Learn about the Society for Inclusion and Equality and more! This week on KRUA’s Informania; Friday, 1-2pm.

Listen to Informania on 88.1FM or kruaradio.org, on Friday at 1pm, for the replay of Deb the Librarian’s interview with Nile Morris, President of the Society for Inclusion and Equality; Seawolf Debater; Executive Producer and Host of Orbuculum 101 on KRUA; composer; and Natural Sciences major. Nile shares great insight and information. Listen and be informed!

Archiving AK Episode 2: Interview with Pierce Bateman

In the second episode of Archiving AK, archivists Gwen and Veronica interview researcher Pierce Bateman. Pierce has been visiting the Archives as a researcher since 2015: first as an undergraduate student, and more recently as a graduate student writing his thesis. In the episode, they discuss Pierce’s background, current research topic, his general interests, and the various aspects of researching in archives from a researcher’s point of view.

Below, you can find explanations and further information regarding collections and people mentioned during the episode.

  • At 1:38, Pierce mentions researching in the Independence Mine records. The collection he is referencing is the Alaska-Pacific Consolidated Mining Company records, housed here at Archives and Special Collections.
  • Pierce mentions Ernest Gruening at 3:44. Gruening was the Governor of the Alaska Territory from 1939 until 1953, and a U.S. Senator from Alaska from 1959-1969. Gruening’s papers are held at the Alaska State Archives (RG101), as well as the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Alaska and Polar Regions Collections and Archives (USUAF155). 
  • At 3:45, Bob Bartlett is mentioned. Bartlett was appointed as secretary of the Alaska Territory in 1939 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, served as a delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives for the Alaska Territory from 1945 to 1959, and also served as United States Senator from Alaska from 1959 to 1968. University of Alaska Fairbanks, Alaska and Polar Regions Collections and Archives holds the E.L. “Bob” Bartlett papers (Collection 53).
  • At 3:46, James Wickersham is also mentioned by Pierce. Wickersham was appointed as district judge for Alaska by President William McKinley in 1900, until he resigned his post in 1908 and elected as Alaska’s delegate to Congress, serving until 1917, and then again from 1931 to 1933. The James Wickersham papers are available at the Alaska State Library Historical Collections (MS 107, Wickersham State Historic Site Collection).
  • Bob Atwood is mentioned at 4:01. Atwood was editor and later publisher of the Anchorage Times from 1935-1989. The Atwood family papers are available at the UAA/APU Archives and Special Collections.
  • Pierce mentions a topic guide created by the Archives at 7:10. The guide, which is titled Steamship related collections, includes collections that contain materials related to steamships and steamship companies.

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The Legacy of Sadako Exhibit in Reading Room

The Legacy of Sadako
Unveiling of the Exhibit

The members of Japanese Educational Tour of Colony High School met Mr. Masahiro Sasaki on March 11th, 2017 where he shared his thoughts about peace in the world. Mr. Masahiro Sasaki is an elder brother of Miss Sadako Sasaki who is the model for “The Children’s Peace Monument” in the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima. After being exposed to the atomic bomb, Sadako Sasaki suffered from leukemia and died at age of 12. Since her death, Mr. Sasaki has spent his time as an advocate of the world peace movement. Mr. Sasaki donated paper cranes that were folded by Sadako-san to the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum, The Pearl Harbor Museum, and the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri. Mr. Sasaki continues to appeal for world peace.

The members of Japanese Educational Tour of Colony High School presented a dream catcher as an Alaskan native art craft, an autographed letter from U.S. Congressman Don Young, and the flag of the United States of America that flew on Capitol Hill in Washington DC on February 11, 2017. February 11th is “National Foundation Day” in Japan. In return, Mr. Sasaki presented the Japanese Educational tour group with connected paper cranes which were folded by Mr. Sasaki. Colony High School is the first school in the world to receive one of Mr. Sasaki’s connected paper cranes. The members of the Japanese Educational Tour of Colony High School decided to donate the connected paper cranes to the UAA/APU Consortium Library as part of a permanent display which will be seen by tens of thousands of library visitors each year. The exhibit includes not only the connected paper cranes by Mr. Sasaki but hundreds of other paper cranes (Orizuru) folded by people in support of world peace.

