Archives field trip: picking up a collection

Going to visit people in their homes and offices to look at and pick up collections is a fairly regular occurrence around here. We like to think of them as archival field trips! We had one of those today, but this one was a little different than our normal trips.

The Stake Shop

Sunday I received an email about a building up for sale downtown. It was the Stake Shop, a company that had supplied yard signs to quite a few political candidates over the years. One of our long-time supporters had walked by the building and noticed that it was up for sale and also spotted that there were quite a few political signs on the walls still and he worried that whoever bought the property might tear down the building and the signs with it. “Could those maybe be rescued?” came the call.

Signs along one wall in the front room of the Stake Shop.

I got in touch with a realtor friend to find out which realtor was handling the property and that realtor was kind enough to get us contact information for the owners. I met with them on Monday to take a look at the signs and see if they were something we might want to take in. There weren’t a huge number of them, probably 75-100. Since many of them reflected campaigns and candidates that aren’t otherwise easily found in the archival record–not to mention pretty good visuals for what makes an effective yard sign and trends in graphic design!–I thought it was important to preserve them and make them accessible.  During my Monday visit I got a closer look at what we might do about taking them in. And then I set up an appointment for Tuesday for us to come pull them off the walls.

The signs were all stapled to the walls with heavy duty staples.

Pulling staples from a Bettye Davis school board campaign sign.

Since this was going to be a little more labor intensive than our normal stepping and fetching of boxes of records, and would require some ladder climbing to reach the higher signs, I asked around the Consortium Library for some help. And we got a few volunteers and they even brought their own tools!

Sam, Sigrid, Veronica, and Arlene ready for some work!

Thanks to Don Mitchell and Ian Hartman for watching out for the history of our community and bringing the signs to our attention. Thanks to Michele Miller and Lynda Zaugg for fielding what might have been some of the strangest emails/texts realtors might get regarding a property up for sale. Thanks to Steve and Sam Rollins, Veronica Denison, Kevin Tripp, and Sigrid Brudie for being a part of the sign take-down party. And extra special thanks to Jerry and Louise Hagel, owners of the Stake Shop, for preserving and displaying these signs for so long and for being willing to donate them to the Consortium Library to be added to our political memorabilia collection.

And here’s what the walls looked like after we took down the signs. It’s not a bad visual for what years of light exposure can do to painted walls. And if you look really closely, you can see how the lettering on the signs had an effect, too.

The post Archives field trip: picking up a collection appeared first on Archives and Special Collections.

New in the Archives: June 2018

It’s so hard to stay inside in June in Alaska! But we managed to get a lot done anyhow. Here’s the June 2018 wrap-up:

New personnel:

Sara Rollins, a local high school student, is volunteering with us this summer for 2-3 days each week. She’s doing a wide variety of tasks including creating an exhibit from our Rare Books collection, selecting images for our social media outlets, and lots of scanning of photographs so we can put them up on the Alaska’s Digital Archives.

Anna Leinweber, a grad student in the library program at Louisiana State University, decided to visit Alaska for her grad internship. She’s done a lot of cataloging of images for the Alaska’s Digital Archives (see below), some collection description, and spent some time working with some of our reference questions too.


We had a booth at PrideFest again this year. As always, we talked to lots of people both about the resources we have for research and about how they might think about their own documents and photographs being placed in an archives. (And a chance to be outside in Alaska in June, though it was quite windy.)

Our booth at PrideFest. We like our new banner and tablecloth.

Social media: We posted 29 tweets to Twitter: mostly photographs relating to #GreatOutdoorsMonth. We posted 7 times to Facebook and 4 times to Instagram (note to archivists: we need to do more Instagram!). Are you following us on those sites? Twitter: @CLArchives, Facebook: @ConsortiumLibraryArchives, Instagram: clarchives (we promise we’ll do better on Instagram).

Our volunteer Sara curated an exhibit on exploration narratives from our Rare Books holdings. That exhibit can be viewed in the Great Room of the Consortium Library.

We posted the third installment in our podcast series: this one a conversation between Gwen, Veronica, and Arlene on tourism in Alaska and how it is reflected in our collections. We also recorded two more, including a bonus episode coming in mid-July  in which Arlene talks with one of our visiting researchers about media and Alaska and archives. Our next regularly scheduled episode will be posted later in July and in that one, Veronica talks with our colleagues at the Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association about what it is they do.

And in a very out-of-the-ordinary moment, C-SPAN‘s Cities Tour visited us on the 26th and interviewed Arlene about our holdings relating to the 1964 Alaska earthquake. They tell us we might just see that interview airing the weekend of July 21-22.


Gwen was awarded an Interlibrary Cooperation Grant from the Alaska State Library and the Institute for Museum and Library Services. This grant will allow us to work with other archives to create some cooperative guides to collections across Alaska and get them posted on SLED (State Library Electronic Doorway). We did one a few years ago on where to find the records/papers of former governors of Alaska. We also finished one in June on where to find archival materials in the US and Canada (primarily Alaska & Yukon Territory) on the CANOL pipeline which was funded by UAA’s Elizabeth Tower Endowment for Canadian Studies (thanks to Veronica for applying for and getting that grant). The CANOL guide should be going live later in July.

