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John Y. Benson Papers

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

John Y. Benson Papers, 1921-1926



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John Y. Benson Papers, 1921-1926 | Sealaska Heritage Institute Archives

By Zachary R. Jones, Archivist

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Collection Overview

Title: John Y. Benson Papers, 1921-1926Add to your cart.

ID: MS/004

Primary Creator: Benson, John Y. (1866-1942)

Other Creators: Benson, Cora

Extent: 1.0 Boxes

Date Acquired: 12/12/2007

Subjects: Tlingit Indians--History.

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection contains correspondence and papers of John Y. Benson and his wife Cora Benson of Klukwan, AK. The collection contains around 50 letters of correspondence spanning 1921 to 1926. Most correspondence is incoming to the Bensons which discusses an array of topics. Topics discussed included berry picking, berry selling, subsistence efforts, Christianity, employment, the trade of goods, Chilkat blanket weaving, the local economy, Alaska Native Brotherhood, local happenings in various Southeast Alaska towns, and family affairs. Much of the correspondence is from family and friends at Sitka, Juneau, and Wrangell. The materials in the collection have been arranged into incoming and outgoing correspondence and then chronologically. The last folder in the collection contains to papers relating to legal matters.

Biographical Note

John Y. Benson (1866-1942) and his wife Cora Benson were Tlingit Indians from Klukwan, Alaska. John Benson may have been born at Sitka, but spent most of his life living in the Haines and Klukwan areas. He was involved in a number of employment trades and at one time was a clerk for the Klukwan-Tlingit Presbyterian Church. He was also involved with the Alaska Native Brotherhood after it held a conference in Haines in 1929. He appears to have also been a carver, producing—at least—model totem poles. His wife Cora Benson, Tlingit name Deinkul.át, was of the Raven Moiety, Gaanaxteidí Clan, and was a well-known Chilkat robe weaver. She has often been referred to in historical records as “Mrs. John Benson.” She was photographed weaving a Chilkat robe in her youth, and is known to have been a weaving teacher of Jenny Thlunaut.

Subject/Index Terms

Tlingit Indians--History.

Administrative Information

Repository: Sealaska Heritage Institute Archives

Acquisition Source: Walter A. Soboleff

Acquisition Method: The materials in the collection were donated to SHI by Walter A. Soboleff on Dec. 12, 2007. These papers were donated with Soboleff’s ANB materials, but since they were unconnected to ANB, they have been separated and arranged here.


Box and Folder Listing


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[Box 1: John Y. Benson Papers, 1921-1926],
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Box 1: John Y. Benson Papers, 1921-1926Add to your cart.

Fd 1:    Outgoing correspondence of John Y. Benson, 1922 and undated. [2 pieces] Letters ask for shipment of lumber for Patsy Davis/Ed Shotridge; and a “gunnysack of yellow cedar poles for totem poles.”

Fd 2:    Incoming correspondence of John Y. Benson, 1920-1926 [35 pieces] Correspondence authors include George Blake, Mr. Young, Frank Hansen, James Martin, Dick Bailey, Chas Anderson, Lonnie Newman, Ensign William Quick, Jimmie Smith, J.K. Williams, Annie Samato, and Chas [Charlie] Jones [perhaps the Jones that would become a Chief Shakes],

Fd 3:    Incoming correspondence of Mrs. John Y. Benson, 1921-1926 [20 pieces] Correspondence authors include Mrs. Charlie Anderson, Mrs. Frank W. Lamb, Dick Baily, Mrs. Patsy Davis, Agnes Williams, Willis Hooks,

Fd 4:    Legal documents, 1920, 1924. [2 pieces] Include an arrest warrant for Tom Katzeek for “swear[ing]”, 1920, and court paper concerning Town of Klukwan v. Chas Johnson, 1924.



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