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Gold rush collections.  

Archives & Special Collections has many archival collections that relate to the history of gold rushes in Alaska and the Klondike. In alphabetical order by creator. Follow the links to a more complete listing of the collection contents
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Gold Rush Collections

Follow the links to collection descriptions and inventories of collections relating to the history of gold rushes in Alaska from 1849-1914 and in the Klondike from 1897-1898. You can keyword search all of our collection descriptions and inventories by using the search box available on each of the pages below.

For other archival collections relating to the Alska and Yukon gold rushes, see the Research Guide to Miners and Mining Collections.

Robert Bush letter; 1898HMC-0891.  Robert Bush was a surveyor from Seattle who was involved in gold mining at Sunrise on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, in 1898.  The letter was written by Bush to his mother and contains a description of his mining activities.

Jennie M. Cornell memorabilia; 1894-1985.  HMC-0729.  This collection consists of Alaska memorabilia collected by Jennie Cornell (1908-1991) and includes items relating to the Alaska gold rush  such as original maps, clippings of photographs, articles, and advertisements.

Frank P. Curtis letters; 1900-1902.  HMC-0799.  Frank P. Curtis was from Auburn, New York and participated in the Alaska gold rush of 1898.  He had a gold claim and mine at King Solomon Hill near Dawson, Yukon Territory, Canada.  The collection consists of three handwritten letters and two postmarked envelopes that Curtis wrote to his wife while in the Yukon.

Henry Clement Darrah letter and photograph; 1898, 1928. HMC-1119. Letter written by a gold rush prospector in Alaska.

Frederick John Date papers; 1833-1976.  HMC-0379.  Fred Date (d. 1956) moved to the Valdez area in Alaska in 1898 and worked as a prospector. He later was employed by the Alaska Road Commission and the Alaska Railroad.  Among other papers, Date's collection contains photograph albums documenting Valdez and the Copper River country during the period 1899-1905, including gold mining activities.

Harry and Ruth Dobson papers; 1906-1973HMC-0100.  Harry Dobson (1861-1953) came to Alaska in 1894 to prospect for gold on the Seward Peninsula around Nome and Teller. He was a successful miner and established and worked a number of claims in the Nome area, including several along Budd Creek.  The collections contains letters from Dobson to his wife concerning his mining activities, legal documents concerning his mining claims, maps of Dobson Placer, and photographs of Alaska showing mining activities, people and scenery, among other papers. 

Charles O. Farciot papers and photographs; 1858-1986HMC-0463.  Charles O. Farciot (b. 1840) was an inventor, steamship engineer, and photographer who came to Alaska in 1882 with a gold prospecting party from Arizona led by Ed Schieffelin. He later remained in Alaska working as a steamship engineer on the Yukon River until at least 1886.  The collection consists of copied papers and photographs of Farciot, including historical articles concerning the Schieffelin prospecting trip and photographs of Alaska, among other items. 

Ruben Gaines papers; 1952-1983.  HMC-0110.  Ruben Gaines (1912-1994) is best known for his daily radio program, “Conversations Unlimited,” in which he presented readings of his stories about life in Alaska.  He was also a poet who served as Alaska State Poet Laureate from 1973-1978.  His papers include several photos of the gold rush era, including scenes from the Valdez-Fairbanks Trail and the Klondike.

Edwin F. Glenn papers; 1889-1917.  HMC-0116.  Edwin F. Glenn (1857-1926) commanded exploratory expeditions to the Cook Inlet area of Alaska in 1898 and 1899.  His papers contain, among other things, U.S. Army. Adjutant General’s Office records relating to the Alaska Relief Expedition to provide assistance to destitute gold miners from 1897-1902.

George Harper’s Blacks in Alaska History Project records; 1953-2004.  HMC-0681.  George T. Harper (1930-2004) founded the Blacks in Alaska History Project in 1995 to pursue information and historical photographs documenting the presence and contributions of African Americans in Alaska, maintain the resulting collection, and create exhibits and lectures publicizing these historical resources.  The project contains his research material on blacks who participated in the Alaska gold rush, among many other subjects.

Richard Tighe Harris family papers; 1853-1969HMC-0131.  Richard Tighe Harris (1831-1907) began prospecting for gold in southeast Alaska in 1879, and in 1880, he and Joe Juneau discovered gold on the Silver Bow Basin in the vicinity of present-day Juneau.  Harris operated his mines there until 1885.  This large collection contains, among many other materials, legal, mining and financial records of Harris's prospecting activities especially for the period of 1879-1885.

Eric A. Hegg photographs; 1898-1905. HMC-0513.  Eric A. Hegg was a Swedish-born photographer who joined the gold rush to Alaska and the Yukon territories in 1897.  He set up studios in Dyea, Skagway, Dawson, and Nome, and along with his partner Per Larss, documented miners and mining activities in each area.  This collection includes photographs of the Klondike during the 1898 gold rush and the Nome gold rush at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Art Hobson photograph album; circa 1909-1911. HMC-1088.  Art Hobson was a fireman on a locomotive during the construction of the Copper River and Northwestern Railway. The photographs in this collection depict the railroad’s employees, locomotives, tunnels, tracks, and bridges, sled dogs, steamboats, and workers' tent camps. 

Klondike gold rush glass lantern slides; 1898. EPH-0050.  This ephemera collection contains two glass lantern slides depicting a pack train in the Klondike and men towing provisions on the Dyea River.

