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ALASKA IN THE 1880s

[The theme of "Alaska in the 1880s" was a natural one for the archives staff. While the department has few original collections from the period, those few (R. T. Harris, F. W. Fickett, and T. W. Benham) are very good. Images from the collections were used in several exhibits of which two bore the title given above. The first display with this title was a part of an exhibit at the the occasion of the opening event of the annual Anchorage Fur Rendezvous in 1983. (Other themes were Fur Rendezvous Queens and Mushers, and "Ships in Alaska's Past.") That exhibit, which was mounted in the lobby of CAS building on the UAA campus, won the best exhibit award for the the Fur Rendezvous in 1983. It was available for viewing February 11-20, 1983. The second exhibit of this title took place in the summer of 1987 at the Egan Convention Center in downtown Anchorage. The exhibit was available from June to August 1987.

The first five photographs in the "Favorite Photographs" section were used in one or both of the "Alaska in the 1880s" exhibits.]

Image from the Archives Collection

1. Richard T. Harris and Joe Juneau; n.d.


(Photographer Unknown.)

This item is an advertisement for a brand of cigars called "Old Tillicum." Harris and Juneau made a significant gold strike in southeast Alaska near the sight of present day Juneau in 1880. This led to an important "rush" to the area at the time. Dick Harris is on the left and Joe Juneau is on the right. The photo is from the Harris collection. The archives holds the papers of the Richard Tighe Harris Family.

Image from the Archives Collection

2. Government Buildings in Sitka; ca. 1880s.
(Photographer Unknown.)

This photograph from the Fred W. Fickett Collection shows the main government buildings in Sitka, Alaska, in the 1880s. The Building on the left is the Customs House. The large building on the right is the Barracks. The building on the hill is the "Castle;" it housed the office of the Russian governor in Alaska. The U. S. Army Signal Office in Sitka was on the third floor. The photo is from the F. W. Fickett collection.

Image from the Archives Collection

3. Fred Wildon Fickett in Dress Uniform; 1882.
(Photo by The New Photographic Art Company, Washington, D.C. )

This photograph was taken while Pvt. F. W. Fickett was stationed at Ft. Myers, Virginia. The insignia on his arm is that of the U. S. Army Signal Corps. Soon after the picture was taken he was ordered to go to Sitka, Alaska. The photo is from the F. W. Fickett collection

Image from the Archives Collection

4. Allen Expedition Members; September 1885.
(Photographer Unknown.)

The people in the photograph are (l. to r.) Pvt. Fred W. Fickett, Signal Corps; Lt. Henry T. Allen, 2nd Cavalry; and Sgt. Cady Robertson, 2nd Cavalry. The photograph was taken in September of 1885 after the expedition reached the safety of Ft. St. Michael. This photo is from the F. W. Fickett collection.

Image from the Archives Collection

5. Miss Elizabeth L. "Bessie" Matthews; ca. 1880s.
(Photograph by Frank boggess of Monmouth, Illinois.)

Miss Matthews left Illinois in 1882. She became a Presbyterian missionary teacher. She was stationed at Haines, Alaska, in the mid 1880s. Miss Matthews was a friend of Fred Fickett and his fiance, Nellie Tibbetts Lord. The photo is from the F. W. Fickett collection.

Image from the Archives Collection

6. S. B. McLenegan; Asst. Engineer; ca. mid 1880s.
(Photographer Unknown.)

McLenegan was an officer in the U. S. Revenue Marine Service. He was the Second Assistant Engineer on the cutter Thomas Corwin in 1885. In that year, he was ordered to make a reconnaissance of the Noatuk River in northwestern Alaska. This photo bears a handwritten inscription: "Noatuk River, Hotham Inlet." The photo is from the T. W. Benham collection.

Image from the Archives Collection

7. Woman and Child in Front of Barabara at Unalaska; ca. 1880s. 
(Photograph by A. L. Broadbent; the print was made by I. W. Taber Photographic Parlors of San Francisco.)

The Taber studios produced a series of photographs relating to Alaska. Many of these were apparently taken by Revenue Marine officers such as Broadbent. Unalaska was an important stop in the voyages of the revenue cutters during their patrols along the coast of Alaska. The photo is from the T. W. Benham collection.

Image from the Archives Collection

8. Bidarka, Port Clarence; ca. 1880s.
(Photographer Unknown. The photograph was sold by I. W. Taber Photographic Parlors of San Francisco.)

This is an Eskimo skin boat. The name on the picture is spelled "bidara." Port Clarence is located on the northwest coast of Alaska. The photo is in the F. W. Fickett collection.

Image from the Archives Collection

9. Group of Women at Port Clarence; ca. mid 1880s.
(Photographer Unknown. The photograph was sold by I. W. Taber Photographic Parlors of San Francisco.)

These are Eskimo women. They are probably visiting one of the Revenue Marine vessels. Original copies of this photo are in the Fickett and Benham collections.


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