Skip navigation

Historical Manuscripts Collection List »

Guide to the John Andrew Higgins papers
1914-1950, bulk 1942-1946

Collection number: HMC-0538.
Creator: Higgins, John Andrew.
Title: John Andrew Higgins papers.
Dates: 1914-1950, bulk 1942-1946.
Volume of collection: 0.50 cubic feet. 
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.  
Collection summary: Photographs and news articles of a U.S. Navy Seabee stationed in Alaska during WWII.  

Biographical note:
John Andrew Higgins served in the Seabees branch of the United States Navy during World War II. He was recruited in Boston, Massachusetts, and originally trained at Camp Endicott in Davisville, Rhode Island (70th Battalion, Company A, Fleet 3, Naval Construction Training Center), in 1942-1943. Higgins was a lighterman involved in the invasion of Sicily in 1943. He returned to New York in 1944, and was working in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, supply center for construction of the Alaska Highway, in 1945. Higgins then worked constructing naval facilities on the Bermuda Islands in 1945-1946.

Collection description:
The collection consists of the World War II era scrapbook of U.S. Navy Seabee John Andrew Higgins. The 63 page scrapbook contains clippings, photographs, and personal items concerning Higgins' activities from 1942-1946, along with some loose items placed in the scrapbook. A xerographic copy was made of the original scrapbook and most of the photographs were removed and placed in an album. The clippings are from magazines and other publications, and include coverage of the allied invasion of Sicily in 1943, the building of the Alaska Highway in 1942, the retaking of Attu and Kiska Islands in the Aleutians in 1943, and the Bermuda Islands. The 158 photographs and 6 negatives include those of John A. Higgins and fellow seamen; scenes from the building of the Alaska Highway; coworkers, construction and supply facilities, and the CANOL oil refinery in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory; views of a railroad engine and plow clearing snow from the White Pass and Yukon Railway; Higgins and coworkers in Saint George's, Hamilton, and Greystones, Bermuda; and various scenic images of the Whitehorse area, Canada, Alaska, and the Bermuda Islands. Personal items mounted in the scrapbook include identification and membership cards, service ribbons, leave and liberty requests, a 1943 Thanksgiving dinner menu from the 51st Station Hospital in North Africa, ticket stubs, baggage tags, and a meal pass. Loose items placed with the scrapbook include a mounted photograph (split in two) of a Wallace School elementary class from 1914; a tour diary and school report by Carolina Pizzano from 1926-1927; an aerial photograph of the University of Alaska campus in College removed from a publication; a clipping from the Yukon Winter Carnival in Whitehorse from March 1945; a Don C. Knudsen photograph of Wonder Lake in McKinley National Park from 1943; 7 photographs of Higgins' wife and children from 1946 and 1950; and 6 black and white photograph negatives of Higgins in Bermuda in 1945-1946. In addition, there are 14 black and white 4 x 5 copy negatives made from selected prints in the collection.

Arrangement: The collection is arranged by records type. Photographs that were taken out of the scrapbook were rearranged by size.

Alternative formats: A Xerox copy of the original scrapbook is available. Copy negatives of selected prints are also available.

Digitized copies: Digital copies of collection material not available online. For information about obtaining digital copies, please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Rights note: Archives does not hold copyright to materials in this collection.

Preferred citation: John Andrew Higgins papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Acquisition note: This collection was purchased from eBay in 2001.

Processing information: The collection was described, photographs removed from the scrapbook, and rearranged by Jeffrey Sinnott in 2001. The collection was converted to current standard by Veronica Denison in 2014.