Additions to Alaska’s Digital Archives:

The work to transfer the historic UAA images from picturingUAA to the Alaska’s Digital Archives continued. 243 images were moved over which included additional metadata and editing some of the information accompanying the photographs.

New content added to the Alaska’s Digital Archives includes:

27 images from the W. D. Lacabanne photographs.  Most of the images relate to the canneries at Nushagak in 1931. Anna the Intern did these.

22 images from McGlashan and Monsen family photographs. These mostly relate to Naknek from 1910-1950.

44 images from Emma Cameron slides. Emma Cameron was a school teacher in Nome in the late 1940s, early 1950s.

40 images from the C. H. McLeod photograph albums. Anna the Intern also did these. The photos date from about 1898-1903 and mostly relate to southeast Alaska.

Collection description:

You might recognize some of these from the above Digital Archives additions.

HMC-0670: Washington D. Lacabanne papers; 1931. 0.2 cubic foot addition of photographs.

HMC-0989: Atwood family papers; 1906-2003. 1.8 cubic foot addition.

HMC-1290: John Cloe papers; 1943-2016. Research materials related to John’s book Mission to the Kurils.

HMC-1291: Jukichi (Jack) Nishida photographs; circa 1913-1981. Photographs taken by a man from Japan who worked for a mining company in Ellamar.

HMC-1292-AHS: C. H. McLeod photographs; undated, 1898-1903. Photographs of southeastern Alaska.

UAA-0076: Enrollment Management slides; 1977-1997. Photographs of campus life at UAA.

Legacy finding aids updated:

HMC-0232: Betty Jo and Bruce Staser family papers; 1946-1985. 0.4 cubic feet. Documents from a military serviceman and employee of the Municipality of Anchorage.

HMC-0233: Harry Staser family papers; 1891-1977. 0.2 cubic feet. Family papers of an Alaskan miner and deputy marshal.

HMC-0415: Society for Technical Communication. Alaska Chapter records; 1981-1991. 1.8 cubic feet. Records of an organization for technical writers.

Collection additions and changes:

We received five new collections or additions to collections. Veronica paid a visit to the Inupiat Heritage Center in Utqiaġvik to bring them a portion of a collection that was more appropriate to their holdings than ours.

The post New in the Archives: June 2018 appeared first on Archives and Special Collections.

Anchorage: Almost home of the Winter Olympics

Anchorage was almost the home of the Winter Olympics.  Twice.

Artist's rendering of proposed Olympic stadium, from the Anchorage Organizing Committee records

Our fair city was the U.S. Olympic Committee’s choice as a the host site for both the 1992 and 1994 Winter Olympics.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you ask), both times the International Olympic Committee chose another location: Albertville, France for the 1992 games and Lillehammer, Norway for 1994.

Behind Anchorage’s bids for the Winter Games was the Anchorage Organizing Committee (AOC), an organization formed in 1984 and led by local advertising executive Rick Mystrom, whose sole purpose was to advocate for and prepare the city’s proposals to serve as

Artist's rendering of proposed ski jump facility from the Anchorage Organizing Committee Olympics records

host city for the Olympics.  Mystrom and the AOC saw incredible potential in Anchorage’s mountain location, in its reputation as a home of word-class skiers, and also in the amount of undeveloped real estate in the city that could potentially be used to construct the necessary Olympics facilities.  The AOC spent an incredible amount of time and energy preparing detailed presentations and proposals — not only to sway the U.S. and International Olympic Committees but also to convince Anchorage residents to support the dream of an Olympics in their hometown.

Though none of Anchorage’s Olympic bids ever came to fruition, Rick Mystrom held onto the records of  Anchorage Organizing Committee and recently donated the committee’s records to Archives & Special Collections.  Included in the collection are video and slide show presentations, photographs, detailed brochures and prospectuses, maps of proposed stadium and Olympic Village locations, and many other documents.  But undeniably the most visually stunning material in the collection are the large-format art renderings of proposed Olympics facilities that would be built in the city should Anchorage have won any of its bids.  Three of these renderings are displayed here: visualizations of what the proposed ski jump, stadium, and skating facilities might have looked like, had they ever been built.  These original, hand-colored drawings were produced for the AOC by the Austin Company, an international design-build firm, for a June 1985 presentation, most likely relating to the AOC’s first bid for the 1992 Winter Games.

Artist's rendering of proposed skating facility, from the Anchorage Organizing Committee Olympics records

To learn more about the Anchorage Organizing Committee Olympics records at Archives & Special Collections, see the preliminary guide to the collection online on the Archives & Special Collection website.  For all reference queries about this collection, contact us by email at, by phone at 907-786-1849, or visit us in person to browse through the collection during our public hours.