Often historical artifacts and documents are uneven and selective
– created and preserved by people who had the time, the resources, and the
inclination to leave clues of their existence to future historians. Photographs,
in many ways, are unique windows to the past. A photograph may reflect an elaborate
effort to preserve a particular moment or it may be a serendipitous moment caught on camera.
Elmendorf AFB, 1951. Unidentified woman poses for a portrait.
We can only guess as to why she is there. Such underdocumented sources
frustrate archivists and historians.
[Earl George Goodwin papers and photographs, HMC-0593]
Southeast Alaska, ca. 1890-1900. At the turn of the century, baskets were made and
sold on the streets of Alaska. This portrait of two Tlingit women was cropped from
a larger postcard and saved in an album.
[Julia Willma Weber papers, HMC-0344]