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Juneau-Douglas City Museum

A Few Words about the Project and Bob

The Bob DeArmond Alaska History Project (Digital Bob) began in 2004 and is the result of work by Juneau-Douglas City Museum Director Jane Lindsey, Curator of Collections and Exhibits Ellen Carrlee, and, volunteers: Anne Castle, Rich Cormack, and Anne Schultz.


The Museum found that "historical research" was ranked highly in public perception of the Museum's purpose. Volunteer Mike Blackwell had an idea that was hard to resist: a searchable Web database of Bob DeArmond's writings.

Bob's columns (Days of Yore, News of the Gold Camp, and Gastineau Bygones) document the growth of both of our towns: the rowdy days of the gold camps, the world's largest hard-rock gold mines, small-town rivalries, Native rights, fishing, timber, territorial government, capital city issues, statehood, and everything else. We think that Bob portrays Juneau-Douglas for what it is--extraordinary--and that his factual accounts can shed light on current events.


The Bob DeArmond Alaska History Project was an undertaking of the Juneau-Douglas City Museum.  Its objectives has been to recognize the achievement of one of our favorite historians, and of making his non-book writings readily accessible to the public.  Bob died in 2010 at the age of 99. 


Anyone embarking on an historical inquiry in Southeast Alaska (and other parts of the State) benefit from the late R. N. (Bob) DeArmond’s work.  For more than 70 years, Bob researched, wrote, edited, published, corresponded and advised on all topics historical that pertain to our region.  He authored or edited 17 books and wrote uncountable newspaper columns and magazine contributions.  His accomplishments, to list a few, include an entry in the 1927 Alaska flag contest, rowing from Sitka to Tacoma in a dory to go to college, serving as editor of Alaska Sportsman (now Alaska Magazine) and Alaska Journal, and as administrative assistant to Territorial Governor Frank Heintzleman.   


Bob’s research for these articles was done primarily in the Alaska Historical Library founded in the 1890s by one of Alaska’s district governors.  It continued as the Territorial Library and is now the State of Alaska Library Historical Division.  According to Bob, “It had bound volumes of virtually all Alaska newspapers and these are now on microfilm.  It also had and has bound volumes of nearly all reports and paper of departments and agencies of the Federal Government that relate to Alaska, from 1867.  Many of the reports were collected by James Wickersham while he was a delegate in Congress from Alaska, and all of his collection is in the State Library, bound in red leather.” Bob was a prolific researcher and writer, and the archives now available on our site are incomplete.  We’ll keep at it, with the efforts of our stalwart volunteers.  


Anne Castle gave us a head start--she had been already digitizing Gastineau Bygones from Juneau Empires that an acquaintance, Sue Hirsch Brock, had given her. The Juneau Empire gave us permission to reproduce Gastineau Bygones and News of the Gold Camp, for educational use. The Alaska State Historical Library gave us permission to copy photos for Bob's scrapbook. Webmaster Patrick McGonegal cheerfully signed up to help us build a database and patiently endured questions from the technically challenged. Under Ellen's supervision, interns Katie Mahoney and Crisitina Smiraglia, converted the Days of Yore articles into formatted text and entered them into the database. Volunteers Rich Cormack entered Gastineau Bygones, and Anne Schultz entered News of the Gold Camp.