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BENZIE OLA "RUSTY" DOW (1894-1989). Papers. ca. 1910-1989. 4.2 cu. ft.

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Benzie Ola "Rusty" Scott was born in Wallis Station, Texas in 1894. She attended high school in Carlsbad, New Mexico and later moved to California. In 1934, with her parents John and Ward Scott, she moved to Alaska to join her brother Lannah Zoell Scott, who had settled a homestead in the Matanuska Valley. Having worked as a truck driver in California, Rusty operated her own trucking and transfer service in the Palmer area and between Anchorage and the Independence Mine. She married Russell W. Dow in December 1939, and moved with him to Anchorage. During World War II, Rusty Dow was a driver for the Quartermaster Corps, Colonel Benjamin Talley of the Army Engineers Area Office, and General Simon Buckner, all at Fort Richardson. In 1944, she became the first woman to drive the Alaska Military Highway from Fairbanks to Dawson Creek in the Yukon Territory and return with a load of cargo. She was also the first woman to drive through the Whittier Tunnel in November 1942. In 1947, she and her husband homesteaded a parcel of land north of the Knik River. At that time, she operated a shopping service to Anchorage. From 1950 to 1955, she worked for the Bureau of Reclamation as a clerk and operator at the Eklutna Power Plant. In 1967, her health failed and from 1972 until her death in 1989 she was a resident at the Palmer Pioneer Home. Rusty was well known in Palmer for her painting, particularly for her work with fluorescent oils. She also taught art classes at the local community college. She was active in such organizations as the Pioneers of Alaska and the Matanuska Valley Fair Board.

The collection consists primarily of papers and and photographs relating to Rusty Dow's life in Alaska. Included are biographical materials; correspondence; journals/diaries; legal documents; employment records; financial records; art work including sketches, Christmas greeting cards, and post cards; autograph books; an address book; identification cards; ski ribbons; photographs (over 1,500); Alaska Steamship Company menus; an audio cassette tape of an oral history interview; miscellaneous cards, publications, and clippings; and a leather blackjack.

The collection was presented to the archives by Em Dow. A deed of gift was signed in 1994. Other materials were added in 1996.

HMC-0397
JAS (11/1996)

Box and Folder List:

Box 1

Series 1. Biographical Materials; 1942-1989. .1 cu. ft.
1.
Miscellaneous biographical materials; n.d., 1942-1944, 1946, 1965, 1988, 1989.
-1. ‘Holing Through' Ceremony, Whittier Tunnel, November 20, 1942, Passage Canal Connection, Alaska Railroad Cut-Off (program); 1942.
-2. Holing Through the Whittier Tunnel, November 20, 1942; souvenir booklet consisting of stories and an editorial reprinted from the Anchorage Daily Times, issues of Nov. 21 and 22, 1942 (14 pp.).
-3. Reduction copy of fairwell certificate for Lt. Col. Jame D. Bush, Jr. C.E. signed by members of the Fort Richardson Army Corps of Engineers office; 1943.
-4. Letter of introduction by Corps of Engineers Transportation Officer, Captain C.H. Ax for Rusty Dow on her trucking mission on the Alaska Military Highway; June 3, 1944.
-5. Handwritten draft by Rusty Dow of her trucking mission on the Alaska Military Highway in June-July, 1944 (18pp., copy); ca. 1944 (original in Addendum box).
-6. Alaska Life: The Territorial Magazine; Vol. VII, No. 8; Aug. 1944.
-7. Hibbard School of Painting, Bearskin Neck, Rockport, Massachusetts, 1946 Session, July 1 to Sept. 1 (brochure); 1946.
-8. Matanuska Valley, Alaska; Compiled by Al Brooks and benifiting the Matanuska Valley Chamber of Commerce (58 pp. photo-illustrated booklet with cover by Rusty Dow); 1965.
-9. Alaska Legislature proclamation honoring Ola "Rusty" Dow; Feb. 19, 1988.
-10. Funeral program and personal and family record; 1989.
-11. Funeral biography (1 p.); 1989.
-12. "Rusty and Russ Dow, Sourdoughs"; by E. Borigo (copy of draft biographical article, 7pp.); n.d.
2. Newspaper and magazine clippings (copies); n.d.1942-1944, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1957, 1965-1967, 1969, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1986, 1989.
3. Original newspaper pages with biographical articles; 1942, 1944, 1949. (located in Box 13)
-1. "Is First Woman Through Bore: ‘Rusty' Dow Drives For Official Party" (Whittier Tunnel holing through ceremony); Anchorage Daily Times, p. 3; Nov. 23, 1942.
-2. "Woman Highway Trucker Arrives Here June 18: "Rusty" Dow, First Woman Trucker On Alcan, Brings Tires On Return Trip"; ‘Tailings,' Vol. 1, No. 35; pp. 1-4; June 24, 1944.
-3. "First Woman Driver on ‘Alcan' Highway Visiting Rockport: Rusty Dow (Mr. Russell), Freight Operator at Palmer, Alaska Flew Here to Study Art---Longs for Mt. McKinley"; Gloucester Daily Times, Vol. 89, No. 19,307; pp. 1, 2, 7 and 8; July 23, 1949.
-4. "Alaska's Lady Trucker Takes Boston In Tow: Rusty Dow Lets East Know Alaska Gals Not Sissies"; The Forty-Ninth Star; pp. 5, 6, 11, and 12; Aug. 14, 1949.

