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22 August 2018

CGS Library Collections: Alaska

A five-volume set of Alaska Pioneer biographies
Second in an occasional series exploring the CGS Library holdings.

To be honest, I did not expect to find any books for the state of Alaska. Imagine my delight when I was directed to a bottom shelf in the “California Room” which used to house the Dorman Collection exclusively. There I found eleven books on Alaska – Eureka!

You may find family gold in this source at the CGS library
Our collection includes a five-book series by Ed Ferrell titled Biographies of Alaska-Yukon Pioneers 1850-1950 (published by Heritage Books in 1994-2004). The set was donated by Cathy C. Nielsen. Each book consists of a series of biographies of the men who caught gold fever.  Most run between half a page to two pages.

Continuing the gold theme, we have a paperback book Old Gold Historical Vignettes of Juneau, Alaska compiled by R.N. DeArmond in 1985. Much of this book covers background information about the town, its mining history and businesses, and old buildings. Chapter six is Historic Characters so this is where you might find some family gold.
Chapter 5 is all about Alaska businesses
Tewkesbury’s Who’s Who in Alaska and Alaska Business Index is a combination business directory and collection of personal biographies written by two Tewkesbury brothers David and William in 1947. This little orange-cover book has over 600 biographies and over 200 pages of ads, photos, drawings and information about Alaska’s businesses. On the back inside cover, there’s a warning “Driving to Alaska ….? Don’t Forget a Shovel!” It explains, “Whatever your reason for going to Alaska … your trip over the Alaska Highway will require unusual advance preparations.” My family drove to Alaska in 1964 to visit my sister at the University in Fairbanks. This was before the “highway” had been paved. Next time you see me ask me about our encounter with a mother moose and her two calves.
1947 ad for Alaska Airlines in
the Tewkesbury book

This is my dad, James E. Pattillo, with the set of
moose antlers a Denali park ranger gave him
when my family vacationed in Alaska in 1964

Our collection also includes Vital Records of Alaska & Yukon 1898-1922 (Marriage, Death, Birth, Divorce, Anniversary & Christening) from the Douglas Island Newspaper, compiled by Betty J. Miller in 1991. There is a companion book with funeral records for Juneau, Alaska.

To find out about the rest of our Alaska collection you’ll need to come into the library. 

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

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