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Anchorage history archival collections

Archives & Special Collections has many archival collections relating to the history of Anchorage, listed below by topic and in alphabetical order by creator. Follow the links to a more complete listing of the collection contents.

Subject Guides

1930s collections

1964 Alaska earthquake 

1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill


African American history in Alaska

Alaska before 1900

Alaska Constitutional Convention and statehood

Alaska Highway construction

Alaska Native collections

Alaska state legislators and legislation 

Alaskan leadership 

Anchorage charter commissions

Anchorage history 

Anchorage Winter Olympics bids



Archives in Alaska

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Arctic research


Birding and bird conservation

Businesses, clubs, and organizations

Canol Pipeline 

Capital move 

Christianity in Alaska

Cold War era (1945-1992) 

Communications systems

Cooking and nutrition

Creative writing



Fine arts

Fishing, fisheries, and canneries

Fur Rendezvous

Fur trading, trapping, and farming

Gardening and botany

Geography and environmental studies

Geology related

Gold rush

Governors of Alaska

Greenspace collections

Hatcher Pass area 

Hope and Sunrise, Alaska 

Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race


Jesse Lee Home

Journalism and broadcasting 



LGBT related collections

Mapping and surveying 

Matanuska Colony 

Medicine and health 

Miners and mining collections

Natural disasters

Non-English language collections


Performing arts

Permanent Fund Dividend

Petroleum and natural gas



Senior Citizen issues and advocacy

Seward, Alaska

Skiing and mountaineering


Student newspapers, Anchorage Community College and University of Alaska Anchorage

Tourism in Alaska

United States. Air Force

United States. Coast Guard 

Women’s organizations and women’s issues

World War II in Alaska 

Anchorage History Collections

This research guide covers collections documenting the history of Anchorage.

Follow the links to collection descriptions and inventories. You can keyword search all of our collection descriptions and inventories by using the search box available on each of the pages below.

Early Cook Inlet History

Nikefor Alexan stories and photographs; 1938-circa 1957 HMC-0039.  Stories by a Tyonek village leader on the history and folklore of the Native people of Tyonek and the Cook Inlet/Knik region of Alaska.

Edwin F. Glenn papers; 1889-1917.  HMC-0116. Journal, photographs, and other papers of the U.S. Army officer in charge of explorations in southcentral Alaska in 1898 and 1899.  Includes photographs Glenn took of early Cook Inlet communities and people, including Alaska Natives.


Anchorage Before World War II

Anchorage Pioneers oral history project transcripts; 1992-1995.  HMC-0466.  Oral history interviews conducted with early Anchorage citizens who lived in the city before 1940 or came directly after World War II.

Frederick Mears family papers; 1878-1941.  HMC-1063.  Papers and photographs Frederick Mears, principal engineer for the Alaska Railroad, and his family.  Mears was appointed to the Alaska Engineering Commission by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1914 and was responsible for moving Anchorage’s early tent city on Ship Creek and transforming the town.

Herb McKinney Spenard map; circa 1950.  HMC-0529.  Copy of a hand-drawn map showing the Spenard area of Anchorage in the 1930s and 1940s.

Pioneers of Alaska, Igloo No. 15 records; 1910-1988.  HMC-0202.  Records of the local Anchorage branch of a fraternal organization for pioneers in Alaska. 

Potter Section House reports and plans; 1980-1986.  HMC-0204.  Maps and reports relating to the preservation of the Potter Section House, built in 1929 on Potter Creek by the Alaska Railroad. 

Marie Silverman clippings and photographs; 1906-1996.  HMC-0778-APU.  Photographs and publications documenting Anchorage’s early years and other subjects, collected by Anchorage pioneer and long-time employee of the Anchorage Times.

Walter Todd diaries; 1915-1918.  HMC-0988.  Daily diaries written by a surveyor working on the construction of the Alaska Railroad in the Anchorage and Turnagain Arm areas.


1964 Alaska Earthquake in Anchorage

See the Research Guide to 1964 Alaska Earthquake Collections at:


Anchorage and the Military

For other collections relating specifically to the military presence in Anchorage during World War II, see the Research Guide to World War II in Alaska Collections at:

Howard L. and Willoughby Filer papers; 1937-1985.  HMC-0476.  Howard Filer assisted in the construction of Fort Richardson in Anchorage.  His correspondence discusses his work and life in Anchorage from 1940-1941.

Peter R. and Beulah Marrs Parisi papers; 1938-1995.  HMC-0445.  Beulah Marrs Parisi lived in Anchorage during World War II and was a volunteer with the United Services Organization (USO).

Norma M. Purdy papers; 1951-1962.  HMC-1028-AHS.  Correspondence, photographs, and memorabilia of a U.A. Air Force nurse who was stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage from 1952-1954.

United States Air Force White Alice Communications System records for Cathedral and Rabbit Creek sites; 1956-1991.  HMC-0251. The White Alice Communications System (WACS) was a telecommunication system developed in Alaska during the Cold War to connect Air Force sites in Alaska.  This collection contains operation plans and site drawings for the Rabbit Creek site outside of Anchorage.

United States Army Fort Richardson history; 1944.  HMC-0261.  A narrative history of Fort Richardson Army Base, covering the period of the early plans for the fort through 1944. 


Anchorage Community & Cultural History

Anchorage Chamber of Commerce records; 1946-2003.  HMC-0048.  Records of an organization whose purpose is to promote and enhance business and community services in Anchorage.

Anchorage Civic Opera Association records; 1962-1984.  HMC-0049.  Records of an organization dedicated to bringing opera to Anchorage.

Anchorage Concert Association records; 1947-2008.  HMC-0881.  Records of an organization founded to bring classical performing artists to Anchorage.

