Amos Burg Papers, ca. 1917-1985  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Burg, Amos.
Title
Amos Burg Papers
Dates
ca. 1917-1985 (inclusive)
Quantity
7 records cartons.
Collection Number
Mss 1759 (collection)
Summary
Papers of Amos Burg, an Oregon-based writer, explorer, and film maker who later headed the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's education office from 1954 to 1974. The papers date from ca.1917-1985 and contain detailed diaries and travel logs of Burg's many trips throughout the world. Also included are correspondence, articles, lecture notes, film notations for Burg's films, publicity about Burg (including newspaper articles and a radio interview transcript), news articles collected by Burg, or about him, a flag, records of a land purchase, passports, will, résumé, and Carolyn Burg's will.
Repository
Oregon Historical Society, Davies Family Research Library
Davies Family Research Library
Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR
97205
Telephone: 503-306-5240
Fax: 503-219-2040
libreference@ohs.org
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public.



Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Amos Burg, Jr. (1901-1986) was a Portland native who traveled the world as a photographer, film maker, writer, and explorer, venturing down the entirety of most of the major rivers of North America. He settled in Juneau, Alaska in his middle age but always maintained close ties to Oregon and his family in the area.

Between the years of 1919-1937 Burg sporadically attended the University of Oregon, Oregon Agricultural College, and eventually attained his degree from Oregon Institute of Technology, 1937. He worked for The National Geographic Society, Encyclopedia Britannica, and ERPI Films, as a photographer, writer, and film maker on assignment and freelance from 1927-1954. In 1954 he established, and then, managed the Education and Information Office of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, until his retirement in 1974. While working for the Department of Fish and Game he scripted and shot many short films on Alaskan subjects for distribution among the schools for educational purposes.

He wrote a large number of articles and columns for newspapers in Juneau, under the name Sourdough Sam. Among other writings he authored a column titled "Campfire reflections" in the magazine Fish tales and game trails published by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. He collected the majority of his writings for The National Geographic into a book that is held by the Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Amos Burg papers, c.1917-1985, contain detailed diaries and travel logs of Burg's many trips throughout the world. Also included are: correspondence, articles, lecture notes, film notations for Amos Burg films, publicity about Burg (including newspaper articles and a radio interview transcript), articles by others of interest to Burg, or about him, and a collection of misc. items including his flag, records of a land purchase, passports, will, resume, and Carolyn Burg's will.

The diaries and trip logs, 1917-1983, do a very good job of documenting Burg's travels, plans to travel, and in the earliest diary his desire to begin a life of adventure. His destinations, partners on journeys, detailed listing of possible topics for articles, and a meticulous account of the cost of each adventure can be found in either his diaries or trip logs for almost every year. The earlier records are more detailed and descriptive than later records. Also included are diaries from his two companions, Buzz Holmstrom and Willis Johnson, from their 1938 Grand Canyon river trip with Burg.

Correspondence, c.1920-1977, deals both with Burg's business matters and his solicitation of work as a freelance and contract writer, photographer, and film maker, and his personal correspondence. Particularly insightful are the early correspondence, especially the letters to his parents while on his various trips in his early years. The remaining personal correspondence, while quite large in number focus mainly on the later years of Burg's life and his battle with cancer. The business correspondence includes contracts with ERPI Films over the required quality and Burg's salary for his work and letters from the various organizations he worked with concerning business arrangements. Also included are a few joint letters with Carolyn Burg concerning business matters.

The research notes, articles, lecture notes, and film materials, c.1925-1977, contain many drafts of each endeavor and in most cases a final draft also. There are copious notes for each of Burg's research topics and often references to his trip logs. Most of his articles appear to have been based on the research and logs in the collection. While not as rich in material, the film materials do include several scripts and outlines for films Burg created, many of them under the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Of note are the two folders covering the Navajo Film project which include script, budget, bank records, and a brochure using Burg's photos.

