Alaska Steamship Company records, 1908-1971  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Alaska Steamship Co
Title
Alaska Steamship Company records
Dates
1908-1971 (inclusive)
Quantity
169 ft
Collection Number
1566, 1585
Summary
Steamship company
Repository
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
98195-2900
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
speccoll@uw.edu
Access Restrictions

Consult the restrictions governing access for each of the accessions listed below.

Some records stored offsite; advance notice required for use.

Languages
English


Historical NoteReturn to Top

The Alaskan shipping industry began to grow in the late 1800s with the expansion of fishing and cannery activities. As a result, there was a dramatic increase in the need for transportation of other products to and from the lower 48 states. In 1894, six men, recognizing this need, incorporated; they gathered $30,000 by selling 300 shares at $100 each, and then set about scouting for a ship to begin hauling. They found and purchased the Willapa , which could carry passengers as well as freight. Their timing could not have been better; soon after the Alaska Steamship Company (ASC) opened for business, Alaska began to experience major economic benefits resulting from the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897. In addition to fish products, ASC began hauling mining equipment, dog sleds, cattle, and miscellaneous supplies.

The company began by servicing Southeast Alaska, running only between Skagway and Seattle. Another shipping company, the Northwest Steamship Company, had organized the northern route as a result of the Nome gold strike in 1900, servicing Valdez, Cook Inlet, and the Bering Sea ports. A third party, the Guggenheim Company, bought out both ASC and the Northern Steamship Co., keeping the ASC name. They expanded the fleet into 18 ships and expanded service to all Alaskan ports from Ketchikan to Kotzebue.

For the next quarter of a century, ASC relied on copper from the Kennecot mines, gold, and salmon for backhauls from northern cities to the lower 48 states. By 1938, the copper mine had closed and the gold rush had subsided. With backhauls now significantly reduced, the Alaskan shipping industry was severely impacted. In addition, the much relied-upon fishing industry was only seasonal. The one-way haul was one of the great problems of the Alaska run; the other problem was the weather. Ships were constantly threatened by fierce Alaskan weather patterns.

Eventually, the Kennecot Company acquired controlling interest from Guggenheim Company. In 1944, G.W. Skinner of Seattle purchased all interests and retained the management identified with the Alaska Steamship Company for the next several years.

The ASC joined the war effort in 1942, losing five ships in various campaigns. In 1953, they expanded into container service. The holds of the vessels were paved to accommodate fork lifts. New masts were engineered to lift massive vans. New generators were installed to provide power for van refers (refrigerated vans) and heater equipment. Containerization was recognized as the most significant development in ocean transport since the steam engine. There was less damage to freight, less pilfering, and labor costs were significantly reduced as there was no more piece by piece handling of cargo.

In 1954, the company ceased passenger operations due to high costs of labor and union standards. By then, ASC had established itself as a pioneer in containerization. At one point, the company pumped $11 million into the economy by employing dockworkers, ship workers, and stevedores, hauling freight, and operating ship and dock facilities. However, because of increased fuel and insurance costs, increased competition from barges, ferries, and tugboats, and continual union demands, the Alaska Steamship Company ceased operations in 1971.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Consult the scope and content information for each of the accessions listed below.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Consult the restrictions governing reproduction and use for each of the accessions listed below.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

 

Accession No. 1566-001: Alaska Steamship Company records, 1917-1969 (bulk 1939-1961)Return to Top

87.88 cu. ft.

Scope and Content: Ship logs.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Records stored offsite; advance notice required for use.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

May be copied and quoted.

Acquisition Info: Alaska Steamship Co. via J.J. Dillon, 1971-03-16

Description
Alaska Steamship Company records

Accession No. 1585-001: Alaska Steamship Company records, 1908-1971Return to Top

45 lin. ft.

Scope and Content: Correspondence, freight tarriffs, passenger tarriffs, 1908-1971.

Restrictions on Access: Presume open to all users.

Records stored offsite; advance notice required for use.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: Alaska Steamship Co. via J.J. Dillon, 1971-04-09

Description
Alaska Steamship Company records

Accession No. 1585-002: Alaska Steamship Company records, 1950-1960Return to Top

24 lin. ft.

Scope and Content: Hearings, court papers, applications, correspondence and related papers, scrapbook, ca. 1950s-1960s.

"Dockets": hearings, correspondence with attorneys and supporting documents re. Federal Maritime Commission hearings on freight tariffs and ICC hearings on routes. Oversized volume contains graphs and charts re. vessels, tonnage, passengers, rates and claims.

Restrictions on Access: Presume open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: Alaska Steamship Co., 1971-01-01

Description
Alaska Steamship Company records

Accession No. 1585-003: Alaska Steamship Company records, 1965Return to Top

18 items

Scope and Content: Speech, "Alaska Water Transportation --Business or Hobby?" given at the Seattle Rotary Club July 13, [1965?] by D.E. Skinner, the president of Alaska Steamship Company.

The speech concerned the plight of the American Merchant marine in general and of the Alaska trade in particular.

Restrictions on Access: Presume open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: UW. Libraries, Special Collections; date unknown

Description
Alaska Steamship Company records

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Personal Papers/Corporate Records (University of Washington)
  • Corporate Names :
  • Abigail Adams (ship)
  • Alaska (ship)
  • Aleutian (ship)
  • American Star (ship)
  • Baranof (ship)
  • Bering (ship)
  • Cape Victory (ship)
  • Chief Washakie (ship)
  • Coastal Monarch (ship)
  • Coastal Nomad (ship)
  • Coastal Rambler (ship)
  • Columbia (ship)
  • Copper River and Northwestern Railway
  • David Dudley Field (ship)
  • Denali (ship)
  • Diamond Cement (ship)
  • Edmond Mallet (ship)
  • Flemish Knot (ship)
  • Galena (ship)
  • George D. Prentice (ship)
  • H.D. Whitehead (ship)
  • Henry S. Sanford (ship)
  • Herbert D. Croly (ship)
  • Iliamna (ship)
  • James T. Fields (ship)
  • John Dockweiler (ship)
  • John H. Quick (ship)
  • Jumper Hitch (ship)
  • Katherine B. Sherwood (ship)
  • Lakina (ship)
  • Lucidor (ship)
  • Lusitna (ship)
  • Nadina (ship)
  • Nenana (ship)
  • North Sea (ship)
  • Oduna (ship)
  • Olympic Pioneer (ship)
  • Pacific & Arctic Railway & Navigation Company
  • Palisana (ship)
  • Peter J. McGuire (ship)
  • Red Oak Victory (ship)
  • Reef Knot (ship)
  • Rose Knot (ship)
  • Sailor's Splice (ship)
  • Seacoronet (ship)
  • Square Knot (ship)
  • Square Sinnet (ship)
  • Susitna (ship)
  • Sutherland (ship)
  • Talkeetna (ship)
  • Tanana (ship)
  • Terminal Knot (ship)
  • Tonsina (ship)
  • Victoria (ship)
  • Yukon (ship)
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • Skinner, D. E (creator)
    • Corporate Names :
    • Alaska Steamship Co (creator)