Archie W. Shiels papers, 1790-1965  PDF  XML

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Shiels, Archie W. (Archibald Williamson)
Title
Archie W. Shiels papers
Dates
1790-1965 (inclusive)
1850-1950 (bulk)
Quantity
9.5 linear ft.
Collection Number
XOE_CPNWS0232shiels (collection)
Summary
Archie W. Shiels was both a maker and a recorder of Alaskan history and folklore, and former president of Pacific American Fisheries. His papers consist of research material, publications, personal papers, maps and charts dating from around 1790 to 1965. The documents reference a number of topics primarily related to Russian America, the Alaskan Territory, and the State of Alaska, including boundary disputes and the Bering Sea controversy regarding fur seal fishing. Other topics include Alaska Natives’ fishing rights, maritime navigation, oil, geology, and transportation throughout Alaska, Canada, and the Pacific Northwest.
Repository
Western Washington University, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies
Goltz-Murray Archives Building
808 25th St.
Bellingham, WA
98225
Telephone: 360-650-7534
cpnws@wwu.edu
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public.

Languages
English.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Archie W. (Archibald Williamson) Shiels was born May 26, 1878, in Edinburgh, Scotland, son to Thomas and Mary Hannah Shiels. He came to the United States in 1893, originally working as a purser on a steamship. Between 1893 and 1916, Shiels became closely involved with early railroad construction in Alaska. As chief of staff to railroad contractor Michael James (M.J.) Heney, Shiels supervised the construction of a railroad line between Skagway, Alaska and White Horse in Canada’s Yukon Territory. He later became involved in the construction of the Copper River and North Western Railroad, which traveled nearly 200 miles from Cordova in Southeastern Alaska to the interior of the state. Shiels joined the Pacific American Fisheries in 1916, and served as President of the company from 1930-1946. He retired from business in 1950.

Shiels had an avid interest in Russian America and Alaska. He collected a vast amount of informational material, from which he researched and wrote many historical manuscripts, books, and speeches.

Shiels died in Bellingham in September of 1974. He was ninety-six years old.

Sources: Bellingham Herald, “Deaths and Funerals: Archie Shiels,” 1974 September 6. Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, original biographical note, circa 1957 (available in-house at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies). Koert, Dorothy and Galen Biery. Looking Back – The Collectors Edition: Memories of Whatcom County/Bellingham. Bellingham, WA: Grandpa’s Attic (2003).

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Archie W. Shiels papers consist of research material, publications, personal papers, maps and charts dating from around 1790 to 1965. The bulk of the materials date from around 1850 to 1950.

Research materials date from circa 1797 to 1964, and represent the background sources Shiels used for writing his many manuscripts, books, and speeches. The documents reference a number of topics primarily related to Pacific Northwestern history and, in particular, Russian America, the Alaskan Territory, and the State of Alaska. Specific subjects include Alaska's annexation to the United States and its eventual statehood, subsequent boundary disputes, as well as the Bering Sea controversy regarding fur seal fishing. Other topics cover the fishing and fur industries in Russia and Alaska, Alaska Natives’ fishing rights, maritime and navigation, oil and geology, and transportation throughout Alaska, Canada, and the Pacific Northwest.

Publications date from around 1846 to 1965, and contain items authored by Shiels and other individuals that are related to Alaskan topics and the Pacific American Fisheries company. Some of the rarer books written by Shiels included Seward’s Ice Box: A Few Notes on the Development of Alaska, 1867-1931 (written in 1933), and The Early History of Canned Foods (written in 1940). Other authors’ works include Lieutenant L.A. Zagoskin’s Account of Pedestrian Journeys in the Russian Possessions in America (undated), and J.M. Shively’s “Route and Distances to Oregon and California with a Description of Watering Places, Crossing, Dangerous Indians, etc. (written in 1846).

Personal papers date from circa 1800 to 1962, and include documents belonging to Shiels, but generally unrelated to his research regarding Alaskan history. For example, these materials include a number of documents created by and/or retained by Shiels during his tenure at the Pacific American Fisheries. Cannery blueprints, canning industry publications, and a letter from Filipino cannery workers protesting their working conditions are a few examples of items located in Shiels’ personal papers. Additionally, there are photographs and negatives documenting Shiels’ career and personal life, and other Northwestern themes.

