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Railroads in Alaska primary sources

This guide lists collections of publicly accessible primary source material related to railroads in Alaska.

Railroads in Alaska

This guide contains collections of primary source material relating to railroads in Alaska, held by archives, libraries, and museums across the state. The guide is divided into pages for different railroads, including the Alaska Railroad, the Copper River and Northwestern Railway, and the White Pass and Yukon Railroad. This guide is not comprehensive and may not include every collection containing primary source material relating to railroads in Alaska.

Click on the linked collection names for more detailed collection descriptions. Not every collection has a detailed description online, and it may be necessary to contact the institution that owns a collection for more information.

Selected items related to railroads in Alaska from many of the institutions represented in this guide have been digitized and added to Alaska's Digital Archives. You can use the search box at the top right of the homepage to search for these materials.

If you represent an institution that holds primary source materials related to railroads in Alaska and would like to see them included in this guide, please contact the UAA/APU Consortium Library Archives and Special Collections.  

Copper River and Northwestern Railway collections

Alaska State Library Historical Collections

Copper River and Northwestern Railway. MS0004-15-06. [undescribed]

George Danner Map Collection; 1906-1939. MS 262. Engineering maps of railroads and proposed railroads in Alaska, including the Copper River and Northwestern Railway.

Arthur Steen Lyon Photographs Collection; 1905-1906. PCA 299. Surveying crew on the Copper River Railroad, 1905-06.

Railroads in Alaska and Yukon Territory Photograph Collection; 1897-1950. PCA 275. Photographs of railroads which have operated or are operating in Alaska and Yukon Territory.

Views of Copper River & Northwestern Railway, copper mining, Cordova, Chitina, McCarthy; 1920s-1930s. PCA 210.  Views of Cordova, Chitina and McCarthy in the late 1920's. There are also views of the Copper River and Northwestern Railroad trains and crews, bridges, tunnels, copper mining, cabins, sleds and sled dogs and community activities.

Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center Archives

Copper River & Northwestern Railway Album; 1909-1911. B2012.028. Photograph album of containing images of the construction of the Copper River & Northwestern Railway.

Copper River & Northwestern Railway Shipping Receipts; 1912-1918. B2009.055. The collection consists of duplicates of bills of lading and waybills for freight and baggage carried by Copper River & Northwestern Railway from 1912-1918.

Crary-Henderson Collection; circa 1885-1930. B1962.001, B1962.001A. The collections contains photographs of railway operations in the Copper River Valley.

John Urban Collection; circa 1897-1940s. B1964.001. Contains photographs of the construction and operations of the Alaska Railroad and the Copper River & Northwestern Railroad.

UAA/APU Consortium Library Archives and Special Collections

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

University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska and Polar Regions Collections and Archives Historical Manuscript Collections

For more detailed collection descriptions, please visit StarArchives, the catalog for archival collections at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and search for the collections using the search box on the main page.

Copper River Railroad and Southeast Alaska Album, 1909-1915. The collection consists of a photograph album with 71 color postcards and black and white photographs. Images in this collection cover areas of Alaska from Nome to Skagway, up the White Pass and Yukon Railroad to Whitehorse and the Copper River Railroad.

Frank H. May Photographs, ca. 1904-ca.1910. USUAFV6-825. Subjects include city scenes, railroads and railroad construction (the Copper River and Northwestern Railway and the Seward Peninsula Railroad), mines and scenery. Frank H. May was a railroad surveyor in Alaska and Oregon.

John McPhee photographs, 1908-1937. The John McPhee Photographs consist of images documenting construction of the Copper River and Northwestern Railway, as well as images of John McPhee, McPhee's cabin, Knight's Roadhouse, and Leonhard Seppala. Also found in the collection are a list of McPhee's publications and a kennel club membership card.

Meals Family Papers. 1897-1971. The Meals Family Papers consist of business records and correspondence, personal correspondence, financial records, photographs, field notes, survey records and a transcripted interview. Andrew Jackson Meals arrived in Valdez, Alaska, with his wife Johanna and their children, in 1903. A.J. Meals owned mining claims in Chistochina, worked as a U.S. Deputy Surveyor, and worked for the Copper River and Northwestern Railroad.


Institute of Museum and Library Services

This guide is supported in whole or in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Alaska State Library.