Inside the Archives: What are you working on ? (11/2011)


The Ted Stevens Papers Project requires a team effort on the part of the faculty and staff of the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections of the Rasmuson Library where the Stevens Papers reside. This week we asked Elsie Eckman, Stevens Project Assistant, “What are you working on?

My name is Elsie Eckman and I am the Ted Stevens Project Assistant. To date, most of my time has been taken up with processing the photograph collection of Ted Stevens, which has been very interesting. I input information about the photographs into our database, including date, creator, original box number, series, peoples’ names, location, notes about the event, and any Library of Congress subject heading associated with the person or event. Some of the photos are attached to a form that Stevens’ staff created, and sometimes information is given with the date, creator,location and event. When this information is not given, in some instances I can identify the persons, and research the date and place if it was a notable event. In some cases I can even correct the spelling of a place or name, for example, my Uncle Robert is pictured with Stevens along with other Native Corporation leaders, and his last name was misspelled by Stevens’ staff.

The Ted Stevens Project archivist and I go to the warehouse several times a month and we process boxes there, including legislative material, casework, correspondence, news clippings, and memorabilia from his office. I’ve also had an opportunity to present at an Alaska Historical Society conference in Valdez. The conference theme was Northern Waters, so I researched Stevens’ involvement in marine and inland water issues, and was able to share some photographs and other printed material as artifacts from the collection as I recapped our Senator’s influence.
It has been very interesting to come across photos of Stevens with world leaders, with famous people, both celebrities and history makers. I have gotten a glimpse into the Stevens’ private lives with family photos and personal artifacts. I have increased my understanding of the scope of a senator’s legislative work and influence, and how Stevens has transformed the quality of life in Alaska.

We are starting to post a photo of the month, and our photo this month was taken in 1978 and shows Stevens’ Mobile office at Bridal Veil Falls near Valdez.