Maps and charts date from around 1910 to 1944, and comprise early representations of Alaskan, Canadian, and Pacific Northwestern territories, cities, and surrounding areas. Some of the maps relate to early transportation in these regions, including maritime, railroad, and highway routes.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

Archie W. Shiels papers, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Heritage Resources, Western Washington University, Bellingham WA 98225-9123.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Arrangement

The Archie W. Shiels papers are organized according to the following series arrangement:

  • Series I. Research Material, circa 1797-1964
    • Subseries 1: Alaska, Canada, and Pacific Northwest reference material, 1797-1947
    • Subseries 2: Alaska Natives reference material, 1930-1950
    • Subseries 3: Alaska Purchase, Boundary disputes, and statehood reference material, 1860-1950
    • Subseries 4: Bering Sea Arbitration reference material, 1890-1896
    • Subseries 5: Fishing and Fur Industries reference material, 1901-1944
    • Subseries6: Maritime Navigation reference material, 1931-1943
    • Subseries 7: Oil and Geology reference material, 1930-1935
    • Subseries 8: Transportation reference material, 1930-1965
  • Series II. Publications and Writings, circa 1846-1965
    • Subseries 1: Publications and Writings by Shiels, 1920-1965
    • Subseries 2: Publications and writings by other authors, 1846-1934
  • Series III. Personal Papers, circa 1800-1962
    • Subseries 1: Pacific American Fisheries material, 1930-1962
    • Subseries 2: Photographs and Negatives, 1910-1933
  • Series IV. Maps and Charts, circa 1910-1944

Acquisition Information

Most of the research material, including maps, charts, and some original manuscript material, was donated (presumably to Western Washington University) in 1957 by Archie W. Shiels. He donated additional materials to the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies in 1971. A few of Shiels' rarer books were donated in 1995 by Dr. Robert L. Monahan. Previously, these books belonged to James Scott who was Shiels' secretary at one time. In 2009, additional rare books were donated by the archives of the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Elmer E. Rasmuson Library.

Processing Note

Duplicates and non-archival materials were removed from the collection.

Appraisal Notes

Acquisition records indicate that some materials were removed from the collection.


