Special Collections and Archives blog

November 14, 2018
by special collections & archives

NAU Student Veterans Oral History Project

Arizona State Teachers College, Navy V-12 Program Drill Exercises, 1944. Photo courtesy Northern Arizona University, Cline Library, Special Collections and Archives, University Archives.

The Cline Library Special Collections and Archives partnered with NAU Student Veterans Services to develop an oral history project. The purpose of this oral history project is to record and preserve the unique perspectives of our diverse student veterans as they reflect upon their military service and subsequent transition to civilian life/academia. This project is one of the few in America attempting to capture the voices and stories of the student veterans. 

NAU Student Veteran Services. Image courtesy of NAU Student Veteran Services.

Our student veterans experiences are unique and inspiring, and we want to preserve and make available their experiences for the historical record and for future student veterans. The project began in the spring semester of 2018, and to-date, we have captured eight oral histories of NAU veterans from World War II and the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

Zachary Hamilton, Veteran, NAU Alumni, and Coordinator at NAU Student Veteran Services. Image courtesy of NAU Student Veteran Services.

We would like to highlight the first student veteran oral history we conducted as part of this project. Zachery Hamilton served two tours in Afghanistan in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. Following his service, Zachary enrolled at NAU in 2013. While at NAU, Zach became involved with Student Veteran Services. His involvement eventually led to a full-time position in that department, where he works today. To see and listen to Zach’s interview, please visit the digital archives at the Cline Library here and here.

If there are any NAU student or alumni veterans that would like to participate in this project, we would like to hear from you. Please send us an email at Vets.OralHistory@nau.edu.

The NAU Student Veteran Oral History project is a collaborative effort between the Cline Library Special Collections and Archives, NAU Student Veteran Services, and most importantly, the student veterans. I would like to take a moment to thank all the participants in this project:

NAU Student Veterans

Zachary Hamilton

Seth Alexander

Ashley Peddie

Elena Giordano

Howard Wren (WW II, Navy V-12 veteran, interview coming soon!)

Amanda McNair (Interview coming soon!)

Joey Yazzie (Interview coming soon!)

NAU Veteran Services Staff (Pete Yanka, Laurie Jordan, Scott Heflin, and Zach Hamilton – interview coming soon!)

NAU Veteran Student Services

Pete Yanka, Director of NAU Student Veteran Services

Steve Smith, lecturer and interviewer, co-project manager, retired US NAVY

Laurie Jordan, Assistant Director of NAU Student Veteran Services

Zach Hamilton, FCB-VSC Coordinator

Cline Library Special Collections and Archives

Peter Runge, Head of Special Collections and Archives and co-project manager

Cindy Summers, Library Specialist, Sr., Student Assistant, Cline Library Special Collections and Archives

Britney Bibeault, Student Assistant, Cline Library Special Collections and Archives

Mowana Lomaomvaya, Student Assistant, Cline Library Special Collections and Archives

Will McMullen, Student Assistant, Cline Library Special Collections and Archives

Ryan Hitt, Student Assistant, Cline Library Special Collections and Archives

Zach Mauck, Student Assistant, Cline Library Special Collections and Archives

Amelia Loeber, Student Assistant, Cline Library Special Collections and Archives


October 10, 2018
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on The Doing of the Thing…

The Doing of the Thing…

The Doing of the Thing…


It’s that time of the year when SCA installs its annual exhibit. This year’s exhibit is titled “Splendor and Spectacle: The 100 Year Journey of the Grand Canyon National Park.” The past few weeks have been filled with excitement and a palpable buzz in the department as we being printing, matting, framing, and installing the pieces of the exhibit. This year, we’ve added a twist to our exhibits and we’re including two historic boats as part of the story.

Leslie “Buckethead” Jones, sitting in his aluminum kayak with a Go Pro prototype

Les Jones’ hand built kayak. Yes, he actually took this down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon!

Our good friends at the Grand Canyon National Park Museum (Kim and Colleen), were kind enough to loan us Leslie Jones’ 17’ aluminum kayak. For those of you unfamiliar with Les Jones, he was known on the river as “Buckethead Jones” and was the creator the Colorado River scroll map. Les built his aluminum kayak, running most rivers solo, and taking movies from a camera mounted on a football helmet, ergo “Buckethead.” By the early 1950s, Les began taping USGS maps together and filling in the missing contours. Les began using aerial photos, USGS maps and his own drawings and notes to trace and draw detailed maps on a scroll paper strips 7-10 inches wide. The maps were not waterproof and faded in sunlight, so they had to be protected from water and sunlight. Later his maps were copied onto waterproof mylar. Jones copied a river profile on the map above the river segments, labeling rapids and features on both. The maps contained rapid ratings, drawings of major rapids, Powell and other historic river camps, historic inscriptions and other detailed information. Les’ maps were some of the first maps to contain conservation messages.

