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Military in Alaska primary source collections

This guide consists of publicly available collections of primary source material held by Alaskan archives, libraries, and museums, which deal with military activities in Alaska.

Military in Alaska

This guide consists of collections of primary source material held by Alaskan archives, libraries, and museums, which deal with military activities in Alaska. The guide is divided into three sections, based on the time period that the collections document: Pre World War II, World War II, and Post World War II. You can navigate between these sections using the menu on the left-hand side of the page. This guide is an overview of collections containing significant amounts of material relating to the military in Alaska and is not meant to be comprehensive or include every collection containing material related to the topic.

Click on the linked collection names for more detailed descriptions of the collections. Not every collection listed has a description online. For more information about a collection, please contact the institution that owns the collection.

Selected items related to the military 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 material related to military activities in Alaska and you you like to see it included in this guide, please contact the UAA/APU Consortium Library Archives and Special Collections.

Post World War II collections

Alaska State Library Historical Collections

  • U. S. Army Signal Corps, ca. 1889-1970. PCA 175. This collection comprises a selection of historical military views located at the National Archives and at the U.S. Army Pentagon in Washington, D.C. 
  • U.S. Army, 172d Infantry Brigade, 1975. The Army in Alaska since 1867, 1867-1975.   PCA 008. The 172d Infantry Brigade, U.S. Army, stationed in Anchorage, Alaska, presented a program commemorating 108 years of military service in Alaska. 

Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center Archives

  • Adak Naval Station Bering Hill Galley Photographs. 1990s. B2014.036. This set is comprised of two photographs assumed to be taken in the 1990s of the Adak Naval Station Galley.  This site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987; and these two photos show a front and side view of the Galley and its two anti-aircraft mounted guns (which may have been taken off of a U.S. Navy ship). 
  • Alaska Command Collection, 1962-1965.   B70.79. Two photograph albums containing photographs from the National Photo & News Service of Eielson Air Force Base, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Fort Greely, Fort Richardson, and Fort Wainwright. 
  • Alaska Military Photographs Collection. 1940s-1950s. B2006.014. Collection includes 24 photographs of military and Native Alaskans. 
  • Willard L. Christensen Collection. 1950-1957. B2004.006. The collection includes 217 color slides relating to White Alice installations. 
  • James M. Dinges Collection. 1979-1993. B2014.025.  The collection includes 93 color slides, 62 color prints, and a data book describing Long Range Radar Sites in Alaska. 
  • Dowell Aleutian Islands Clean-up Collection. 1943-1984. B1983.058. The collection includes 125 maps, 364 photographs, and documents relating to clean-up of World War II debris in the Aleutian Islands, the Alaska Peninsula, and  Yakutat. 
  • Elmendorf Officers' Spouses Organization Collection. 1960-2012. B2018.008. Over 50 scrapbooks created by the spouses’ auxiliary
  • [Douglas] Ervin Collection. 1943-1992. B1999.026. The collection consists of two document boxes of planning publications and photographs relating to Adak, including aerial photos taken in 1977. 
  • Louis Fletcher Photographs. 1950s. B1995.030. This collection features 365 prints, negatives, and postcards of Alaska, a number among them of DEW line activities, particularly at Point Barrow, which was a major hub for a number of the smaller northernmost sites. Pictures of personnel, trackmasters, radar domes, and communications equipment are all abundant.
  • Louise Gallop Collection. 1960s-2000. B2014.001. Louise Gallop was a longtime Alaska teacher and resident of the state from 1961 until 2013. She posthumously donated her sizable collection of Alaska photos, journals, and other miscellaneous documents to the Anchorage Museum, where she had frequently volunteered. Included in this collection are a small number of slides pertaining to the Cold War radar sites; one slide of Nome, and two of Unalakleet. They were taken from the airstrip and all show the site in the distance.
  • Col. Jesse E. Green Photographs. circa 1947. B2017.027. The collection consists of 38 black and white photographs taken by Jesse Green during his service with the U.S. Army Air Forces testing Lockheed P-80 aircraft in cold weather conditions in Alaska. 
  • Ronald Hahn Slides. 1958.  B2016.021. The collection consists of 82 color 35mm slides of Nike sites in Anchorage, as well as images of Fort Richardson, Anchorage, and the surrounding area, all taken in 1958. 
  • Don Horter Collection. 1940s-1960s. B2014.016. Don Horter was a professional photographer and documentarian who worked in Alaska during the 1940s-1960s. He created two documentaries on the building of a road to the North Slope to ferry supplies for construction of DEW Line sites (Bulldog Convoy in the Arctic and Wheels to the Arctic, both 1955). The collection includes hundreds of black-and-white photographic prints and color transparencies of road construction and truck convoys traveling the route in 1955.
  • Richard D. Huff Collection. 1940s-1960. B1989.006. The collection includes 190 photographs and postcards, some relating to World War II and the Aleutian campaign. 
  • Joyce Iliff Collection. 1979-1992. B2018.001. The collection consists of photographs, publications, audiovisual materials, and ephemera created or collected by Joyce Iliff during her time as a schoolteacher and officer’s spouse on Adak.
