska, he was involved in the jade collection expedition, known as “Operation Jade.” Mesick died in 1969 in Natchez, Mississippi.
The collection consists of a photograph album presented to Colonel John Mesick by Marshall Gravatt, documenting a U.S. Army Special Services expedition to find Jade for use by the Arts and Crafts Branch of the U.S. Army Special Services Division. The album contains photographs of scenery; people, including members of the expeditions; mining operations; villages; transportation of jade via river; airplanes; jade nuggets collected on the trip; and jade being cut in the Army Craft Shop. Locations of the photographs include Nome, the village of Kobuk, the Kobuk River, Dahl Creek, the village of Shungnak, Shungnak River, Kiana, Noorvik, and Kotzebue. The album also contains maps of the route taken by the expedition.
Arrangement: The album is arranged in original order.
Digitized copies: Selected photographs from the collection have been digitized and can be found on Alaska’s Digital Archives. For information about obtaining digital copies, please contact Archives and Special Collections.
Rights note: Archives and Special Collections does not own copyright to the collection. Photographs and maps may be in the public domain if created as part of the U.S. Army expedition.
Preferred citation: John Mesick photograph album, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.
Works used in preparation of inventory:
“Alaskan Colonel Plans to Remain In Territory,”Anchorage Daily Times, April 25, 1952. (accessed February 19, 2020).
“Col John Lockwood Mesick,” Find A Grave, accessed February 19, 2020.
Gravatt, Marshall, “Craftwork Makes Crafty Soldiers,” Popular Science, June, 1952, 12 (accessed February 19, 2020).
Acquisition note: The album was donated to the Archives by Hattie Schmidlkofer in 2020.
Processing information: This collection was described by Gwen Higgins in 2020.