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Series I :  Research Materialcirca 1797-1964Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Subseries 1: Alaska, Canada, and Pacific Northwest reference material
1797-1947
Box/Folder
1/1-1/2
General reference material - Alaska
circa 1850s-1940s
1/3
General reference material - Canada
circa 1930s
1/4
General reference material - Pacific Northwest
circa 1920s-1940s
1/5
Alaska and Northwest biographies
circa 1797-1947
1/6
Census of Sitka, Alaska (photostat copy)
1870
2/1-2/2
Exploration of Alaska and Canada reference material
circa 1790s-1930s
2/3
National Resources Committee, Alaska Resources Committee - "Alaska: Its Resources and Development"
1937 December
oversize-box
OV/1
Preston Times - re-prints of "Off to... Alaska"
circa 1939
Box/Folder
2/4
Rampart Miner (publication from Rampart City, Alaska
1901-1902
Subseries 2: Alaska Natives reference material
1930-1950
Box/Folder
2/5
General reference material
circa 1930s-1940s
2/6-2/7
Alaska Natives fishing rights reference material
circa 1930s-1940s
3/1
Arnold, W.C. - "The Hydaburg Indian Reservation - Its Background, Validity, and Effect"
1950 December 21
3/2
Gsovski, V. - "Russian Material Available in the Library of Congress on the Tlingit and Haida Indians of Alaska"
1940
3/3
"Indians at Work"
1944 September-October
3/4
Kerry, McCord, & Carey - "Opinion Relative to Indian Fishing Rights in Alaska"
1942 October
3/5
Paul, William L. - "Historical and Legal Materials Relative to the Tlingit and Haida Claims Act of 1935"
1939 May
Subseries 3: Alaska Purchase, boundary disputes, and statehood reference material
1860-1950
Box/Folder
3/6
General reference material
circa 1860s-1950s
4/1
"Alaska Statehood - Hearings Before the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, United States Senate"
1950
4/2
Congressional Globe - "Speeches and Debates Pertaining to the Purchase of Alaska (First, Second, and Third Sessions of the 40th Congress, 1867-1869)
1867-1869
oversize-box
OV/2
National Archives and Records Administration - photostate copies of original documents dealing with the transfer of Russian America to the United States
circa 1867-1869
Volume
Volume 1
National Archives and Records Adminsitration - photostat copies of original maps dealing with the transfer of Russian America to the United States
circa 1867-1869
Volume 2
Photostat copies of original maps of Sitka during the transfer of Russian America to the United States
circa 1867-1869
Box/Folder
4/3
Seward, W.H., et. al. - "Complete Correspondence Regarding the Purchase of Russian Alaska: Early History, Topography, Climate, Indians, Value, etc."
1897
4/4
U.S. Embassy and Russia - "Papers Relating to the Cession of Alaska, 1956-1964" (microfilm)
undated
oversize-box
OV/3
Washburn, C.C. - "Speech on the Treaty with Russia for the Purchase of Russian America"
1867 December 11
Subseries 4: Bering Sea Arbitration reference material
1890-1896
Publications from Her and His Majesty's Stationary Office (Great Britain)
Box/Folder
5/1
"Award of the Tribunal of Arbitration"
1893 August
5/2
"Correspondence Respecting Claims for Compensation on Account of British Vessels Seized in Behring Sea by United States' Cruisers"
1895 September
5/3
"Correspondence Respecting the Alaska Boundary"
1904 January
5/4
"Correspondence Respecting the Behring Sea Seal Fisheries, 1886-1890"
1890 August
5/5
"Correspondence Respecting the Seizures of British Sealing Vessels by Russian Cruizers in the North Pacific Ocean"
1893 June
5/6
"Map of the Northern Portion of the North Pacific Ocean"
1893 March
5/7
"Papers Relating to the Proceedings of the Tribunal of Arbitration"
1893 September
5/8
"Report by Professor D'Arcy Thompson on His Mission to Behring Sea in 1896"
1897 March 4
5/9
"Report of the Behring Sea Commission, and Report of British Commissioners of June 21, 1892, with five maps and diagrams, and appendices"
1892 March
5/10
"Telegraphic Correspondence Respecting Seal Fishing in Behring's Sea during the Season of 1892"
1892 March
Box/Folder
5/11
Morse, William H. - "The Bering Sea Controversy"
undated
Subseries 5: Fishing and Fur Industries reference material
1901-1944
Box/Folder
6/1-6/2
General reference material
circa 1930s-1940s
6/3-6/5
Department of Commerce: Bureau of Fisheries - reports on the salmon, fish, and fur industries in Alaska
1901-1913
7/1-7/6
Department of Commerce: Bureau of Fisheries - reports on the salmon, fish, and fur industries in Alaska
1914-1937
8/1
Department of Commerce: Bureau of Fisheries - reports on the salmon, fish, and fur industries in Alaska
1938-1944
8/2
Howay, F.W. (Royal Society of Canada) - "List of Trading Vessels in the Maritime Fur Trade, 1795-1804;" and "List of Trading Vessels in the Maritime Fur Trade, 1815-1819"
1931; ; 1933
Subseries 6: Maritime Navigation reference material
1931-1943
oversize-box
OV/4
Dall, William H. - "Bering's First Expedition, 1725-1730 - A Critical Review and a Translation of His Original Report"
undated
Box/Folder
8/3
Royal Canadian Mounted Police - "Reports and other papers relating to the Two Voyages of the R.C.M. Police Schooner 'St. Roch'"
1945
8/4
U.S. Coast Guard - "Nautical Rules of the Road"
1943
8/5
U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Navigation - "Steam Vessels Built in the United States, 1807-1856"
1931
8/6
U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings
1931 July
Subseries 7: Oil and Geology reference material
1930-1935
Box/Folder
8/7
Kindle, E.M. - "The Geological Story of Jasper National Park, Canada"
circa 1930s
8/8
Maillot, E.E. - "Geologic History of the Gravel, Muck and Ice Deposits in the Fairbanks District"
1935 March 21
8/9
Standard Oil Bulletin
1931 December
8/10
Vesper, H.G., President of Standard Oil Company of California - remarks to the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce: "Alaska's Promise of Oil"
1931 October 31
Subseries 8: Transportation reference material
1930s-1965
Box/Folder
8/11-8/13
General reference material
circa 1930s-1960s