  • John Kelsey Collection. 1950s. B2003.013. The collection includes 113 photographs relating to Attu and DEW line sites. Otis King Album. 1945-1947. B2009.008. The collection consists of 193 photographs relating to the Alaska Highway and the US Army Corps of Engineers.
  •  [John C.] Merchant Collection. 1947-1948. B1996.004. The collection consists of over 50 photographs and negatives of Air Force installations including Elmendorf Air Force Base and Ladd Field. John Minier Nike Site Summit Collection. 1979. B2018.018. Logbook, ephemera, five photographs pertaining to the Nike Site Summit and its closure in 1979.
  • George Louis Oakley Slides.  1951-1953. B2016.024.The collection consists of 122 small format color slides of Air Station Annette, Metlakatla, Ketchikan, and other southeast Alaska locations, taken by George Oakley between October 1951 and summer 1953. 
  • Wesley Randles Slides. 1956-1957. B2017.002. The collection consists of 40 color 35mm slide taken while Randles worked at the DEW Line sites at Point Barrow and Kaktovik.
  • Bill Ray White Alice Collection. 1953-1957.  B1994.009. The collection includes 1420 black-and-white and color photographs, plus documents, relating to construction of the White Alice communication system throughout Alaska. 
  • William C. and Frances P. Ray Slides. 1944-1993. B2016.006. This collection contains 279 color photographs taken by Bill during his work as a contractor for the White Alice program. The slides include aerial views and views of construction, equipment, and supplies at radar sites including Aniak, Anvil Mountain, Bear Creek, Big Mountain, Boswell Bay, Cape Lisburne, Cape Newenham, Cape Romanzof, Fort Yukon, Granite Mountain, Indian Mountain, Kalakaket Creek, Kotzebue, Middleton Island, Unalakleet, Sparrevohn, Tatalina, Tin City, Pedro Dome, Driftwood Bay, and Port Moller. 
  • Cecile K. Richter Collection. 1945, 1980s. B2001.034. The collection consists of survey documents relating to military sites prior to cleanup under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program.
  • Carlton F. Rinck Collection. 1946-1947. B2014.021. The collection consists of 211 letters written by Carlton Rinck to his father, Curtis F. Rinck of Buffalo, New York, during Carlton’s tour of duty as a dentist in the U.S. Army at Shemya and Adak, 1946-1947.  
  • John E. “Pat” Ryan Collection. circa 1947-1971. B2015.029. The collection consists of 81 photographs, including one panorama, and news clippings pertaining to the construction and maintenance of the power plants at Fort Richardson (later Elmendorf Air Force Base) in Anchorage, as well as the base fish hatchery. 
  • Joseph S. Rychetnik Collection. 1958-1999. B2017.024. This large collection includes photographs of the nuclear testing on Amchitka in 1969, as well as several DEW Line sites. In process.
  • James H. Stuhler Slides. 1966, 1982-1986. B1997.011. The collection includes 432 color slides relating to cleanup of World War II and Cold War military sites around Alaska. 
  • William Jennings Bryan Swank Photographs. 1950s-1960s. B2012.006. William Jennings Bryan Swank moved to Anchorage in 1953, and worked as a civilian electrician for the military until the late 1960s. The collection consists of 1006 slides and 103 images on 35mm color strip negatives, depicting primarily Anchorage and many Alaskan radar sites including Unalakleet, King Salmon, Sparrevohn, Newenham, Romanzof, Sitkinak, Shemya, Kotzebue, Tatalina, and Lisbourne. Included are images of construction, facilities, personnel, and equipment. 
  • U.S. Air Force Airfield Photographs. ca. 1945-1950. B1983.042. The collection consists of 30 black and white photographs of airfields all over Alaska. 
  • White Alice Radar Station Collection. 1950s. B2006.005. The collection consists of 525 photographs and negatives. 
  • David Willow Photographs. 1947-1949. B2012.001. The collection consists of 73 black-and-white photographs and one raffle ticket, created and/or collected during David Willow’s tour with the U.S. Army at Fort Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska. 
  • William Zeddies, Sr. Slides. 1966-1971. B2011.009. The collection consists of 93 color slides taken while Zeddies worked as a maintenance foreman on DEW Line sites.