Series 2. Correspondence; n.d., 1942, 1947-1949, 1951, 1956, 1968, 1971, 1976. .1 cu. ft.

Series 3. Journals/Diaries; n.d., 1939-1969. .35 cu. ft.
1. Five Year Diary; n.d., 1939.
2. The Scribble-in Book; July, Aug. ca. 1940.
3. Deluxe Diary, 1940; 1940, 1944, 1948.
4. 1943 Pocket Diary; ca. 1943.
5. Thoughts and Conversation, Anchorage Alaska; Mar.-June 1944.
6. Li Rite Stenographic Notes; Nov., Dec. 1946.

Box 2

7. The Spiral Note Book; ca. late 1940s.
8. D-E-Ledger; n.d., June 1962.
9. Year Book, 1969; Jan., Feb. 1969.

Series 4. Legal Documents; 1938, 1945, 1946, 1962, 1969, , 1971, 1972. .1 cu. ft.

Series 5. Employment Records; 1946, 1954. .1 cu. ft.

Series 6. Financial Records; n.d., 1965, 1969. .1 cu. ft.
1. Expenses; n.d.
2. Alaska State Fair, Inc., Palmer, Alaska: Balance Sheet; Nov. 10, 1965.
3. Receipts and list of art post cards on consignment; 1969.

Series 7. Art; n.d., 1942-1950. .4 cu. ft.
1. Art show and art related papers; n.d., 1942, 1949, 1950.
2. Sketch book; 1943, 1944. (pencil, ink, and chalk).
3. Sketches; n.d. (located in Box 13).
  a. Color chalk.
  b. Pencil and/or pen on paper.
  c. Sepia or blue copies of sketches.
  d. Onion paper sketches.
  e. Watercolors.
  f. Oil on paper.
  g. pen, pencil, watercolor, or oil on mylar.
  h. Art clippings/examples.
4. Notes on fundamentals of clay modeling; n.d.
5. Rusty Dow Christmas greeting cards, Alaska Crippled Children's Association (5 different); n.d.
6. Rusty Dow art post cards (4 different); n.d.

Series 8. Autograph Books (2 different); n.d., 1936, 1939, 1944. .1 cu. ft.

Box 3

Series 9. Address Book; n.d., 1952. .1 cu. ft.

Series 10. Cards and Ribbons: Identification, membership, permits, ski ribbons; n.d., 1941, 1942, 1953, 1968. .1 cu. ft.

Box 4 (Album 1)

Series 11. Photographs; n.d., ca. 1910-1976. 2.25 cu. ft. (1,760 prints: 1,743 b&w, 17 color; 1,537 b&w negatives; 1,736 different images).

