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Communications systems

Archives & Special Collections has many archival collections related to the development of communications systems in Alaska. They are listed below in alphabetical order by creator. Follow the links to a more complete listing of the collection contents.

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1964 Alaska earthquake collections

1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill collections

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African American history in Alaska collections

Alaska before 1900

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The 1930s collections



Follow the links to collection descriptions and inventories. This list is not a comprehensive list of all collections with materials related to communications systems in Alaska. For example, many legislators' collections and collections related to journalism and broadcasting will include subject files with related documents. You can keyword search all of our collection descriptions and inventories by using the search box available on each of the pages below. Search terms may include: WAMCATS (Washington Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System), DEW (Distant Early Warning), BMEWS (Ballistic Missile Early Warning System), WACS (White Alice Communications system), Alascom, ACS (Alaska Communications System), the Signal Corps, telecommunications, and other related terms.

Alascom, Inc. White Alice Communications System (WACS) Boswell Bay Station records; 1955-1985. HMC-0001. This collection includes documentation—technical and otherwise—relating to the construction and operation of a White Alice site.

Bill Bacon photographs; 1940-1990. HMC-0991. Includes images related to the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line.

Red Boucher political papers; 1958-1995. HMC-0420. The collection includes several boxes of materials related to telecommunications.

Kay Brown papers; 1983-1996. HMC-0457. Contains some legislative reports related to telecommunications.

Chugach Conference records; 1989-1991. HMC-1287. Materials related to telecommunications policy and planning conferences held at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Marie and Ralph George papers; 1916-2004. HMC-0763. Mr. George worked for RCA at the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) site at Clear Air Force Base and the collection contains materials related to his work.

Bud Gilmore color slides; 1961. HMC-0738. Mr. Gilmore was a civilian employee at Clear Air Force Station. The images include several relating to data processing facilities.

Vincent E. Hagen photographs; 1941-1962. HMC-1067-AHS. Mr. Hagen served in the U.S. Army 971st Signal Service Company (Alaska Communications System). The photographs include images of laying cable and lines.

John Havelock papers; 1958-1984. HMC-0132. One box of Mr. Havelock's papers include subject files on Alascom and communications.

Hilary Hilscher Alaska Telecommunications History Project records and research files; 1939-2005. HMC-0859. The collection consists of Hilary Hilscher's research materials concerning the history of telecommunications in Alaska and records of the Alaska Telecommunications History Project.

James B. Hoxie photograph album; 1944-1945. HMC-0713. Mr. Hoxie was a serviceman assigned to the Alaska Communications System project late during World War II.

Howard and Mabel Jonish papers; 1910-1989. HMC-0428. Mr. Jonish was a construction engineer with the U.S. Army Engineer District, Alaska, from 1944 to 1965. The collection includes photographs relating to construction of sites at Driftwood Bay (1958-1959), Sparrevohn (1957-1958), and Clear (1959).

Christine M. McClain papers; 1907-1992. HMC-0370. Mrs. McClain worked for the Alaska Communications System from the World War II period through 1971. She continued to write about ACS and telecommunications as a freelance journalist in later years.

William F. McDowell papers; 1961-1972. HMC-1212. William F. McDowell was a civil service engineer at Elmendorf Air Force Base from the late 1950s into the 1970s and collected images relating to White Alice sites.

Carleton E. Miller letters; 1955-1956. HMC-0733. Mr. Miller came to Alaska in 1955 as a radician (radio technician) to work on the set-up and testing of White Alice Communications System (WACS) sites as a contractor for Western Electric Corporation. The collection consists of letters to his wife detailing his daily activities.

Leland A. Olson papers; 1955-1961. HMC-1064. Mr. Olson worked as a surveyor for the White Alice project, primarily on-site selection and surveying. His collection includes slides documenting several White Alice sites throughout Alaska and Canada.

Walter Parker papers; circa 1940-2014. HMC-1180. Walter (Walt) Parker chaired the Alaska Telecommunications Task Force and also founded Parker and Associates Inc., which primarily consulted on transportation and telecommunication issues. His papers include records related to his involvement in Alaska telecommunications. 

Larry Pearson papers; 1977-1993. HMC-0479. Pearson served as a special consultant to the Alaska House Special Committee on Telecommunications under chairman H.A. "Red" Boucher from 1985 to 1989. Pearson also directed the Center for Information Technology at the University of Alaska Anchorage from 1990 to 1992, hosting the Chugach Conferences on telecommunications issues in Alaska in 1989, 1990, and 1991.

Earl and Frieda Plumb papers; 1927-1964. hmc-1124. Earl Plumb workd as radio operator for Star Airlines and during World War II worked for the FCC Radion Intelligence Division. The collection includes photographs of the Anchorage radio monitoring station and radio room.

Philip and Retta Reed papers; 1907-1981. HMC-0401. Mr. Reed worked at various Alaska Communications System sites including Noorvik (1921-1923), Iditarod (1923-1925), Fairbanks (1925-1927), Seward (1927-1928), Anchorage (1936-1939, 1943-1945).

Arthur O. Trosvik papers; 1939-1953. HMC-0503. Many of the photographs concern signal corps crews erecting telephone poles and stringing wires along the Alaska Railroad.

U.S. Air Force. White Alice Communications System plan of operations, Cathedral and Rabbit Creek site plans; 1956-1961. HMC-0251.A two-volume network plan of operations and as-built plans for the Cathedral and Rabbit Creek sites.

Betzi and Lyman Woodman papers; 1929-1999. HMC-0353. The research files from the Woodmans, journalists and historians, contain subject files relating to communications in Alaska.

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