UAA/APU Consortium Library Archives and Special Collections

University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska and Polar Regions Collections and Archives Alaska Film Archives

  • [Assignment Alaska, Air Force]; [between 1953 and 1954]. AAF-1095. From the Machetanz collection.  Scenes of military activities around Alaska. 
  • Battle the Cold, Conquer the Mountain; 1979. AAF-10314. From the Fort Wainwright Collection. U.S. Army film TF-21 6111. Contains views of northern globe, map of Alaska, soldiers in winter white gear, military vehicles and airplanes, helicopter, soldiers on skis and in tents, soldiers building snow shelter, soldiers hiking and climbing and rappelling, soldiers melting snow, scenery and landscapes, and submarine moving through ice. 
  • Introduction to Northern Operations, Part III - Winter Operations, U.S. Army; 1963. AAF-10304. From the Fort Wainwright collection. U.S. Army film. Program about military operations during winter, and specialized military tactics in the North. 
  •  [Lake George, military activity, Elmendorf, Eskimo women and children, 4th of July and repairing gill nets]; [between 1951 and 1959].  AAF-909 -- AAF-916. From the Machetanz collection. Part 1 (AAF-909) includes Fred and Sara Machetanz with Kirk Stone and Joe Richardson camped in tents above Lake George. Part 2 (AAF-910) includes radar installation at Fire Island, Air Force jets at Elmendorf, ski troops, mess tent in field, tanks knocking down trees at Goose Bay, Inside Passage travel, ship crewmember shooting glacier to cause calving, and ship viewed from air. 
  • [Military bases and moving sled dogs]; [between 1955 and 1959]. AAF-389. From the Machetanz collection. Images include woman and son travelling from base housing to other base facilities at Elmendorf Air Force Base or Fort Richardson, aircraft landing at Fire Island radar facility, U.S. Air Force jet on flight line, U.S. Army ski troops in field. 
  • [Military dental care in Alaska villages]; 1995. AAF-10476. From the AANG collection. Contains scenes of Alaska National Guard soldiers flying to Alaska villages, military specialists performing dental care, and interviews with military leaders. 
  • [1963 to 1964 test season; U.S. Army exercises in Alaska]; [between 1960 and 1965]. AAF-10308. From the Fort Wainwright collection. U.S. Army film. Contains images of soldiers skiing, soldiers mountain climbing with ropes and crampons, soldiers marching in single file, soldiers setting up tents and building shelters, soldiers rappelling, soldiers being issued gear, soldiers in classroom listening to lecture titled "Living in the Field," graduation ceremonies, military buildings, mountains and glaciers, and helicopter landing.
  • [Northern Warfare Training Center field exercise, skiing, skijoring]. [between 1945 and 1965]. AAF-10319. From the Fort Wainwright collection. U.S. Army film labeled "NWTC Field Exercise, Skiing, Skijoring." Contains scenes of soldiers hiking, skiers being towed by military vehicle, and dog team.
  • Northern Warfare Training – Winter; [between 1979 and 1984].  AAF-10317. From the Fort Wainwright collection. U.S. Army program filmed by Sergeant First Class R.C. Powers. Program contains scenes of Cold Weather and Mountain School facilities, soldier demonstrating ski-waxing techniques, soldiers disembarking from transport vehicles and entering classroom, cold weather training demonstrations, soldiers skiing, military vehicles on road in winter, sign for Black Rapids training site, mountain views, soldiers skiing and setting up tents, soldiers on skis being towed by vehicle, and soldiers in winter white gear. 
  • [Trident testing]; 1972. AAF-10337. From the Fort Wainwright collection. Contains views of soldiers ice-climbing and hiking across across a snow field, a graduation ceremony with officers speaking at podium, soldiers at Fort Richardson looking at plans for badminton courts, military vehicles and helmeted soldiers, signs for communications patching panel and radio terminal set, and soldiers running cable and setting up towers and working at communications patch panel. 
  • [207th Alaska Native Scouts Competition]; [between 1980 and 2000].  AAF-10472. From the AANG collection. Original videotape is titled "207th Alaska Native Scouts Competition," and contains scenes of Alaska National Guard members performing military activities during winter.
  • [U.S. Army Alaska winter training]; [between 1959 and 1964]. AAF-10311. From the Fort Wainwright collection. U.S. Army film. Contains views of officers reviewing maps, clerical workers in office working with punch cards, U.S. Army Cold Weather and Mountain School sign, soldiers in classroom and relaxing in barracks, soldiers skiing, Elmendorf AFB Air Terminal sign, soldiers disembarking from airplane, military vehicles, tracked vehicles, tanks, soldiers eating C ration type meals at camp, and soldiers in winter gear hiking and firing weapons. According to notes on film can, contains some scenes of skiing at Black Rapids.
  • U.S. Army Cold Weather and Mountain School Summer Operations and Mountaineering Course; [between 1960 and 1980]. AAF-10307. From the Fort Wainwright collection. Contains images of soldiers in boats on river, soldiers wearing inflateble life vests, soldiers hiking in mountains and marching in single file, soldiers rock climbing and tying knots, soldiers rappelling and building a rope bridge, soldier being lowered down a rock face on a litter, military vehicles and Quonset huts, soldiers with gear and rifles, soldiers inside helicopter or truck, helicopter, soldiers looking at maps, cargo airplane, and glacier views. 
  • We Battle Cold; [Between 1962 and 1967]. AAF-10318. From the Fort Wainwright collection. U.S. Army Alaska film presenting an overview of Cold Weather and Mountain School activities. Program contains views of recreational skiers, military skiers, Fort Greely, Cold Weather and Mountain School, students arriving at site, Akio sled demonstrations, convoy, Quonset huts, soldiers waxing skis and learning to ski, soldiers on skis being towed by vehicle, soldiers pulling Akio sled, soldiers erecting 10-man tent, soldiers studying maps and hiking, soldiers taking break around campfire and eating c rations, bear traps, soldier on radio phone, soldiers inflating air mattresses and sleeping in lean-to, and graduation ceremonies. 
  • [Winter maneuvers, Interior and Southeast and Southcentral Alaska]; [between 1953 and 1960].  AAF-1119, AAF-1122. From the Machetanz collection. Images include Army troops on skis towed by tank, maneuvers at Goose Bay, tanks driving through woods, loading cargo on aircraft, artillery, aerial flares, Alaska Command building, troops in field, parachute, Ladd Air Force Base sign.