Subseries 11a. Scott Family Album; n.d. ( 114 b&w contact prints, 114 b&w copy negatives).
Photos of family members and friends. Most were taken in California, with a few from Alaska. Most are of Rusty and her friends. The original album is located in the Addendum box.

Subseries 11b. Scott Family Portraits. n.d., 1886. (6 b&w original prints).
Includes portrait: Mr. and Mrs. J.M. Scott.

Box 5 (Album 2) Prints

Box 6 (Album 3) Negatives

Subseries 11c. Friends and Family in California; ca. 1910-1934. (386 b&w contact prints, 386 b&w original negatives, 2 b&w original prints, 386 different images).
Photos of Rusty Scott, her family, and friends in California, where they lived in the Los Angeles area. Family members pictured include father Jack, mother Ward, and brothers Homer, Zoell, and John. Most of the photos are of Rusty in various dress. Localities include ocean beaches, houses, farms, and parks.

Box 7 (Album 4)

Subseries 11d. Alaska; ca. 1934-1945. (135 b&w contact prints, 135 b&w original negatives, 39 b&w original prints, 151 different images ).
Early photos of Rusty's life in Alaska beginning with her trip north on the U.S.S. Yukon and ending with her mail service for the Army Engineers office at Fort Richardson. Family members pictured include her parents and brother Zoell. Locations include her parents' house and farm in the Matanuska Valley, the tent city in Palmer, Independence Mine, Fort Richardson, and Anchorage.

Subseries 11e. Fort Richardson, Army Engineers Area Office n.d ., 1943. (13 b&w contact prints; 32 b&w original prints, 2.5 X 3.5 to 8 X 10 inch; 13 b&w original negatives, 2.5 X 4.5 inch; 41 different images).
This subseries includes photos of Rusty Dow, Col. Benjamin B. Talley, and other officers and staff of the engineering office at Fort Richardson. Most of these photos are not identified.

Subseries 11f. Rusty's Trip on the Alaska Military Highway between Fairbanks and Dawson Creek (30 different images); 1944.
1. Contact prints; 1944 (21b&w prints: 18-5 X 7, 2-4 X 6, and 1-4 X 5 inch).
2. Original prints; 1944 (23 b&w prints, 2.5 x 3.5 inch).
3. Original negatives; 1944 (44 b&w negatives: 16-5 X 7, 2-4 X 6, 3-4 X 5, and 23-120 size).

Subseries 11g. Rusty and the Truck She Drove from Fairbanks to Dawson Creek; Friends at Fort Richardson and Palmer; 1944. (1 b&w 8 X 10 inch contact proof sheet, 30 b&w 35mm negatives).

Box 8 (Album 5)

Subseries 11h. Rusty and the Bear Cubs; n.d. (30 b&w prints, 5 X 7 inch; 6 b&w negatives, 4 X 6 inch; 35 different images).

Subseries 11i. Rusty Dow Paintings in the Alaska Bank of Commerce Exhibit; n.d. (6 b&w prints, 5 X 7 inch).

Subseries 11j. Miscellaneous Photographs of Rusty Dow; n.d., 1957, 1960, 1975, 1976. (37 b&w and 13 color prints, 2.5 X 3.5 to 8 X 10 inch, 46 different).

Subseries 11k. Black and White Photograph Groups by Subject; n.d., 1944-1964. (898 prints, 809 negatives, 887 different images).
Note: All negatives are original unless otherwise noted.