The stunning Julius, sitting on a trailer in the parking lot of the Cline Library

River runner, author, boat builder, oar maker, and historian Brad Dimock loaned us his replica of the Buzz Holmstrom’s historic Julius. In 1937 Buzz built his own boat and rowed it down the Green and Colorado rivers by himself! Buzz made the 1,100 mile journey in 52 days, running nearly every rapid. Although Buzz’s Julius F has long since been reclaimed by nature, Brad Dimock used historic photographs, his river running knowledge, and his extraordinary boat building skills to build a replica. Brad has rowed over 4,000 miles in the Julius since building it 2002. He kindly loaned us his Julius for our exhibit and now it sits comfortably in Special Collections and Archives.

The man…Buzz Holmstrom, sitting on the deck of the Julius

Brad contemplating the latest chapter of the Julius


Now getting the Julius into the library and Special Collections and Archives was a bit of a feat. The Julius weighs in at 476 pounds and I don’t care how many librarians and archivists there are in the library, there’s no way we were going to be able to get it up to the second floor. We called on our new friends, the Flagstaff Firemen Movers. Eight, very strong off-duty firemen showed up and moved the Julius from the library parking lot through the first floor of the library, up the circular staircase and into Special Collections and Archives in 21 minutes. These guys were amazing and I think they enjoyed moving a replica historic boat instead of a refrigerator or piano for a change.

Flagstaff Firemen Movers – these guys are amazing!

We want to thank Kim and Colleen at the Grand Canyon National Park Museum and Brad Dimock for loaning these two amazing historical boats for our “Splendor and Spectacle” exhibit. We want to also thank the Flagstaff Firemen Movers for helping us get the Julius in Special Collections and Archives (see you guys in 11 ½ months when we need to bring it back to Brad!).

“Splendor and Spectacle” will be open to the public on Monday, October 15 and will be installed through September 2019.


October 8, 2018
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on Besties in the Archives!

Besties in the Archives!

SCA student assistants, Ryan Hitt and Zach Mauck, model the latest and hippest fashion in the archives. Ryan designed this limited edition, exclusive Special Collections and Archives sweatshirt. If you don’t have one, well, I guess you’re not cool enough…or you don’t work in SCA.

September 20, 2018
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on A Flash into Katie Lee’s Past

A Flash into Katie Lee’s Past

The fall semester is upon us! As students and faculty begin returning to campus, there’s an ambiance of excitement, apprehension, and hope that the upcoming year will be fruitful. For freshmen, it is the beginning of a new chapter of their lives. For seniors, it is the end of that chapter.

Katie Lee, who went by Kay in college, helps with costume design. Katie is in the forefront.

For the next installment of my work processing Katie Lee’s collection, I want to share some highlights of Katie’s attendance at the University of Arizona in Tucson. She graduated in 1943 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts. In her collection are two University of Arizona yearbooks from 1941 and 1942. These are fun time capsules and provide insight into university life in the 1940’s, as well as the atmosphere surrounding World War II.

Katie is shown here as a peasant girl in “Don Juan.”

Highlights from the yearbook include the fashions of the year for men and women, sports, clubs, and extracurricular events. Katie is featured in the pages describing the Drama Department, where she is both assisting with plays and participating in them, and in the Wings Club, where she is pictured learning about airplanes.

Katie was part of Wings while at the University of Arizona where she learned about airplanes.

Katie Lee was born in 1919. She grew up in Tucson and attended the University of Arizona. After her career as an actress in Hollywood and a singer, she settled in Jerome, Arizona. Her deep love of Glen Canyon and the hatred of the dam there led her to become an avid advocate for its destruction. Katie continued to sing, write, and advocate into her older years. She passed away peacefully in 2017.

July 31, 2018
by special collections & archives
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Understanding Katie Lee


Katie Lee, Glen Canyon, Photo courtesy of Tad Nichols Collections

How does one begin to understand the complex person that was Katie Lee? As her collection is processed, Katie Lee’s life and personality becomes better known to those who come into contact with the materials. Katie is best known for her advocacy against the Glen Canyon Dam. She wrote about the canyon before the dam and sang about the injustice that had been done to the environment that she loved. These writings and songs give us a glimpse into Katie’s mind, but to understand her better, one must look at her personal life.