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.

  • Alaska and the Signal Corps Report. 1958 (United States Signal Corps -- Territory of Alaska). USUAFV3-207. The collection consists of a 1959 report entitled, "Alaska and the Signal Corps: The Pioneering Role of the U.S. Army Signal Corps in the Development of the 49th State," and a number of well-identified photographs primarily documenting the laying of cable.
  • Alaskan Air Command Photograph Collection. 1927-1970s. USUAFV3-38. The Alaskan Air Command Photograph Collection consists of 99 Air Force related photographs taken in Alaska, and a photograph album titled "Operations 'Rainbow' and 'Fish for Kids'," dated February 1956.
  • Aleutian Islands Photographs. 1957-1958. USUAFV4-77. Photographs showing buildings, living quarters and working conditions during the building of a military camp and radar site during the 1950s.
  • Akers, Doyle C. Memoir. 1950-1951. USUAF398. A detailed account of Akers's service with the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Three while it was stationed on Amchitka Island, from 15 February to 6 June 1951.
  • Akin, Floyd Photograph Collection. 1940s-1970s. USUAFV4-282. Life at Point Barrow and Barter Island is recorded in detail in this collection, which was primarily gathered during the time when the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line was being constructed in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
  • Army in Alaska Photograph Collection. circa 1947. USUAFV3-242. Black-and-white photographs, the bulk of which are images of Army personnel engaged in recreational and military pursuits in Interior Alaska, including at Big Delta Air Base.
  • Blue, Walter B. ca. 1950-1971. USUAFV3-85. The Walter B. Blue Collection consists of a history of Alaska, a history of the 222nd Aviation Battalion (Combat), 1966-1971, and other material written by Blue. It also includes a number of research papers on Alaskan history and other topics written by Blue's students and colleagues.
  • Cort, G. Arthur (P.E.) Photograph Album. 1953. USUAFV6-160. Photograph album containing images of construction at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Includes detailed architectural and process technique documentation. 
  • Creamer, Edward L. Papers. 1954, 1998. USUAFV6-215. One memoir titled "A Dogface in Alaska: Surveying and Surviving," with digital print copies of 190 photographs. The memoir details Creamer's experiences as topographic computer with the U. S. Army's 551st Engineer Company, 660th Battalion, 30th Engineer Group in the summer of 1954, when the company surveyed areas of southwestern Alaska near Platinum, Togiak, and Bethel.
  • DeGoes, Louis Papers. 1945-1993 (De Goes, Louis Papers). USUAFV3-307. Contains material related to his work for the Air Force from 1950 to 1956
  • Diaz Family Photograph Collection. circa 1940s - circa 1950s. USUAFV6-543. One leather bound photograph album, labeled as belonging to Louis J. Bayuk, Co-C 176th Engineers, Big Delta, Alaska, with photographs of military personnel, military activities and military equipment.
  • Dudley, Steve Shemya Photographs. 1966, 1971-1972. USUAFV6-888. Photographs and documents relating to Shemya Air Base.
  • Fairbanks 1950s Slides. circa 1950s. USUAFV6-106. 175 transparencies depicting family, friends, and social gatherings; military maneuvers at one of the bases near Fairbanks, Alaska; mining activity; and a few Fairbanks streetscapes.
  • Fairbanks Flood - U.S. Army Photographs. 1967. USUAFV5-10. In 1967, the city of Fairbanks, Alaska, and surrounding areas suffered the effects of a catastrophic flood. These sixteen photographs depict the damage to the Fort Wainwright Army Base near downtown Fairbanks. Views include the base in general, as well as military housing and the Bassett Army Hospital.
  • Fort Richardson Albums. 1940s - 1950s. USUAFV4-108. The Fort Richardson Albums consist of two albums containing 336 black and white photographs and postcards as well as military orders, military forms and miscellaneous Alaskan ephemera.
  • Hackett, Major William D Collection. 1939-1959. V.5-31. Reports, pamphlets, meeting minutes, publications, manuals, brochures, maps and charts, catalogs, and subject files relating to military life and activities during and after World War II.
  • Johnson, Glenn. Collection. circa 1947-1948. USUAFV4-216. The Glenn Johnson Collection consists of ninety-seven black and white photographs, taken by an Air Force squadron photographer, including images of military aircraft and activities.
  • McAnerney, John M. and Lee Papers. ca. 1920-1970. USUAF212. Contains materials relating to the construction of Kodiak Naval Airbase
  • Shemya and Anchorage Photographs. circa 1950s. Photographs, the bulk of which were taken on Shemya and include images of the airstrip at Shemya, aircraft and military related work activities.
  • United Service Organization (USO), Fairbanks, Alaska Collection. circa 1940 - circa 1980. USUAFV6-921. The United Service Organization (USO), Fairbanks, Alaska Collection contains photographs, photographic transparencies, news clippings, films, a manual, and a scrapbook relating to the USO in Fairbanks, Alaska, and to its operation and activities.
  • Wall, Arthur F. Aleutian Photographs. 1947-1948. USUAFV4-64. The collection includes 118 photographs of the Adak and Attu areas of the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, taken right after World War II.
  • Willyard, Robert L. Collection. 1954-1955. USUAFV5-242. Images of Alaska, some of which depict Elmendorf Air Force Base, Fort Richardson, and military activities at McGrath.
  • Yanul, Thomas G. Papers. 1960, 2013. USUAFV6-946. Photograph of Thomas Yanul and another airman working on a truck at the Copper Valley School, dated June 26, 1960.

Credits

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.