Eyewitness Booklet Series

Chris Allan has compiled eight booklets of what he calls the “Eyewitness Series.” They are being made available as PDF’s on the Alaska Historical Society’s website. Chris’s goal is to showcase voices of the past: “I wanted to get away from the traditional historian’s narrative form where sources play a secondary or tertiary role behind the historian’s voice and analysis. I like the idea of people hearing history from the eyewitnesses.” Each booklet includes advertisements, early maps, paintings, drawings and photographs previously unpublished or never collected in the same place.

Hoping to stimulate others to undertake new investigations, Chris also prepared a guide called “The Newspaper Bonanza:  How to Discover Alaska’s Past in Newspaper Databases” for the AHS website.

The booklets are:

Eyewitness Series #1: American Side of the Line: Eagle City’s Origins as an Alaskan Gold Rush Town as Seen in Newspapers and Letters, 1897-1899, a collection from the town’s first year during the Klondike Gold Rush. See also, Eyewitness Series #6 which is a collection of photographs, maps, and soldiers’ letters showing the evolution of the U.S. Army’s Fort Egbert at Eagle, Alaska.
Eyewitness Series #2: As the Old Flag Came Down: Eyewitness Accounts of the October 18, 1867 Alaska Transfer Ceremony, a collection of sources describing the ceremony at Sitka after the United States purchased Alaska from Russia.
Eyewitness Series #3: A Rough and Tumble Country: Juneau’s Origins as Alaska’s First Gold Mining Boomtown as Described by Eyewitnesses, 1880-1881, a collaboration with Mark Kirchhoff about the discovery of gold in Gastineau Channel and the evolution of what would become Alaska’s capital city.
Eyewitness Series #4: Of Gold and Gravel: A Pictorial History of Mining Operations at Coal Creek and Woodchopper Creek, 1934-1938, Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, a collection of seventy-five photographs illustrating the construction of two mining camps and two gold dredges in Alaska’s backcountry.
Eyewitness Series #5: A River’s Many Faces: Depictions of Life on the Yukon River by Charles O. Farciot and Willis E. Everette, 1882-1885, a collection of photographs and drawings offering glimpses of an Indigenous world shaped by fur trading companies and, increasingly, by outsiders searching for gold.
Eyewitness Series #6: In the Shadow of Eagle Bluff: A Pictorial History of the U.S. Army’s Fort Egbert at Eagle, Alaska, 1899-1902, a collection of photographs, maps, and soldiers’ letters showing the evolution of a frontier outpost along the Yukon River. This serves as a companion to Eyewitness Series #1 about the founding of Eagle, Alaska.
Eyewitness Series #7: On the Ragged Edge of Empire: Art and Architecture in Sitka, Alaska, by Eadweard Muybridge and John Fuller, 1867-1868, a collection of photographs and drawings showing Sitka’s transition from Russian colonial outpost to American town. This serves as a companion to Eyewitness Series #2 about the Alaska transfer ceremony.
Eyewitness Series #8: Burning for Yukon Gold: The Hidden World of Underground Placer Mining in Alaska and the Klondike, 1898-1901, a collection of photographs and first-person accounts revealing how gold miners risked their lives for buried treasure.