1. 1947 Trip: Canada to Kansas; 1947 (4 original prints, 23 contact prints, 23 negatives, 23 different).
2. Alaska Railroad automobile on tracks and about 30 people posed outside of cabin; n.d. (4 contact prints, 4 negatives, 4 different).
3. Mt. Alyeska Ski Resort and U.S. Army Overland Train;ca. 1961. (12 contact prints, 12 negatives, 12 different).
4. Anchorage: Fourth of July Parade; n.d. (3 contact prints, 3 negatives).
5. Anchorage Ski Club rope tow; n.d. (10 original prints, 7 negatives, 7 different).
6. Doug Barnesby, pilot Vera Lieble, and airplane; n.d. (7 contact prints, 7 negatives, 1 original print, 7 different).
7. Bears and Dogs: two bear cubs in pen and various dogs; n.d. (18 original water-damaged prints, 12 negatives, 18 different).
8. Boat ride: boat harbor, Russ and dog Roudy aboard fishing boat at dock; n.d. (7 contact prints, 2 original prints, 7 negatives, 7 different).
9. John Bugge hauling wood on a sled; n.d.(8 contact prints, 6 original prints, 12 negatives, 12 different).
10. John Bugge; n.d.(13 contact prints, 1 original print, 13 water-damaged negatives, 13 different).

Box 9 (Album 6)

11. Gold mining mill at Moose Creek, caches, and cabins; May 1945 (11 contact prints, 5 original prints, 15 negatives, 15 different).
12. Trip to Canada: Dawson, Midnight Dome, ghost town(s), gold dredges, panning for gold,scenery, and the Dow Homestead; n.d. (7 contact prints, 39 original prints, 44 negatives, 44 different).
13. Cabins; n.d. (5 original prints, 12 negatives, 12 different).
14. Caribou & Inside Shots: man with caribou tied to car hood across from the Gitchell. Hotel in Anchorage and interior shots of a living room/studio; n.d. (4 contact prints, 4 negatives, 4 different).
15. Tram over the Chitina River; n.d.(9 contact prints, 2 original prints, 9 negatives, 9 different).
16. Cook Inlet at sunset?; n.d. (4 contact prints, 4 negatives, 4 different).
17. Copper Center (11 original water-damaged prints, 6 different).
18. Copper River Dancers, Indians; n.d.(12 original prints, 12 negatives, 12 different).
19. Copper River Dancers, bears near railroad; n.d.(12 prints, 12 negatives, some water-damaged, 12 different).
20. Dog Races; ca. 1957 (10 contact prints, 10 original water-damaged prints, and 11 water-damaged negatives, 11 different).
21. Dogs; n.d. (7 contact prints, 7 negatives, 7 different).
22. Dogs in winter: dogs, Rusty with dog, and horse pulling people on sleigh; n.d. (7 contact prints, 7 negatives, 7 different).
23. Dogs, cabins and caches, tent, and scenery; n.d. (12 contact prints, 1 original print, 12 water-damaged negatives, 12 different).
24. Lee Dow visiting Russ and Rusty at cabin on Bootleggers Cove; n.d. (6 contact prints, 6 negatives, 6 different).

Box 10 (Album 7)

25. Dow Cabin and vicinity; n.d.(11 contact prints, 4 original prints, 11 negatives, 11 different). 26. Dow Homestead: ground clearing; 1947. (10 original prints, 10 contact prints, 18 negatives, 18 different).
27. Earthquake: helicopter, new house on Dow Homestead; 1960, 1962, 1964. (9 original prints, 12 negatives, 12 different).
28. Eklutna area?: Alaska Railroad, street with train station and restaurant/post office, cabin, Rusty washing car, boy scouts at picnic area, Rusty's nephew, Knik River Valley, caribou on hood of car across from Masonic Temple in Anchorage, etc.; n.d. (44 contact prints, 44 negatives, 44 different).
29. Eklutna Job: constructing tunnel for power plant, Knik River Bridge; n.d. (10 original prints, 11 negatives, some water-damaged, 12 different).
30. Eklutna Power Plant interior, Rusty in her studio, tractor clearing field; May 1957 (11 original prints, 11 negatives, 11 different).
31. Fair pictures and flood; 1953. (12 contact prints, 12 water-damaged negatives, 12 different).
32. Fair Queen; 1953. (6 contact prints, 2 original prints, 6 negatives, 6 different).
33. Fish camp, lake, trestle bridge, and road; n.d. (11 contact prints, 1 original print, 11 negatives,11 different).
34. Gloucester, Massachusetts; 1949 (2 original prints, 10 negatives, 12 different).
35. Knik and the Little Susitna Lodge; ca. 1949 (9 original prints, 12 negatives, 12 different).
36. Knik River Bridge; n.d. (16 original prints, 16 negatives, 16 different).
37. Knik River flood; 1953. (11 water-damaged original prints, 11 contact prints, 12 water- damaged negatives, 12 different).
38. Knik River flood: removing car from river; n.d. (5 contact prints, 5 water-damaged negatives, 5 different).
39. Knik River flood, Ashby, Copper Center; n.d.( 3 contact prints, 9 original prints, 12 negatives, 12 different).

