This collection consists of papers and records associated with Tlingit Indian William S. Wanamaker (1889-1944). These center on an original hand-written record book that chronicles the life events of William S. Wanamaker while he lived in Sitka and Juneau, spanning the period of 1912-1944. This record book was both a diary of Wanamaker’s doings, but also included a record of his financial affairs and involvement in the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Russian Orthodox Brotherhood. In this record book Wanamaker chronicled the births, deaths, marriages, citizenship petitions, and social life of Alaska Natives, as well as his dealings with the Russian Orthodox Brotherhood and Alaska Native Brotherhood, including his involvement in social and political activism. Wanamaker’s documentation of these events is highly important since newspapers of the day did not contain or allow information to be published on these aspects of Alaska Native life, due to racism of the period, and thus this record book provides unique content on Alaska Native life.
This record book is, however, very fragile and brittle, so a preservation copy (photocopy) of the book has been made for public use, created by the donor Brian Wallace (grandson of William Wanamaker). Use of the original record book is prohibited to preserve the original.
Also included in the collection are correspondence and legal papers of Wanamaker, such as his petition of American citizenship in 1919. Additional papers of this nature concerning Andrew and Jean Wanamaker are also included, who were the adopted parents that raised Elizabeth Wanamaker Peratrovich, the noted Alaska Native Sisterhood civil rights activist for who the state holiday Elizabeth Peratrovich Day is named. These latter papers are photocopies of the originals obtained by the donor to assist the researcher.
Researcher Note: Additional papers (Mss 239) and photographs (PCA 520) of William S. Wanamaker are held by the Alaska State Library.