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Railroad archival collections

Archives & Special Collections has many archival collections relating to railroads in Alaska, 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



Fairbanks, Alaska

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 

Homer, Alaska

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 

Railroad collections

Follow the links to collection descriptions and inventories for collections relating to railroads in Alaska. You can keyword search all of our collection descriptions and inventories by using the search box available at the top of each page.

Alaska-Pacific Consolidated Mining Company records; 1885-1989.  HMC-0023.  The Alaska-Pacific Consolidated Mining Company ran Independence Mine at Hatcher Pass and other gold mines in the Willow Creek Mining District. Some of their records consist of the Alaska Railroad, Pacific Railway Supply Co. and Railway Express Agency subject files and shipping records of the mining company’s supplies on the Alaska Railway.

Lelon E. Alexander papers; 1940-1997, bulk 1942-1957. HMC-1231. Photographs of a soldier with the 714th Railway Operating Battalion, which operated the Alaska Railroad from 1943 to 1945.

Joseph J. Burgess photographs; circa 1943-1945. HMC-1230. Photographs of a lieutenant with the 714th Railway Operating Battalion, which operated the Alaska Railroad from 1943 to 1945.

Commonwealth North records; 1979-2007.  HMC-0992.  Commonwealth North (CWN) acts as a non-partisan group funded by individual memberships and private sector funds. There are CWN research materials, report committee files and publication files on the railroad, including The New Alaska Railroad and The Alaska Railroad and its Future.

Katharine Crittenden papers; 1978-2005. HMC-1075. Correspondence and research files for Crittenden’s book, Get Mears!, a biography of Colonel Frederick Mears, principal engineer of the Alaska Railroad.

Frederick John Date papers; 1833- 1976.  HMC-0379.  This collection consists of papers, publications, photographs, and artifacts relating to Fred Date's life and activities in Alaska. There is an Alaska Railroad booklet, which contains employee work rules, a Corps of Engineers field manual, and a mining law manual.

Charles S. Harvard papers; 1901-1975.  HMC-0425.  The collection includes a ledger and field books containing Harvard’s railroad and tide notes, and his publications relating to railroad construction, correspondence with Alaska Railroad employers, and maps that depict top-rail profiles and grade changes of Alaska Railroad lines.

Art Hobson photograph album; 1909-1911. HMC-1088. Photographs of the Copper River and Northwestern Railway from a fireman who worked on the railroad.

Terry Martin papers; 1962-1998.  HMC-0169.  Terry Martin was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives from 1978 through 1998, and founded the Boys Clubs of Alaska and also served as its Executive Director. His papers include Alaska Railroad Corporation correspondence, bill files, and reports.

Frederick Mears family papers, 1878-1941.  HMC-1063.  Colonel Frederick Mears was principal engineer of the Alaska Railroad. The papers include clippings regarding Mears’ work on the railroad and photographs of the construction of the Alaska Railroad.

Charles Lee Nelson memoir; 1930-1955. HMC-1391. Charles Lee Nelson moved to Alaska in 1930 for a job with the Alaska Railroad. His wife Rose joined him in Broad Pass in fall 1930. He moved to Palmer Station in 1942 and retired in 1955.

Earl Plumb family papers; 1927-1964. HMC-1124. Papers documenting Alaskan residents’ life in McKinley Park, Nenana and Anchorage. Earl Plumb worked for the railroad, rivers steamers on the Tanana, and as a radio operator.

Potter Section House records; 1980, 1986.  HMC-0204.  The Potter Section House was built in 1929 on Potter Creek at mile 100.6 on the Alaska Railroad to house section foreman and the crew. The collection consists of a copy of a report recommending the preservation and reuse of the Potter Section House, written by the Municipal Historic Landmarks Preservation Committee. There is also a Potter Section House "Site Development Plan" and two site maps created by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation. 

Jerome F. Sheldon papers; 1992-1995.  HMC-0220.  Jerome Sheldon worked as a public relations officer for the Alaska Railroad. In this collection are Railroad Alaska correspondence, reports, pamphlets, and a share certificate. There is also Railway development correspondence, as well as articles, pamphlets, and photographs.

Helen Stevens papers; 1897-1957. HMC-0761. Papers and photographs of a woman who worked as a reporter for the Alaska Railroad.

Allison E. Stoars papers; 1937-1963.  HMC-0757.  Allison E. Stoars was from Salem, Oregon. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1939 and served in the Corps of Engineers during World War II. There are photographs of soldiers of the 4th Infantry Regiment, at the Yakutat and Southern Railroad, including photographs of locomotives and cars.

Harold Strandberg papers; 1923-1985.  HMC-237.  Harold Strandberg was the Vice President and Secretary of Strandberg and Sons, Inc. a mining corporation, and served as the Anchorage Port Commissioner. Among the records are an application for withdrawal by the Alaskan Railroad, dated 1962, and Alaska Railroad Land leasing, also from 1962.

A. W. Swanitz letters; 1909-1910.  HMC-0240.  One letter relating to the construction of the Alaska Northern Railway.

Benjamin B. Talley papers; 1925-2002.  HMC-0241.  Benjamin Talley was an officer in the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, receiving his commission in 1926. Talley kept daily logs, written during the period in which he was in charge of construction in Yakutat (October to December 1940) and while he was the Officer-in-Charge of Alaskan Construction (January 1941 to June 1943). His daily logs often discuss railroad construction and inspections.

Walter Todd diaries; 1915-1918.  HMC-0998.  Walter Todd worked as a surveyor for the Alaska Engineering Commission's Alaska railroad project from 1915 to 1918, primarily at the Potter Creek area south through Portage Valley. He kept daily diaries, writing about the construction of the Alaska Railroad, socializing, and the weather.

United States. Department of The Interior. Alaska Railroad. War records; 1943-1945.  HMC-0275.  The Alaska Railroad was used by the army to transport military personnel, supplies, and construction materials between Seward, Whittier, Anchorage, and Fairbanks. The collection consists of a xerographic copy of a report on the activities. There is also a set of 15 negatives and contact prints made from the photographs in the report.

Elmer Williams photographs; 1939-1956.  HMC-0569.  Elmer Williams was a locomotive engineer with the Alaska Railroad from 1946 to 1951. The majority of the photographs are of Elmer Williams and his family; however there are photographs of railroad personnel, scenes along the Alaskan Railroad, train locomotives, and railway depots.





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3211 Providence Drive
Anchorage AK 99508