LibQUAL+ Comment Analysis

In addition to the standard survey questions, LibQUAL+ includes a box for comments.  The Consortium Library Assessment Team has coded and analyzed the comments from the 2017 UAA and APU surveys.

Here are some highlights.

370 UAA users left a total of 637 comments.  The most frequent comments had to do with library hours, quiet spaces, building temperature, and food/drink/vending after hours.  Almost 10% of the comments expressed dissatisfaction with the library hours, and we were able to add more library hours during spring semester.

40 APU users left a total of 74 comments.  The most frequent comments from this group were about wifi and parking.  Not everyone is aware that since the last LibQUAL+ survey APU parking permits are now honored in the Consortium Library’s parking lots.  UAA provides public wifi that APU users can access in the library.

Overall, we received more positive than negative comments, and we received fewer negative comments about staff that in past surveys.  Many users named specific resources they would like to see reinstated when the budget allows.  You can read the 2017 LibQUAL+ comments here.

Watch this space for more information about changes at the library based on user comments.  We hear you!

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New in the Archives: May 2018

May seemed to be a quiet month, but we kept busy with reference requests and speaking to donors. We also described four new collections and added 487 photographs to Alaska’s Digital Archives. Further details on what we have been up to are below:

We released the second episode of Archiving AK, in which archivists Gwen and Veronica interview researcher Pierce Bateman. Links to Archiving AK episodes can be found on the podcast page of our website.

Collections described:

EPH-0395: Eagle River Elementary School yearbook and newsletter; 1972-1973.

HMC-0932: Walter Johnson papers; 1902-2008, bulk 1961-1978. We received a 6.4 cubic foot addition to our already existing Walter Johnson papers. Johnson worked as a doctor at Bethel Hospital, served as the Chief of Medicine and then Medical Director at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, and was a Director and Instructor for the Community Health Aide training program (also called Community Health Aide Program, or CHAP). The collection includes Johnson’s research on tuberculosis, files relating to the Community Health Aide Program (CHAP), and the founding and establishment of the Alaska Medical Library (formerly called Alaska Health Services Library). The collection also includes Johnson’s research on the discovery of gold in Nome, history of Swedish people in Alaska, the Sami and reindeer herding, and advocacy for bike paths in Anchorage.

HMC-1281: Botens-Stoops family film; circa 1955-1978.  This collection contains 8mm films created by members of the Botens and Stoops family.  Subjects of the films, as indicated by family members, include camping at Skilak Lake, a canoe trip in 1966, the Botens’ homestead in Anchor Point, North Fork and Caribou Hills, a cabin at Summit Lake, Baltic Lake, a canoe trip on the Killey River, a meat house and chicken house, beaches, animals and scenery, hunting and fishing, Eklutna, Nome, Port Moller, and the North Slope. The films also depict community events in Soldotna, Anchor Point, and Homer. Access to this collection may be subject to delays and costs for the digitization of the originals.

HMC-1286: Cheryl Curtis and Morgan Grey; 1954-2018. Cheryl Curtis and Morgan Grey moved to Alaska in 1994. (Curtis was born in Palmer and went to Chugiak High School). Curtis worked in building maintenance, and she and Grey were involved with the Alaska Tradeswomen Network. Grey  worked as an academic advisor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Curtis, who was was diagnosed with amyloidosis, started an online chat room for people with the condition to help herself and others heal. She died in 2008. Grey published the book, The Book of Found Goddesses: Asphalta to Viscera along with Julia Penelope, a linguistics professor at the University of Nebraska. She also has taught workshops on goddess worship and shamanism, as well as performing readings and plays related to feminism. The collection contains both Curtis’s and Grey’s personal papers, including educational and employment records, correspondence, journals, writings, photographs, and scrapbooks

Cheryl Curtis and Morgan Grey

Cheryl Curtis and Morgan Grey.

Additions to Alaska’s Digital Archives:

What was once our picturingUAA site will be taken down at the end of June. 297 of the over 600 images that were on it were added to Alaska’s Digital Archives. This task included modifying and adding metadata on each item. This work continues and we hope to have all the photographs moved over by the end of June.

We also received news that Robert Knox, one of our collection donors, passed away. We digitized one photo of Bob, as well as his Alaska Press Club membership card from the Robert and Wilma Knox papers; 1949-2001. HMC-0461. These were added to the 330 photographs that we had previously digitized.