Katie Lee’s Collection in the Collection Storage Area. Photo courtesy of Britney (SCA Student Worker)

My name is Britney and I’m student assistant in Special Collections and Archives. I have the good fortune of being part of the team that is arranging and describing Katie’s collection so that we can preserve and make available the treasures she left us. As I go on this journey of learning more about Katie Lee through her archives, I would like to take you along with me. I’ll periodically post updates and interesting discoveries as I come across them. I hope you enjoy learning about Katie as much as I am.

One of the first aspects of Katie Lee that was most interesting is her sense of humor. It was dark, acerbic, occasionally vulgar, colorful, and frequently peppered with her favorite “F” word. Throughout her collection I have come across snippets of comics, songs, jokes, and other writings that showcase what Katie thought was funny.

Katie’s “DAM DAM” License Plate, courtesy of the Katie Lee Collection

Katie’s attention to detail and passion led her to write, revise, and re-write her books many times. 10,000 Goddamn Cattle and Sandstone Seduction, two of her most well-known novels, went through many rounds of revisions before being published.

Similarly, Katie’s passion is evident in her avid opposition of the Glen Canyon Dam. She protested the dam during and after it was built, writing letters to officials, singing about the destruction of the canyon, and writing novels. She never stopped protesting the dam, a testament to her perseverance and determination.

While processing Katie Lee’s collection, her more private life was revealed. Her woes and troubles are shown in the diaries that she meticulously kept and in the letters she wrote to friends and family. Similarly, Katie’s greatest accomplishments and triumphs are written in the same diaries and letters. She collected newspaper articles, magazines, fan mail, and correspondence that praised her work, writing, singing, and film-making. She kept many of the letters that she sent and received from a variety of people. It is in these documents that we can truly begin to understand Katie Lee and the impact Katie had on others.

Katie Lee Journal “Warning”
Photo courtesy of Katie Lee Collection


Katie Lee was born in 1919. She grew up in Tucson and attended the University of Arizona. After her career as an actress in Hollywood and a singer, she settled in Jerome, Arizona. Her deep love of Glen Canyon and the hatred of the dam there led her to become an avid advocate for its destruction. Katie continued to sing, write, and advocate into her older years. She passed away peacefully in 2017.

April 19, 2018
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on SCA Student Assistant, Mowana Lomaomvaya, Earns Mary Crawley Scholarship and Summer Internship with the American Philosophical Society

SCA Student Assistant, Mowana Lomaomvaya, Earns Mary Crawley Scholarship and Summer Internship with the American Philosophical Society

Mowana Lomaomvaya

Special Collections and Archives student assistant, Mowana Lomaomvaya, is a senior, graduating in May 2019. Mowana is studying anthropology, archaeology, and history at NAU. Since May of 2015, Mowana has been working as a student employee for Special Collections and Archives in Cline Library, processing collections, digitizing content, and learning history and culture of the region.

Mowana is the 2018 spring semester recipient of the Mary Crawley Scholarship, awarded to a library student  employee in honor of Mary Crawley a past student supervisor.

Mowana Lomaomvaya (L) and Director of Communication and Development, Kathleen Schmand (R).

Mowana recently received some additional good news when she was selected for the Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI) Undergraduate Summer Internship by the American Philosophical Society. This was a very competitive national search and Mowana was selected as one of three interns for this prestigious opportunity. For those of you who may not know, the American Philosophical Society is the oldest learned society in the United States and was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin for the purpose of “promoting useful knowledge.”

Please join me in congratulating Mowana and wishing her the best for her internship at APS!

April 19, 2018
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on Announcing Our 2018 Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Intern – Hana Lipke!

Announcing Our 2018 Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Intern – Hana Lipke!

It is our pleasure to announce Hana Lipke as the 2018 Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Intern. Hana will be working with the staff of Special Collections and Archives to develop a virtual and physical exhibit celebrating the centennial of the Grand Canyon as a national park. Hana is currently a junior in the Honors College at Northern Arizona University studying Art History, Studio Art with a minor in Museum Studies, Arts and Cultural Management.

In her three years at NAU, Hana has received several scholarships and honors, including the Lumberjack Scholarship, John Acker Memorial Scholarship, and she’s been on the Dean’s List since her arrival.

We asked Hana to share a little bit about herself so we could all get to know her.

Tell us where you’re from and why you chose NAU?

I am from Tucson, Arizona and chose NAU for its intimate Art History program and the well-equipped Art facilities. Having to immerse myself in multiple disciplines is a challenge I have gladly taken on! (It didn’t hurt that I got a nice scholarship as well.)