Within the published materials relating to or involving Amos Burg is a scrapbook of newspaper articles compiled by a family member that traces his exploits publically beginning around 1922 and following him through the 1940s. Most of the articles are from the Portland papers but there are a few notable exceptions. Included in this series is also a radio interview transcript from 1936 and two articles about Burg written by friends with the intent to publish them. Most of the rest of the published material is relating to Burg's journeys but without directly mentioning him.

The final part of the collection is a diversified grouping of assorted items of Burg's. Within this group are a copy of his and his wife Carolyn Burg's wills, the records for Burg's boat the "Endeavor", Amos Burg's passports, a eulogy to Buzz Holmstrom, Amos' flag, and a collection of his address books.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The Oregon Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Research Library prior to any use of reproductions. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use of reproductions may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

Amos Burg papers, Mss 1759, Oregon Historical Society Research Library

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series I::  Diaries , ca. 1917-1983Return to Top

1 cubic foot (1 box).

Include diaries of Amos Burg, Willis Johnson (1938), and Buzz Holmstrom (1938).

Arranged chronologically.
Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
Diaries
undated
1/2
Diary
1917
1/3
Diary, San Francisco voyage
Jan-Mar 1918
1/4
Diary, 1919, USS Waikiki & 1920 Pacific Coast
1/5
Diary
August 1921-May 1922
1/6
Diary
1921-1924
1/7
Diary
6/28/1925-10/23/1925
1/8
Diary
9/7/1927
1/9
Diary
4/22/1928-8/25/1928
1/10
Diary
10/22/1928-11/21/1928
1/11
Diary
12/10/1928-4/13/1929
1/12
Diary
9/6/1929-9/7/1929
1/13
Diary
1930
1/14
Diary
Not continuous: 8/3/1935, 6/4/1937, 7/21/1937, 4/12/1941, 10/20/1941-11/3/1941, 3/6/1942-5/20/1942, 4/21/1942-5/20/1942, 6/12/1942-7/14/1942, 11/3/1944, 6/19/1946.
1935-1946
1/15
Diary
Not continuous: 8/26/1938, 8/27/1938, and 11/3/1938
1938
1/16
Diaries-by Buzz Holmstrom and Willis D. Johnson
1938
1/17
Diary-by Willis D. Johnson
1939
1/18
Diary
Not continuous: 1/1/1940-3/6/1940, 4/7/1940, 4/25/1940 (partial), 6/1/1941, 10-13/1941, 4/12/1941, 1/8/1942
1940-1942
1/19
Diary
Not continuous: 5/4/1964-10/5/1964 (partial)
1964
1/20
Diary
1965-1966
1/21
Diary
7/14/1968-8/1/1968
1/22
Diary
Not continuous: 1/6/1971, 10/29/1971-3/8/1972, 7/29/1973, 2/26/1973, 12/22/1971-2/24/1972, 6/26/1974-7/14/1974.
1971-1974
1/23
Diary
Not continuous: 2/4/1960-4/29/1960, 11/10/1964-12/21/1964, 8/4/1969-9/22/1969
1960-1969
1/24
Diary
Not continuous: 11/9/1974-1/7/1975, 1/10/1975-2/5/1975, 4/12/1978-8/21/1978, 1/15/1979-2/3/1979
1974-1979
1/25
Diary
Not continuous: 10/12/1980-10/18/1980, 2/16/1981-4/5/1981, 10/3/1984-11/4/1984
1980-1984
1/26
Diary
March 1983-June, 1983

Series II::  Trip Logs and Maps , 1922-1977Return to Top

The series contains Amos Burg's trip logs, as well as maps of areas to which he traveled while working on stories, articles, or film and photo projects.