Bob Knox and Helen Gillette in the Anchorage Daily News newsroom in 1952.

22 images from the Henry Gilbertson papers, HMC-0115. Henry Gilbertson worked for the state of Alaska as an administrator for the state-operated schools in many areas of rural Alaska. His photographs, from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, include images of many rural schools and schoolchildren.

60 images from McGlashan and Monsen family photographs, HMC-1278. Photographs primarily taken in Naknek and Akutan. More photographs of this collection will be added in the next few months.

Caption on back of photograph: “Main Street Naknek [circa] 1946”. From McGlashan and Monsen family photographs.

32 images from the Al E. Beyer papers, HMC-0958.  In the summer of 1994, he completed a motorcycle tour to Alaska covering over seven thousand road miles. Photographs from his trip were added to Alaska’s Digital Archives.

Beyer and his motorcycle at the end of the Alaska Highway in Delta Junction.

Al Beyer in front of the Welcome to Wrangell sign.

75 images from the Francis Huber slides, HMC-1280. Huber was an avid photographer whose photographs were published in magazines and textbooks. Most of Huber’s photographs recently added to the Digital Archives were of wildlife. Additional photographs from this collection will be added within the next couple of months.

Sea otter recovering from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, 1989.


HMC-0439: Gary Thurlow papers; 1930-1995.  Thurlow was an attorney for the Greater Anchorage Area Borough, manager for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, and a lawyer in private practice. His collection primarily contains drafts of articles on urban and governmental planning.

HMC-0793: United States. Air Force. 11th Fighter Squadron photographs; 1945. The Eleventh Fighter Squadron, a unit in the Eleventh Air Force, was assigned to the XIth Fighter Command in June 1942. From September 1942 to August 1946, the squadron was assigned to the 343rd Fighter Group. The squadron was first stationed in Alaska at Elmendorf Field in December 1941, with detachments at Fort Randall and Fort Glenn. The squadron was later stationed at Adak Army Air Field in February 1943, with detachments at Amchitka and Fort Glenn. Finally, the squadron was stationed at Shemya from August 1945 to August 1946. The collection contains images of the fighter squadron.

UAA-0044: Anchorage Community College. ACCent photographs; 1982-1988. Photos from the ACC student newspaper.

UAA-0047: Anchorage Community College administrative subject files; 1953-1978. Historical files related to Anchorage Community College.

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May Day: blinded by the light

We’re a teensy bit late on May Day this year. On May 1, we often celebrate May Day by doing something to help us out with preservation or disaster recovery planning. We’ve been getting some collections with old stills in recently so we decided it was time to figure out how to tell if something is cellulose based stock or not. Both acetate and nitrate cellulose film stock are best stored frozen.  (Here’s an earlier blog entry about nitrate moving image stock gone wrong.)

I’ll skip the history of film stock and nitrate in particular since you can find that easily enough elsewhere (here’s one source) and I’ll skip the long version of why we’re keeping the stuff when we can. But it’s not always simple to tell what the film stock is. Some have little notches in the edges of the negative where different patterns can tell you what type it is, but not all do. And unfortunately most of the definitive tests that determine whether something is nitrate specifically are either illegal for us to do (burning) or impractical (chemical testing with some seriously nasty chemicals). They’re all basically destructive, which means you’d have to clip a section off the negative to test it. The problem with that is that not all negatives have clear space on the edges allowing for clipping without cutting into the image, even if we could do chemical or burn testing.

Since Veronica and Arlene both were working with collections of the appropriate age to have nitrate or acetate cellulose stock and both of which had a lot of still negatives in them, unfortunately without the notch coding, it was time to see if we could figure something out. According to one of our colleagues in AMIPA, who is our resident expert in all things film-related, there’s a polarization effect that happens with polyester based films that doesn’t happen with cellulose based films. So we found some instructions from the National Park Service on how to build a quick and easy film viewer with a polarizing filter that would allow us to do some quick checks. So that’s what we did today to celebrate Archives May Day.

We gathered our supplies and started cutting the mat board to size, the filtering film to size, and taping the pieces together. They’re not the prettiest things on earth, mat stock does not yield easily to a cutting blade, plus the craftiest of our bunch is Arlene and she failed scissors in kindergarten, but the end result mostly looked like what was in the NPS instructions.