What are you studying at NAU?

As you can guess from above, I am studying Art and Art History! I have an emphasis in painting where I primarily work in oils. Along with these two majors I also have two minors: one in Museum Studies and the other in Arts and Cultural Management.

What are your plans after NAU?

I want to work in a museum – that is ultimately what I want to do. I see myself spending some time after I graduate doing internships and getting some hands-on experience in the art conservation world. Grad school is in the works, but I am taking it as it comes. We will just have to see what kind of opportunities present themselves!

What interested you about the Reilly Internship?

The Reilly internship, especially for this exhibit, really encapsulates all of my interests. I want to work in museums and am especially interested in curation. I have a strong love of nature and the Colorado Plateau in general. The archives take special care to preserve and protect pieces of our local history – I myself want to work as a conservator. Overall, this opportunity seemed too good to be true for me. It is the subject matter I enjoy with the job I enjoy as well – couldn’t be better!

What are you hoping to learn from the experience?

This is the hands-on opportunity I have been looking for. I have spent my undergraduate career learning of the theoretical museum and the theoretical jobs that go into making it run. I am excited to actually go to work and see what the day-to-day experience is like. I understand the conceptual aspect of building an exhibit and I understand the final product, but I am excited to experience first-hand the steps to get from A to B. I am hoping this experience can then also solidify for me what I really want to do as a career in museums.

What’s your favorite part of the Grand Canyon?

The North Rim holds a special place in my heart but I have spent the most time on the “East Rim”. Lee’s Ferry has been a camping destination of choice along with Badger Creek Overlook.

Cats or dogs…and why?

I can’t pick this either! I love dogs for their unconditional love but I love cats for their independence. I’ll probably go with cats. They’re soft and they purr.

To know more about me in general, I love to cook and rock climb! Baking has become a newly acquired passion and I spend a fair bit of time restoring antiques. My home is completely overrun with plants and I consider myself quite the gardener. Though I love camping and hanging out outdoors I haven’t gotten much of a chance this semester being in 22 credits and all!

Please join me in congratulating Hana and welcoming her as our new Reilly Intern!

January 19, 2018
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on Remembering John Running, 1939-2018

Remembering John Running, 1939-2018

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of John Running, who died in the early morning hours of Sunday, January 7. John was an internationally-renowned commercial photographer in Flagstaff for several decades; along with his partner Sue Bennett, they helped to develop the local photography community, mentoring many individuals who would also go on to find success as professional photographers. Running was an alum of NAU, having graduated in 1969 with a degree in anthropology. Special Collections and Archives (SCA) began working with Running while creating the 2012 exhibit focused on the Flagstaff All-Indian Pow Wow, where his loaned images featured prominently. But it wasn’t until the following year, when Running expressed interest in donating his life’s work to SCA, that his relationship with Cline Library really grew. In Spring 2014, both his and Sue Bennett’s collections were donated, and an exhibit of his life and work installed in September of that year. Over the past few years, John became much more than a donor; he was an advocate; a collaborator; a mentor; and a friend. His voice was integral to our interpretation of Sue Bennett when creating her exhibit in 2017. He is very much missed by his friends, family, and all of us here at Cline Library. In addition to his exhibit, more can be learned about John Running by reviewing his finding guide and a selection of his images in the digital archives.


John Running and Jeri Ah-be Hill in Special Collections and Archives, 2015

January 12, 2018
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on 2018 Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Internship Announcement

2018 Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Internship Announcement


Marble Canyon, Bridge of Sighs, Boaters. Photo Courtesy of Emery Kolb Collection.The Cline Library at Northern Arizona University invites applications for the 2018 Elizabeth M. and P.T. Reilly Internship.

The 2018 Reilly intern will work closely with Cline Library’s Special Collections and Archives staff to develop physical and virtual exhibits that celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Grand Canyon as a national park. The library is seeking a highly motivated and organized student to work in collaboration with Special Collections and Archives staff to develop the exhibits. The intern will draw on the vast and rich resources housed in the Cline Library Special Collections and Archives.

The Cline Library Special Collections and Archives contains one of the most comprehensive collections of Grand Canyon and Colorado Plateau history in the world. The department has over 200 collections, containing millions of photographs, correspondence, journals, maps, films, and oral histories, that document the human and natural history of the Grand Canyon from a wide variety of perspectives from the 19th century to the present. Collections of note include the collections of Emery Kolb, Plez Talmadge Reilly, Martin Litton, the Fred Harvey Company, William Wallace Bass, Bill Belknap, Edwin McKee, the Verkamp Family, and many others.

