Friday, February 12, 2010

SHI Obtains Collection of Rare and Historic Photographs

The Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Special Collections Research Center library and archive recently obtained a significant collection of rare and historic photographs. These photographs, dating to between 1878 and 1915, capture visual imagery of Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian history. These photographs were obtained from Alaskana collector Richard Wood, also operator of the Alaskan Heritage Bookshop of Juneau, Alaska.

While SHI Special Collections had previously obtained some photos from the Alaskan Heritage Bookshop in the past, with this new addition the collection amounts to seventy-two unique and rare photographs in our Richard Wood Photograph Collection. It’s quite possible that some of these photographs are not held by any other library in the world. The collection is diverse, capturing various views of Native life and culture, and the pictures were taken by various professional and semi-professional photographers. One particularly rare photograph captures a view of a Tlingit canoe with a sail. This picture can be viewed below along with a few other samples. All the images in this collection have been posted online. Overall, this collection is a great addition to SHI Special Collections holdings and will provide practical use for SHI and the patrons of Special Collections. Some of these photographs are currently being used in SHI’s forthcoming curriculum entitled The Road to ANCSA: A Native Perspective.

Item 24: Cabinet card photograph showing a Tlingit canoe with sails on an unknown river, circa 1880s, by Miller-Chase. Photo has seven or eight men in canoe, with sails up and American flag waiving. Photo is labeled as “Miners on the Yukon, Alaska” but its unclear if this is actually in the Yukon area.

Item 54: Cabinet card photograph of a Killisnoo Jake (Kichnaalx) in regalia and the clan hat named Ats’eiyee S’aaxw (Sheltered Area Under the Tree Hat), photograph produced by B.C. Towne, circa 1880s. Photographer likely Edward DeGroff.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a regional nonprofit serving the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska. Its mission is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures. If you would like to donate materials to SHI Special Collections contact their archivist.