Anchorage Film Society records; 1953-1976.  HMC-0052.  Records of an organization which brought motion picture films to Anchorage. 

Anchorage Garden Club records; 1942-2003.  HMC-0449Records of a civic organization dedicated to gardening in Anchorage.

Anchorage Youth Symphony records; 1966-2008.  HMC-1094.  Records of a youth symphony composed of high school students in Anchorage.

Anchorage Symphony Orchestra records; 1953-1995.  HMC-0056.  Records of Anchorage’s local symphony orchestra, founded in 1946.

British Women’s Club of Anchorage records; 1965-1983.  HMC-1093.  Records of a civic and social organization in Anchorage that was open to women from British Commonwealth countries or of Commonwealth descent.

Federation of Community Councils of Anchorage records; 1973-2004.  HMC-0728.  Records related to the organization and activities of the group supporting the neighborhood community councils of Anchorage.

Greater Anchorage, Inc. Fur Rendezvous records; 1938-2005.  HMC-0121.  Records of the organization responsible for the annual Fur Rendezvous (now known as Fur Rondy) festival in Anchorage.

History of Sand Lake Project records; 1988.  HMC-0492.  Oral history interviews with pioneers who lived in the Sand Lake area of Anchorage.


Recreation in Anchorage

Anchorage Organizing Committee Olympics records; 1976-1990.  HMC-1002.  Records of Anchorage’s bids to host the Winter Olympics in 1992, 1994, and 1998.

Anchorage Ski Club records; 1937-1966.  HMC-0055.  Records of an organization founded to support skiing in Anchorage.  Includes photographs, newsletters, administrative records, and records of the club’s activities.

Russ Dow papers; 1917-1992.  HMC-0396.  Russ Dow and his wife, Rusty, lived in Anchorage from 1936-1945.  Russ worked as a bulldozer operator at Fort Richardson and as a ski instructor for the U.S. Army, among other occupations.

Karl Eid papers; 1937-2003.  HMC-0423.  Karl Eid was a master pastry chef and Olympic class ski jumper who taught ski jumping in Anchorage.  The Karl Eid Ski Jumping Complex at Hilltop Ski Area is named after him.

National Ski Patrol. Alaska Division records; 1960-1997.  HMC-0411. Records of the Alaska chapter of the National Ski Patrol system, covering the activities, events, testing, training, and other records of the Southcentral section of the patrol, including Anchorage.


People of Anchorage

Atwood family papers; 1906-2003.  HMC-0989.  Business, professional, civic, and personal papers of the Atwood family, long-time Anchorage residents who owned and managed the Anchorage Times newspaper from 1935-1989.

Ramona Barnes papers; circa 1980-2000.  HMC-0502.  Ramona Barnes (1938-2003) served for 20 years as representative in the Alaska legislature for East Anchorage.  She holds the record for the longest-serving woman legislator in Alaska history.

Kay Brown papers; 1983-1996.  HMC-0457.  Kay Brown served in many positions in the Alaska state government, including as a member of the House of Representatives for Anchorage from 1986-1996. 

Edwin G. Beu, Jr. Alaska home movie and camera; 1958-1959.  HMC-0677.  Home movie production created by an Anchorage resident that documents Anchorage in 1958-1959. 

Russ Dow papers; 1917-1992.  HMC-0396.  Russ Dow and his wife, Rusty, lived in Anchorage from 1936-1945.  Russ worked as a bulldozer operator at Fort Richardson and as a ski instructor for the U.S. Army, among other occupations.

Rusty Dow papers; circa 1910-1989.  HMC-0397.  Rusty Dow moved to Anchorage in 1939 with her husband, Russ.  During World War II, she worked as a driver at Fort Richardson and later operated a shopping service in Anchorage.  Her papers include diaries, journals, correspondence, and photographs documenting her life, including her time in Anchorage.

Harry W. and Norma J. Hoyt family papers; 1908-1989.  HMC-0988.  Correspondence and photographs relating to life in Anchorage in the 1930s from a schoolteacher and owner of a car dealership in Anchorage.

Johanson-Erickson family papers; 1887-1971. HMC-0356.  Papers of a mining family who lived in Anchorage and ran a mine on Crow Creek in Girdwood from 1921 until the 1970s.

Fletcher Miller papers; 1928-2002.  HMC-1000.  Papers of a beekeeper in Anchorage who co-founded the Cook Inlet Beekeepers Association (CIBA) and Alaska State Beekeeping Association.

Christine M. McClain papers; 1907-1992.  HMC-0370.  Papers, writings, and photographs of an Anchorage-area freelance journalist.

Sleeper family papers and photographs; circa 1922-1984. HMC-1092.  Papers and photographs of the family of a U.S. Public Health Service employee who worked with the Alaska Insect Control Project in Anchorage.  Includes many papers and photographs documenting Anchorage circa 1949-1954. 

Catherine Stadem papers; 1927-2006.  HMC-0879.  Papers of an Anchorage journalist and theater critic who wrote a history of theater in Anchorage.

Arliss Sturgulewski papers; 1974-1997.  HMC-0467.  Papers of an Alaskan senator, gubernatorial candidate, and member of the Greater Anchorage Area Planning Commission, Anchorage Charter Commission, and Anchorage Municipal Assembly.

Ivan and Oro Stewart papers; circa 1961-1998.  HMC-0990.  Personal papers of the Stewarts, who moved to Anchorage in 1942 and opened Stewart’s Photo Shop in 1943.

Charles Sawyer Wilson papers; 1922-1985.  HMC-0416.  Charles S. Wilson worked as an entomologist in Anchorage, supervising mosquito control efforts for the U.S. Public Health Service and Fort Richardson. 

Subject Guide

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3211 Providence Drive
Anchorage AK 99508