Series II :  Publications and Writingscirca 1846-1965Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Subseries 1: Publications and Writings by Shiels
1920-1965
Box/Folder
9/1-9/3
General reference material for and including stories, manuscripts, and historical addresses
circa 1920s-1940s
9/4
"Alaska's First Ten Years Under the Stars and Stripes (1867-1877)"
undated
9/5
"Alaskan History Prior to 1897"
undated
9/6
History of Christmas in Many Lands
1956
9/7
"Pax Vobiscum Tillicum, Johnnie O'Brien - Dean of Shipmasters of the Pacific"
undated
9/8
Russian America and the Purchase of Alaska
1949
10/1
Seward's Icebox: A Few Notes on the Development of Alaska, 1867-1931
1933
10/2
"Short History of Transportation to and within the Territory of Alaska, 1897-1908"
1950
10/3
Tell Me A Stowry
1948
10/4
Tell Me A Stowry
undated
10/5
The Early History of Canned Foods
1940
10/6
The Purchase of Alaska
1965
11/1
"Work of the Bureau of Education in Alaska"
undated
Subseries 2: Publications and Writings by other authors
1946-1934
Box/Folder
11/2
Donham, Wallace B. and R.S. Meriam - "Notes on recovery"
1934
11/3
Gray, A.A., Francis Farquhar, and William S. Lewis - "Camels in Western America"
1930
oversize-box
OV/5
"Launch of the Queen Mary in the presence of Their Majesties the King & Queen, Wednesday, September 26, 1934 at Clydebank" (commemorative book)
1934
Box/Folder
11/4
"Phillippine Maps from the Time of Magellan"
undated
11/5
Second Wuxtra - publication from the Seattle Press Club (includes President Taft's message to the newspaper men of Seattle)
1911 November 1-2
oversize-box
OV/6
Shively, J.M. - "Route and Distances to Oregon and California with a Description of Watering Places, Crossings, Dangerous Indians, etc."
1846
Box/Folder
12/1
Zagoskin, Lieutenant L.A. - Account of Pedestrian Journeys in the Russian Possessions in America
undated

Series III :  Personal Paperscirca 1800-1962Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Subseries 1: Pacific American Fisheries material
1930-1962
Box/Folder
12/2
Blueprints - S.S. North King
1930
Folder
M/1
Cannery blueprints of Ikaton, Port Moller, and Squaw Harbor, AK
1932
Box/Folder
12/3
Cannery blueprint - unidentified
undated
12/4
16mm film reels - 16mm
undated
12/5
Letter from Filipino cannery workers protesting the conditions at the Pacific American Fisheries cannery in Nushagak, AK
1933 June
12/6
Pafishco News
1962
Subseries 2: Photographs and Negatives
1910-1933
Box/Folder
12/7-12/9
Miscellaneous photographs and negatives
circa 1910s-1940s
13/1
Negatives depicting scenic and family portraits, and images by photographer Bert Huntoon
circa 1930s
13/2
Photograph album depicting scenes from Alaskan canneries and other sites, mostly idenitified
circa 1930
13/3-13/4
Photograph album with duplicates of images depicting Washington and Alaskan scenes from circa 1800s-1880s, including early Seattle photographs, and corresponding negatives
undated
Box/Folder
13/5
Old books - Christian diary; unidentified
1650; ; undated
13/6
Scrip from the Tenino Chamber of Commerce for the amount of twenty-five cents
1933 April

Series IV :  Maps and Chartscirca 1910-1944Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Folder
M/2
British Columbia and Southeast Alaska map
undated
M/3
British Columbia Highway Travel map
1930
M/4
Fairbanks Great Circle map showing proposed location of the Pacific-Yukon Highway, and accompanying documents
1930
M/5
Northern British Columbia
1933
M/6
Orcas Island and surrounding islands
1941
M/7
Pacific Coast funnel chart showing the funnel designs for many ships frequenting the Pacific
1928
M/8
Pacific-Yukon international highway-airway map
undated
M/9
Puget Sound Country and Vicinity map from the Inland Navigation Company
1910
M/10
Queen Charlotte Island map
1927
M/11
Southeastern Alaska map
1944
M/12
United States - routes of principle explorers (1498-1699; 1700-1852)
undated

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Alaska Annexation to the United States--History--Sources.
  • Bering Sea controversy--History--Sources.
  • Fisheries--Alaska--History--Sources.
  • Fisheries--Russia--History--Sources.
  • Fur trade--Alaska--History--Sources.
  • Fur trade--Russia--History--Sources.
  • Pacific American Fisheries--History--Sources.
  • Statehood (American politics)--Alaska--History--Sources.
  • Transportation--Alaska--History--Sources.

Personal Names

  • Shiels, Archie W. (Archibald Williamson)--Archives.

Geographical Names

  • Alaska--History--Sources.
  • Canada--History--Sources.
  • Northwest, Pacific--History--Sources.
  • Russia--History--Sources.