Every so often we get a request about some “Palmer Colony” records we’re supposed to have. Or more exactly, the records of the Alaska Rural Rehabilitation Corporation–the federal agency involved with the establishment of the agricultural colony out at Palmer.
It’s a fascinating request from the perspective of memory longevity. See, years ago, there were several boxes of these records at Alaska Pacific University (long enough ago, that it might even still have been Alaska Methodist University.) And eventually they transferred them to the Consortium Library–since we’re the UAA/APU Consortium Library–and hence to the Archives here.
Where they sat for a very very short period of time before one of our archivists took a look at them and realized they were federal record. Which meant that we could not keep them: we don’t take in records for federal government agencies since the federal government has an archives all its own with a mission to care for and provide access to these records. So we transferred them to the National Archives branch here in Anchorage where they are now, just as they should be.
All that happened before my time here. Way before my time here and I’ve been here about 10 years. But about twice a year, we still get a call or email from somebody who heard from somebody else that we have these records. See what I mean about the longevity of memory?
But that doesn’t mean we don’t have records on the topic of the Colony! In fact, we have enough related–and it’s a frequent enough question–that we created a guide to some of the collections that have materials about the area from back in the day when it was the colony.
So there you go. Next time you’re looking for Palmer Colony materials, you know of at least two archives to visit! And there’s more, too, in Palmer, at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, and all over the state. Don’t forget to search the Alaska’s Digital Archives to see a few photographs, if you’re in a hurry and don’t have the time to visit and spend a few hours looking through lots of things.