And that’s when things went a bit awry. First of all it took us all a while to get the polarizing film oriented correctly. And then we were having problems seeing the interference patterns on our sample of polyester based film. But with a little help with from our AMIPA expert and carefully holding it up against one of our new, very bright task lamps, we finally saw the difference between the two. And we also decided that we need to keep a piece of polyester film on the side so we remember what it looks like since what we’re looking for is the absence of that look in the cellulose stock. We also learned that we should not look directly into our new, very bright task lamps since they’re, well, very bright.

That’s what we did for May Day. And we have an offer for you: we built three of these but we don’t need three. So we’re offering one of the ones we built (the prettiest one of the bunch) to the first archives, library, or museum in Alaska who contacts us and asks for it. Please use the contact link above and include your mailing address and institution name and we’ll get it mailed out to you.

Happy May Day!

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New in the Archives: April 2018

We kept busy in April, with the launch of our podcast, Archiving AK, as well as the 5th iteration of our annual Eating from the Archives potluck. Here’s what we did last month:

Collection description:

HMC-0370: Christine McClain papers; 1907-1992. 0.5 cubic foot addition. Articles and drafts of fiction stories of an Anchorage-area freelance journalist.

HMC-0429: Sam McClain papers; 1940-1994. 0.4 cubic foot addition. Photographs taken of trips around Alaska and elsewhere.

HMC-1287: Chugach Conference records. Originally part of the Larry Pearson papers, this section of the collection was separated out to be its own collection. Materials from a conference related to telecommunications policy and planning.

UAA-0131: UAA. Center for Information Technology records. Originally part of the Larry Pearson papers, this section of the collection was separated out as a University records series.

Chilkoot Challenge

A feast fit for the gold rush. Dishes entered into the Chilkoot Challenge.


HMC-0480: Matanuska Valley Bank records; 1947-1965. Records of a bank based in Palmer, Alaska.

HMC-0492: History of Sand Lake project records; 1950-1988. In 1988, a group of fourteen sixth grade students from Sand Lake and Chinook Schools combined to write a history of the Sand Lake neighborhood in Anchorage.

HMC-0507: Indivisible: stories of American community Alaskan fishing communities project records; 1999-2001. Records related to a documentary project on Alaskan fishing communities.

HMC-0923: Howard Culbertson family scrapbook; 1967. Scrapbook of postcards and tourism flyers from a family who traveled across Canada and Alaska.

Karl Bowersox

Karl Bowersox on in front of the radio office door on the deck of the USMS Boxer.

Alaska’s Digital Archives:

Images of Henry S. Kaiser Jr. Photographs taken by a man who was born in Fairbanks, spent time in the Seward Sanitorium due to a heart defect, and later worked as an educator with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

53 images from Dorothy and Grenold Collins. The papers of an Alaskan bush pilot, sportsman, and business owners.

41 images from McGlashan and Monsen family photographs. Photographs primarily taken in Naknek and Akutan.

53 images from Karl C. Bowersox papers. Photographs of a purser and radio operator aboard the USMS Boxer and USMS North Star.

158 recordings from Alaskan poet and storyteller Ruben Gaines, including many Beluga Bugle short mock radio news pieces and longer items from his Conversation Unlimited radio broadcast.

added metadata to 8 images from the papers of Leland A. Olson, a worker on the White Alice system.

The sheet music to: When the moon shines down in old Alaska then I’ll ask her to be mine. 1916.

Monsen family in Naknek, circa 1934-1935.


Our podcast, Archiving AK, is live! In our first episode the three archivists from Archives and Special Collections take turns interviewing each other. You can find the first episode here and follow us on SoundCloud.

We hosted the Chilkoot Challenge cooking competition and potluck on April 23. This year, our annual Eating From the Archives potluck featured dishes inspired by the Klondike Gold Rush. The twist: all of the dishes had to be made using only the ingredients found in the recommended grocery outfit for the Chilkoot Trail listed in a Montgomery Ward advertisement. This was also our first potluck that was also a cooking competition, complete with prizes.

Pick and Hammer shows from Ruth Schmidt papers, digitized with funding given to the Archives by the Schmidt estate.

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