John B. Lewis photograph album; 1901-1903.  HMC-0769.  The collection consists of a Nome gold rush-era photograph album that was owned by John B. Lewis (1900-1978). The photographs depict views of Nome, including soldiers and buildings at Fort Davis, beach gold mines, tent camps, street scenes, and Inupiat peoples and an Inupiat trading and whaling camp at Nome, among other subject.

Jane Macdonald diary copies; 1900-1904. HMC-1118-AHS. Copies of trip diaries written by a gold prospector in Ophir and Council.

Mrs. John F. Mercer Nome trip scrapbook; 1898-1904HMC-0486.  Mr. and Mrs. John F. Mercer of Helena, Montana traveled to Nome, Alaska in 1900.  John F. Mercer, an officer in the First Montana regiment, prospected for gold on Candle Creek.  This scrapbook documents the Mercer's time in Nome from 1900-1901.  Items from the scrapbook include documents relating to social events such as the First Stampede of Nome Camp Number 9 of the Arctic Brotherhood, calling cards, dance cards, ribbons, newspaper clippings, and photographs.

George and Julia Musgrave papers; 1898-1903.  HMC-0184. George and Julia Musgrave came to the Yukon Territory in 1897 or 1898 to prospect for gold. After several largely unsuccessful prospecting attempts, they moved to Dawson in 1899 where George Musgrave set up a store. In 1901, the store burned down and in 1903 the Musgraves left the Yukon Territory and moved to San Francisco.  Their collection contains letters describing life in Dawson and their prospecting attempts, as well as newspapers and newspaper clippings regarding miners, mining, and general events of Dawson and the Yukon Territory.

Grace Carr Raymenton photographs; circa 1901-1902.  HMC-1059.  Grace Carr Raymenton (d. 1970) came to Dawson City in the Yukon Territory in 1899 to work as a stenographer.  The photographs depict her time living in the Yukon and were taken by George Gordon Cantwell (1871-1948) of Dawson and Beverly Bennett Dobbs (1868-1937) of Nome.  Subjects include views of Dawson, settlements on the Klondike River, and Nome, Alaska, as well as portraits of Sami people in Nome, mining and miners in the Yukon, steamships, and Grace’s friends and family in Dawson and Nome.

Lynn Smith papers; 1926-1933HMC-0226.  Lynn Smith (1871-1933) came to Dawson via White Pass in 1898 to prospect for gold and later prospected in Rampart, Fairbanks, Hot Springs, Tanana, Ruby, and Iditarod, operating a jewelry business in each camp to finance his prospecting. The collection contains Smith's reminiscences ofhis days as a prospector, among other papers.

Stereoview collection; circa 1895-1905. EPH-0100.  This collection contains stereoview photographs of miners crossing Chilkoot Pass and mining activities in the Yukon and Nome, circa 1898-1901.

Helene Stoll photographs; 1899-1900.  HMC-0452.  Some of the photographs in this collection depict Dawson in the Yukon Territory in 1899-1900 during the gold rush.

David and Jenny Strandberg papers; 1897-1910.  HMC-0357.  David Strandberg (1875-1949) was a miner who came to Alaska and the Yukon in 1895 to prospect for gold and later was president of the mining company Strandberg and Sons, Inc..  He was married to Jenny Johanson Strandberg (1884-1951).  Their papers contain, among many other items, several photographs of mining operations in and around Dawson, Yukon Territory, during the Klondike gold rush and drift and hydraulic mining operations on Ester Creek from circa 1905-1910.

Benjamin B. Talley papers; 1925-2002.  HMC-0241.  Benjamin B. Talley (1903-1998) was an engineer and officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who served in Alaska during the 1940s and elsewhere.  His collection contains, among many other items, an album of photographs of the Klondike gold rush from circa 1898-1908.

Bartlett L. Thane family letters; 1911-1915.  HMC-0913.  Bartlett Lee Thane (d. 1927) first came to Alaska in 1897 to work at the Sumdum Chief Mine south of Juneau. He was later superintendent of the Eagle River Mining Company (1903-1910), before moving on to head the Alaska-Gastineau Mining Company.  The collection consists of letters written by his family in Juneau from 1911-1915.

Archie Templeton letters; 1898-1906.  HMC-1016-AHS.  Archie Templeton was a resident of Milbank, South Dakota who traveled to Alaska in 1898.  The collection consists of letters primarily written by Templeton to his wife and daughter while he was traveling in and to Alaska.

Joseph Turnidge letter; 1932HMC-0248.  Joseph Turnidge came to Alaska from Oregon in 1899 and worked as a gold miner in the Atlin District near the Alaskan-Canadian border for seven months.  The letter contains his reminiscences about his adventures as a miner in Alaska, as well as  his trip over the Chilkoot Pass.

U.S. Army, Fort Davis quartermaster and paymaster records; 1902-1906HMC-0696.  Fort Davis was a U. S. Army post created in 1900 in Nome for the protection of gold miners. The post was moved outside of Nome in 1919, and closed in 1921. This collection consists of copied correspondence, forms, and financial records kept by First Lieutenant Jennings B. Wilson of the 8th Infantry Division.

Yukon Territory negatives; 1908.  HMC-0394.  Glass-plate and nitrate negatives taken by an unidentified photographer in and around Dawson, Yukon Territory in 1908.  Includes photographs of gold dredges and miners.

      

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