Arranged chronologically.
Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/1
Lewis and Clark Trail Expedition and "Mississippi River Trip"
1922
2/2
Columbia River
1924
2/3
Seattle to the Orient trip log
1924
2/4
Snake River with Harry Fogelburg
1925
2/5
Yukon River
1928
2/6
Yukon River, basis for film and articles for National Geographic
1928
2/7
MacKenzie River, Yukon River
1929
2/8
Maps of trip from Athabaska to Whitehorse and others
1929
2/9
Maps of the Alaska Steamship Co. routes
ca. 1940
2/10
Log: "Camargo"
1/17/1931-3/20/1931
2/11
Cape Horn
1934
2/12
Cape Horn maps
1934
Tierra del Fuego
1934
Box/Folder
2/13
Log I
2/14
Log II
2/15
Log III
2/16
Log IV
2/17
Log V
Box/Folder
2/18
Basis for National Geographic article on Cape Horn trip
1934
2/19
Green and Colorado River
1938
2/20
Hells Canyon/Snake River
1976
2/21
Yukon River voyage
1977

Series III::  Correspondence , ca. 1920-1985Return to Top

Contains letters both to and from Amos Burg, his family, friends, and business associates.

The series is divided into personal and business correspondence, and arranged alphabetically within each category.
Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
3/1
Amos & Carolyn Burg, joint
ca. 1955-1989
3/2
To Amos Burg from his mother
ca. 1940
3/3
From Amos to his parents
ca. 1918-1948
3/4
Family
ca. 1924-1985
Personal
Box/Folder
3/5
Incoming, A-H
ca. 1928-1985
3/6
Incoming, I-Z
ca. 1924-1985
3/7
Incoming, general, no surname
ca. 1933-1984
3/8
Outgoing
ca. 1926-1985
3/9
Outgoing, some surnames
ca. 1936-1985
Box/Folder
3/10
Education and Information Office, Dept of Fish and Game, Alaska
ca. 1964-1974
3/11
Encyclopedia Britannica Films, ERPI Classroom Films
ca. 1938-1982
3/12
National Geographic Society
ca. 1924-1974
3/13
Incoming personal, business interest, organized by correspondent's last name, A-G
ca. 1930-1984
3/14
Incoming personal, business interest, organized by correspondent's last name, H-Z
ca. 1931-1984
3/15
Correspondence, outgoing personal, business interest
ca. 1933-1972

Series IV::  Research Notes, Articles, and Lectures , ca. 1925-1976Return to Top

2 cubic feet (2 boxes)

Contains drafts of articles, notes for articles, films and lectures, and final copies of articles and some published versions.

Arranged chronologically.
Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
4/1
Notes for National Geographic Articles on Oregon
1932, 1933
Research notes
Box/Folder
4/2
Norway
See also related images in ORG LOT 450.
ca. 1932-1933
4/3
Nunivak Island Eskimos
See also related images in ORG LOT 450.
ca. 1940
4/4
Pioneers Home, Sitka, Alaska
ca. 1950
4/5
Lifeboats
ca. 1955
4/6
Research Notes, Columbia, Yukon, Colorado Rivers
ca. 1960
4/7
MacKenzie River and "fact book"
1968
General notes
Box/Folder
4/8
ca. 1912-1965
4/9
ca. 1934-1978
4/10
ca. 1938-1978
4/11
ca. 1938-1982
Box/Folder
4/12
Anecdotes
ca. 1950-1970
4/13
Anecdotes
ca. 1960-1980
5/1
Alaska Fish and Game Trails covers by Amos Burg
ca. 1972-1978
5/2
From Alaska Fish and Game Trails, "Campfire Reflections,"
ca. 1970-1978
5/3
Original: "Campfire Reflections,"
ca. 1970-1978
5/4
Green and Colorado River Trip, by Amos Burg
1938
5/5
"Katia", notes & partial transcript of Amos Burgs voyage on the "Katia", dictated to Skip Wallen
1984
5/6
National Geographic articles
ca. 1937-1954
5/7
Sourdough Sam articles
ca. 1963-1966
Articles, general, by Amos Burg
Box/Folder
5/8
ca. 1963-1979
5/9-10
ca. 1922-1979
Box/Folder
5/11
Lecture notes and booking schedule for Amos Burg lecture series
ca. 1936-1960
5/12
Lecture notes for Amos Burg lecture series
ca. 1936-1980

Series V::  Materials relating to films by Amos Burg , ca. 1925-1977Return to Top

This series contains notes, scripts, and miscellaneous materials relating to Amos Burg's films, ca. 1925-1977. The materials contain drafts, final revisions, text, scoring notes, technical notations for films, scripts and related materials such as budgets for a 1977 film, and other proposed projects.