Box 11 (Album 8)

40. Knik River winter scenes; n.d. (3 contact prints, 3 negatives, 3 different).
41. Matanuska Valley Fair: Bryant Cat moving exhibit cabin; n.d. (12 contact prints, 12 water-damaged negatives, 12 different).
42. Matanuska Valley farm: old log farm buildings, geese, and haystacks in field; n.d. (4 contact prints, 4 negatives, 4 different).
43. Matanuska Valley farm, Eklutna Flats, Rusty painting building, cabins, caches, and scenery; n.d. (23 contact prints, 1 original print, 24 negatives: some water-damaged, 24 different).
44. Matanuska Valley farm, John Bugge's cabin, woman in front of airplane, and old cabins; n.d. (12 contact prints, 12 negatives: some water-damaged, 12 different).
45. Meekins Roadhouse, waterfall, and cabins; n.d.(11 contact prints, 3 original prints, 11 water-damaged negatives, 11 different).
46. Meekins Roadhouse; n.d. (11 contact prints, 11 negatives, 11 different).
47. Moose and Sled Dogs; n.d. (18 original prints, 11 negatives, 19 different).
48. Palmer tent city with Jack Scott's truck at left; ca. 1935. (1 color-tinted original print, 1 contact print, 1 copy negative).
49. Picnic near cabin on river; n.d. (10 contact prints, 3 original prints, 10 negatives, 10 different).
50. Portage Glacier: Russ and Rusty Dow; n.d. (16 contact prints, 16 negatives, 16 different).
51. View toward Portage Lake from Portage Creek?; n.d. (5 contact prints, 5 negatives, 5 different).
52. Potato harvest: Rusty Dow, Zoell Scott and family; 1945. (12 contact prints, 12 negatives, 12 different).
53. Rusty Dow: miscellaneous photographs of Rusty Dow; n.d. (14 contact prints, 14 negatives, 14 different).
54. Salmon spawning, fishwheel; n.d. (12 contact prints, 1 water-damaged original print, 12 water-damaged negatives, 12 different).
55. Scott family: miscellaneous photographs of Zoell Scott's wife Helen and their five children; n.d. (8 contact prints, 8 negatives, 8 different).
56. Jack Scott visiting at cabin on Bootleggers Cove in winter and dogs; n.d. (14 contact prints, 1 original print, 14 negatives, 14 different).

Box 12 (Album 9)