Tad Nichols, Red Wall Cavern. Photo Courtesy of PT Reilly Collection.

The library envisions the exhibit as a retrospective examination of the human and natural history of the Grand Canyon from the late 19th century prior to it becoming a national park, to its designation as a national park in 1919 and the subsequent 100 years as a national park. We will be particularly focused on the areas of park administration, exploration, land use, tourism, politics, and economics within the above noted period.

Duties and Opportunities: The 2018 Reilly intern will assume primary responsibility for the virtual (web-based) exhibit.  The intern will also provide significant support for development of the physical exhibit, from its interpretive text to design and fabrication.

The internship offers the opportunity to gain practical experience in:

  • Research
    • Synthesis of primary and published sources
  • Exhibit Planning (team-based)
    • Storyline development and content interpretation
    • Web page design, creation, and digital storytelling
  • Public speaking (presentation to library staff upon completion of the internship)

The Reilly intern will work 40 hours per week for ten consecutive weeks.  The successful candidate will select a ten-week block between May 14 – August 10, 2018.  The workweek schedule offers some flexibility.

Clouds over Grand Canyon. Photo Courtesy of Emery Kolb Collection.

Stipend and Housing:  $4,500 (no benefits included) total.  The Reilly intern will be paid in bi-weekly installments to reach the total of $4,500.  On-campus housing is subject to availability. For more information, please consult https://nau.edu/Residence-Life/Housing-Options/Summer-Housing/.  Renting a room in the community is also a possibility.  The successful candidate must be willing to relocate to Flagstaff for ten weeks and underwrite his or her own food, lodging, transportation to work, and parking.

Qualifications:  The preferred candidate will be a graduate student in information science or museum studies working toward a career in a library, museum, or archives setting. Graduate students should be currently part of a program with an anticipated completion date of August/September 2018 or later. Undergraduate (junior or senior)  students studying applied indigenous studies, geography, history, forestry, anthropology, parks and recreation management, or other appropriate area are also encouraged to apply.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities Required:

  • Strong ability to write creatively while employing advanced research skills
  • Demonstrated experience with web design
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Familiarity with video and audio software tools, HTML editing, and the Adobe Creative Suite products
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office products

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities Preferred:

  • Knowledge of Colorado Plateau and Southwest history
  • Understanding of photographic and print making processes
  • Familiarity with archival practice

Application Deadline: February 28, 2018.  To apply, submit the following documents to:  Peter Runge, NAU Cline Library, Box 6022, Flagstaff, AZ  86011-6022:

  • Letter of application addressing your qualifications, including hyperlinks to previous online exhibits you have created/designed
  • Résumé or vita
  • Copy of current transcript
  • Names and contact information for three references

For more information, contact Peter Runge via email at peter.runge@nau.edu or phone at (928) 523-6502. The mission of Cline Library’s Special Collections and Archives Department is to collect, preserve, and make available archival materials that document the history and development of the Colorado Plateau.  Interdisciplinary in nature, the collections include 7 million manuscripts, 1 million photographs, 35,000 books, 2,000 maps, and 1,300 oral histories.  Learn more at http://archive.library.nau.edu.

Flagstaff is a city of 67,000 at the base of the San Francisco Peaks surrounded by the Coconino National Forest.  Approximately 80 miles from Grand Canyon and 140 miles from Phoenix, Flagstaff enjoys a four-season climate at an elevation of 7,000 feet.  NAU has a growing diverse student population and is committed to Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply.

December 21, 2017
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on Throwback Thursday: It Snowed!

Throwback Thursday: It Snowed!












This evocative image (a.k.a. “Snow scene. [1933 Studebaker by a cabin.]“) is from the Fronske Studios Collection, housed here at Special Collections and Archives at Northern Arizona University. The Fronske Collection  represents the cumulated photographic work of Robert “Bob” Fronske  who in 1933 after graduating from Flagstaff High School enrolled in the New York Institute of Photography in New York City. Upon returning to Flagstaff, he opened his first photographic studio downtown studio at 21 E. Aspen Avenue and operated out of there for the 45 years. For the following four decades, he would capture local birthdays, weddings, graduations, and other events.

We are posting it today not only because it is a very cool image of a Studebaker in the snow in Flagstaff dating from 1939, but because today (the first day of winter) it actually snowed. Sure it was maybe a half an inches’ worth, but it is our first kind of measureable precipitation since September. Hopefully there is more out there to come….

Happy Throwback Thursday!