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Guide to the Donald T. Griffith family films
1948-1969

Collection number: HMC-1058.
Creator: Griffith, Donald T.
Title: Donald T. Griffith family films.
Dates: 1948-1969.
Volume of collection: 0.5 cubic feet; 28 reels of film. 
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Collection summary: Home movies and documentary created by Bureau of Land Management land planner.

Biographical note:
Donald Thomas Griffith was born October 3, 1912 in Wendell, Idaho. In 1934 Griffith received his B.S. in Business from the University of Idaho in Moscow. His career went on to include positions with the United States Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers, and the Alaska State Department Highways.  He married Rubby Denny in 1937 and together they had twins: Jack and Janet. In 1948 Griffith and his family moved to Anchorage, Alaska where he accepted a position as a land planner with the Bureau of Land Management. He traveled throughout the State of Alaska, helping choose campsites and providing advice on land use.  In addition to traveling around Alaska for work, Donald Griffith took his family on many Alaska trips and often times filmed them.  In 1991, Griffith and his wife left Anchorage and moved to Eugene, Oregon. He passed away in 1992. 

Collection description:
The collection consists of 8mm footage Donald Griffith took while on family vacations and trips around the state of Alaska from 1948-1969. People appearing on film include Donald Griffith, Rubby Denny Griffith, Jack and Janet Griffith, Charlie White, George Gustafson, and an uncle named Cress Denny. Footage covers activities, such as hunting, fishing, skiing, flying, Alaska Methodist University graduation, Janet Griffith’s ballet recital, dog sledding, seal herding and processing; and events such as Fur Rondy.  Film locations are from all over the state and include Anchorage, Saint Lawrence Island, Valdez, Homer, Eklutna Flats, Cordova, and Whittier, Pribiloff Islands, Haines, Kodiak. In addition to family movies, the collection has a documentary Donald Griffith created called, Four Seasons in Alaska.

Arrangement: Reels are divided by reel footage: 50 feet, 200 feet, 300 feet, and 400 feet reels. Within these series reels are in chronological order and retain their number assigned by Donald Griffith. Descriptions in container list were provided by Janet Ariane Nelson, daughter of Donald T. Griffith.

Digitized copies: Digital copies of collection material not available online. For information about obtaining digital copies, please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Access restrictions: Viewing film footage may require conversion fees to create DVD access copies.

Rights note: The Archives owns copyright to this collection.

Preferred citation: Donald T. Griffith, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Works used in preparation of inventory:
Obituary of Donald T. Griffith,” Anchorage Daily News, March 21, 1992.

Griffith, Ruby Denny, and Jana Ariane Nelson. “Donald T. Griffith.”

Acquisition note: The collection was presented to the Archives and deed of gift was signed by Jana (Janet) Ariane Nelson in 2010.

Processing information: This collection was described by Mariecris Gatlabayan in 2011. Reels arrived at the Archives numbered and with detailed descriptions from Donald T. Griffith’s daughter, Janet Ariane Nelson. Upon further inspection of the numbering system, it appeared that Griffith grouped his film by reel size, arranged them chronologically and numbered them.

Container list:
Series 1: 50 feet; 1957-1958. 3 reels.


Reel #

Description

Date

1

Saint Lawrence Island trip with Woodland Park Presbyterian Church (now Trinity Presbyterian Church) group.  (Ruby Denney Griffith, Jack and Janet).  Hexagon or octagon shaped house belonged to a woman named Mary (Rie Manoz painted a picture of her house in 1977 called “Winter Sun, Gambell.”) I remember one fellow named Clarence Irrigou [sp].

1957

2

Boeing C-97, Strato-Cruiser down in Inlet on ice.

1957

3

Cordova, Whittier, Prince William Sound, all from air; landing at Merrill Field.

1958

Series 2: 200 feet reels; 1950-1954. 17 reels.


Reel #

Description

Date

3

Janet Griffith on bike; salmon fishing; Lake Spenard, moose hunting at Willow; Christmas; bird feeder; skiing, Palmer; Uncle Cress Denney at ice blocks (Fur Rondy?).

1950

4

Deep snow pictures; blanket toss; Eskimo dances on Park Strip; dog races; ski jump at hospital; Arctic Valley; Jack Griffith snow shoe hunting; moose on CAA field; Eklutna Flats; crab in kettle.

1950

5

Salmon nets at Point Waranzoff; netting; fish canning.

1951

6

Arctic Circle trip.

1951

11

Fall and Winter; Christmas; Skagway; skiing at Arctic Valley.

1952

14

Kotzebue and Nome trip for Ruby Denney Griffith; Mt. Spurr eruption, ash in Anchorage.

1953

15

Dawson trip.

1954

16

Lake Louise caribou hunt with Charlie White and Donald Griffith.

1954

20

Wildlife; Izzy the chameleon; Jack’s alligator or crocodile; squirrel.

1956

21

Big snow; Romig Hill; skiing at Tin Can Creek (in Johnson’s Pass?); scouts.

1956

22

Summer:  Flying to McGrath; driving to Valdez and Homer; 4th of July at Elmendorf AFB.

1956

23

Alaska wildlife:  Moose, bear, caribou, goats (heavy red tint on film, turn color off for good black & white).

1956

25

Alaska Statehood celebration, bon fire.

1958

28

Big Lake; skiing; bear hunt, grizzly, Talkeetna; Anchorage High School Graduation (last year as 1 high school); Illiamna; Marcharamma [?]; Loon nest; Eisenhower visit.

1960

34

Fur Rondy dog races.

1964

35

March 27, 1964 earthquake.

1964

42

Pribiloff Islands; seal rookery, herding, slaughter, skin processing.

1969

Series 3: 300 feet reels; 1948-1959. 4 reels.


Reel #

Description

Date

2

Haines & Kodiak

1948-49

10

Jack Griffith’s caribou hunt at Nancy Lake with Don Griffith, George Gustafson & Charlie White.

1952

24

Moose hunt at Cold Lake; Scout camp-over; dog races; Tangle Lakes; Cold Lake goat hunt.

1957

27

Big Lake; Tok hunt; skiing at Big Lake; Dedication of AMU Campus.

1959

Series 4: 400 feet reels; 1951-1954. 4 reels.


Reel #

Description

Date

7

“Four Seasons in Alaska,” spring and summer. Documentary made by Donald Griffith.

1951

8

“Four Seasons in Alaska,” fall and winter. Documentary made by Donald Griffith.

1951

13

Family; Tin Can Camp; skiing; 4th of July; salmon fishing at Anchor River; Lake Spenard; small tract in South Anchorage; Ice Lake; Knik; Spenard Road.

1953

17

Family; Knik; dog sled races in Anchorage; blanket toss; North Star Elementary skating; Janet’s ballet; small tract cabin; hunting; Eklutna scout train to Fairbanks; Mo Allen[?] at Brushkana; Bureau of Land Management picnic at Kemp Lake.

1954