57. Jack Scott and Rusty at train station; Jack Scott, Zoell and Helen Scott, and Russ and
Rusty Dow near cabin on Bootleggers Cove; n.d. (5 contact prints, 5 negatives, 5 different).
58. Rusty's nephew, dog Roudy, and parrot; n.d. (9 contact prints, 9 negatives, 9 different).
59. Sheep Mountain Lodge, Tazlina Lodge, and Dow Homestead; n.d. (12 contact prints, 1 original print, 12 negatives, 13 different).
60. Sled-dogs, Russ and Rusty with old white horse; n.d. (10 contact prints, 2 original prints, 10 water-damaged negatives, 10 different).
61. Snow Slides; June 1949, ca. 1961. (2 contact prints, 4 original prints, 5 negatives: some water-damaged, 5 different).
62. St. Michael village and McGrath; 1956 (35 original prints, 1 contact proof sheet, 24 negatives, 47 different).
63. Talkeetna, Copper Center Lodge; n.d. (20 original prints, 23 negatives, 23 different).
64. Talkeetna; 1965. (10 original prints, 11 negatives, 11 different).
65. Taos, New Mexico; ca. 1957. (12 original prints, 13 negatives, all water-damaged, 13 different).
66. Waterfall; n.d. (3 contact prints, 3 negatives, 3 different).
67. Westein truck: Rusty on the running board of dump truck; 1945. (3 original prints, 2 different).
68. Whaling village; photographer unknown; n.d. (9 contact prints, 9 negatives, 9 different).
69. Clearing field with a tractor, fishing boat; ca. 1957. (9 contact prints, 10 negatives: some water-damaged, 10 different).
70. Miscellaneous photographs: old wagons, General Richardson memorial near highway, Rusty and unidentified man, military police on ski hill, man feeding pigeons, cabin on Bootleggers Cove, street in Valdez, small dam, dog Roudy on car hood, and Rusty and five men; natives and sled dogs; Rusty, parrot, and friends in 1939; n.d., 1939. (15 contact prints, 16 original prints, 15 negatives; 17-35mm negatives in Addendum box, curled; 39 different).
71. Unidentified set: Rusty and dogs on bench, caches, old cabins, docks, waterfall, and Copper Center Lodge; n.d. (11 contact prints, 2 original print, 11 negatives: some water-damaged, 11 different ).
72. Unidentified set: people at party or picnic, old cabins, new cabin, and moose. n.d. (6 original rints, 9 negatives, all water-damaged, 11 different).
73. Miscellaneous 8 X 10 inch prints; n.d. (5 original prints, 3 different). Portage Glacier; Dow cabin on Bootleggers Cove in winter; Jack Scott home in winter (3 prints, 1 color-tinted).
74. Painting: pack horses, Mt. McKinley; n.d. (2 negatives).

Subseries 11l. Color Photographs; n.d., 1981. (4 prints).
1. Rusty's truck in State Fair parade at Palmer Pioneer Home; n.d. (8 X 10 inch print).
2. Painting of red-headed nude; 1978. (8 X 8 inch print).
3. Stage scenery at Hillside School and ornaments cut from tin cans; Dec. 1962. (2 prints, 3.5 X 5 inch).

Box 3

Series 12. Alaska Steamship Company Menus, Itinerary; 1941-1952. .1 cu. ft.
1. Menu, S.S. Northwestern; Mar. 24, 1931.
2. Menus, S.S. Yukon; Mar.-Apr. 1932.
3. Menus, S.S. Yukon; May 21-23, 1935.
4. Menus, S.S. Columbia; Mar. 26, 27, Apr. 7, 8, 10, 1941.
5. Menus, S.S. Baranof; Jan.-May 1942, Jan. 1952.
6. The Yukon Trail, S.S. Yukon, "Itinerary of Your Alaskan Tour"; ca. 1932.

Series 13. Audio Cassette Tape: Oral History Interview; 1980. .1 cu. ft.
Copy of Oral History of Alaskan Pioneer Women interview of Rusty Dow with Russ Dow present. Interview conducted by Maria Brooks at Palmer on Aug. 3, 1980.

Series 14. Miscellaneous Cards, Publications and Clippings; n.d., 1940-1986. .1 cu. ft.
1. Alaska Crippled Children's Association Christmas greeting cards by others. n.d. (5 different).
2. Christmas greeting cards--unsigned; n.d. (7 different).
3. Miscellaneous publications and clippings; n.d., 1941, 1961, 1976, 1986.
Includes newspaper articles on the U.S. Army Overland Train and a snowslide south of the Knik River bridge on the Glenn Highway in April of 1961, as well as a photo greeting card entitled, Season's Greetings from Alaska, Anchorage, 1941.

Series 15. Artifact(s); ca. 1930s.
1. Leather blackjack (black, 8 inch long with 8 inch strap); ca. 1930s (Located in display case in archives reading room).
2. Pince-nez glasses in case; n.d. Addendum