Arranged chronologically.
Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
6/1
Alaska Dept Fish and Game: film notes and record of films borrowed
ca. 1960-1975
6/2
"Alaska Big Game Safari Film: the story behind it"
1960
6/3
ERPI, Encyclopedia Britannica, & Classroom Films
ca. 1932-1944
6/4
"Navajo Wood Plant" Film, script and general material
1976
6/5
"Navajo Wood Plant" Film, correspondence and bank account
1976
6/6
Film Text, "On the Hudson Bay Trail to the Polar Sea"
1968
6/7
Captions and Text Films (Alaska)
ca. 1950
6/8
Captions for Films by Burg
ca. 1940-1960
6/9
Scripts,Captions for films, notes on lecture series film footage by Burg
ca. 1940-1966
6/10
Notes for films at Oregon Historical Society by Burg
ca. 1928
6/11
General Film Making Notes
ca. 1930-1977
6/12
Memos and Unidentified Notations for films
ca. 1930-1977

Series VI::  Published Materials concerning Amos Burg , 1922-1983Return to Top

Contains published Materials by individuals other than Amos Burg that relate to, involve, or interested Burg. Includes a radio interview, scrapbooks, and articles ca. 1922-1983.

Arranged chronologically.
Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
6/13
Newspaper Articles about Burg
ca. 1927-1980
6/14
Scrapbook
ca. 1960
6/15
Photocopies of scrapbook
ca. 1927-1980
6/16
Scrapbook and Newspaper clippings
ca. 1927-1980
6/17
Published Material, publicity about Burg
ca. 1927-1980
7/1
Radio Interview
1936
7/2
Scrapbook Colorado River Trip with Buzz Holmstrom
1938
7/3
"MSS Yukon River Trip, 1977" by Michael Lesley
1977
7/4
"Tierra del Fuego" by William Parker Snow
7/5
"Amos Burg, FN 1931" by Oshen Agathon
1981
7/6
Reference articles of interest to Burg

Series VII::  Additional Material , ca. 1926-1960Return to Top

Contains various personal papers, résumé, will, memorial service items, passports, diploma, awards, club membership rosters, and 1976 guest book.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
7/7
Memorabilia from early voyages
1926-1927
7/8
Record for land purchase, Alaska
ca. 1970
7/9
Résumé, will, memorial service mementos, for Amos Burg; also Carolyn Burg's will
7/10
Personal papers, general, including sister Vera Burg Yunker, life history
7/11
Passports and diploma
7/12
Club member rosters, membership cards, business cards
7/13
Awards, certificates and invitations
7/14
Rotary Club items, Juneau, Alaska
1960
7/15
Records of sloop "Endeavor", purchased 1938
1938
7/16
Collection of inspirational literature
7/17
Eulogy for Buzz Holmstrom
7/18
Early literary effort
ca. 1917
7/19
Amos' flag with insignia
7/20
Carolyn Burg's activites and correspondence
7/21
Amos & Carolyn Burg's guest book
1976
7/22
Addresses

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Authors—United States—Alaska.
  • Authors—United States—Oregon.
  • Canada—Description and travel.
  • Conservation of natural resources—United States.
  • Conservation of natural resources—United States—Alaska.
  • Grand Canyon (Ariz.)—Description and travel.
  • Photographers—United States—Alaska.
  • Photographers—United States—Oregon.
  • United States—Description and travel.
  • Personal Names :
  • Burg, Amos.
  • Burg, Carolyn.
  • Holmstrom, Buzz, 1909-1946.
  • Johnson, Willis D.
  • Corporate Names :
  • Alaska. Department of Fish and Game. Office of Education and Information.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica.
  • Erpi Classroom Films, Inc.
  • National Geographic Society (U.S.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Correspondence.
  • Diaries.
  • Scripts, film.