Friday, December 7, 2007

Processing our Alaska Native Brotherhood Records

This week I’ve been processing (organizing according to archival standards) SHI’s historic Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB), Juneau Camp 2 records, which were donated by Walter A. Soboleff, ranking member of Camp 2 and emeritus Grand President of ANB. (Image is a Juneau Camp # 2 meeting minutes ledger, spanning 1939 to 1945.) This collection will be know as Mss 7: The Walter A. Soboleff Papers and we hope to have researchers, students, and anyone interested study this collection.
The Alaska Native Brotherhood was initially organized in 1912 to advocate for the civil rights of Alaska Natives. It unified the Southeast Alaska Natives with the establishments of Camps in all Southeast Alaska communities. ANB, which was later joined by the Alaska Native Sisterhood, became a powerful political force in the Territory of Alaska. While I’m currently still working on the collection, I have thus far finished organizing about ten letter-sized MetalEdge boxes of material, all dating between 1920 and 1995. To be honest, this is a great collection with a lot of research potential. The bulk of the collection consists of meeting minutes and correspondence documenting the Juneau ANB Camp # 2, but there are also additional papers from Southeast Alaska ANB gatherings. There is a consecutive run of handwritten meeting minutes from Juneau Camp # 2 spanning the late 1930s through the 1960s. These records document the behind the scenes work of ANB officials and members in Juneau area during this period. The intellectual handprints of William Paul, Sr., William Paul, Jr., Walter A. Soboleff, and others are highly visible in these records. This collection strongly compliments some of our additional holdings that also concern or contain ANB materials, such as the Curry-Weissbrodt Papers. I hope to have the Walter A. Soboleff Collection ready for researchers within a few weeks. If anyone has additional ANB/ANS papers they would like to donate and add to this collection please contact me.

I am also seeking able volunteers to help out in my department. Volunteers will primarily process collections and I will provide training and a fun learning experience. Volunteers can choose the hours they work, even if it’s only 10 hours a week. Please contact me if you are interested.

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