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Yukon Archives

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Collections

About Yukon Archives Collections

As set out in the Archives Act, Yukon Archives mandate reflects a total archives strategy, meaning that the Archives holds both government and non-government records. The Yukon Archives acquisition policy also includes the acquisition of library/published material.

Yukon Archives collects through donations from citizens, corporations, societies, associations and municipalities, as well as items from library sources such as publishers or retail outlets. Yukon Government records are transferred to the Archives through the Yukon Government records management program. In order to be accepted, materials offered to the Archives must be consistent with our mandate.

Several subjects or themes within our mandate have been a focus of Yukon Archives acquisition efforts over past decades. These subject areas include:

  • the Klondike Gold Rush
  • the Alaska Highway and Canol Road
  • northern oil and gas research and development
  • cold climate research
  • the ethnography, science, and development of the circumpolar north where there is relevance to Yukon and Yukon issues

Our institution holds unique and original records of all types, including letters, diaries, manuscripts, photographs, films, videos, sound recordings, maps, and architectural drawings. In addition, the Archives Library acquires a wide assortment of current and retrospective materials including fiction and non-fiction books, community newspapers, newsletters, periodicals, and federal, territorial and municipal government publications. Yukon Archives acquires these materials in all media and formats.

Learn more about our holdings:

Government Records

The Yukon Archives continuously acquires significant Yukon records through the government's records management program. Documents from the central registry date back to 1896 and pertain to a wide range of subjects, including education, elections, wildlife, transportation, legislation and land. Also among the territorial records are Territorial and Gold Commissioner's Court records, and estate files of the Public Administrator.

The Archives also serves as a repository for the records of Yukon municipalities, including Dawson City, Whitehorse, Mayo, Faro, Watson Lake, and Haines Junction.

Some series of federal government records held by the Yukon Archives are Mining Recorders' documents and record books, Mounted Police material, Yukon Telegraph Service records and microfilm copies of the United States Army, Northwest Service Command records relating to the construction of the Alaska Highway and the Canol pipeline.

Photographs

The photograph collection of more than 150,000 prints portrays and documents Yukon events and people, including miners and mining activities, First Nations communities, dredges, sternwheelers and river travel, pack-trains and stagelines, aviation, the Alaska Highway, White Pass & Yukon Route construction and operation, boat building, Yukon Order of Pioneers, North West Mounted Police, churches, schools, portraits, sports and leisure pursuits, celebrations and social events, panoramas of communities, river front and street scenes, exteriors and interiors of buildings, and scenes of the Klondike Gold Rush and Trails of '98.

Corporate Records

The Archives has the records of various Yukon organizations, associations, and businesses. These include:

Private Manuscripts

The private manuscript collection includes diaries, correspondence, scrapbooks, account books and other papers of individuals who have been associated with the Yukon in various capacities such as financial agents, lawyers, politicians, naturalists, miners, doctors, clergy, writers and researchers. Some examples are:

Films

Professionally produced promotional and documentary films as well as amateur home movies and videotapes about life and times in the Yukon are acquired by the Archives. Some of the subjects depicted are Gold Rush scenes, Alaska Highway and Canol Project construction, Yukon communities, festivals, people, social activities, sports, mining, sternwheelers, railway travel and early aviation.

Sound Recordings

The Archives has an expanding collection of tapes about Native history and traditions, pioneers recounting life and events in Yukon communities, CBC tapes of Yukon political issues in the 1970s, Yukon Conservation Society public seminars, Archives' Potpourri series, Geoscience presentations, and debates of the Yukon Territorial Council dating from 1963.

Library

The Archives maintains a library of over 35,000 titles for reference in the reading room. Primarily Yukon in geographical emphasis, the collection includes monographs and series concerning history, ethnography, northern development in general, northern pipelines, community surveys, and technical, scientific, social and economic studies.

In addition to government reports, the Archives maintains the Ordinances, Votes and Proceedings, and Public Accounts of the Yukon government, the Statutes of Canada, 1870-1971, and the Debates of the House of Commons, 1875-1971.

The Archives also subscribes to over 65 historical, archival, and scientific periodicals. These sources are supplemented by a pamphlet collection of more than 8,000 extracted, ephemeral and small items.

Maps and Plans

The Archives maintains a collection of over 11,500 maps, plans and atlases relating to Yukon and northwest Canada.Included are exploration maps, Gold Rush route maps, townsite and lot plans, river charts, detailed mining claim and base line survey maps and numerous sketches for creeks and tributaries in the Klondike Gold Fields, route maps and elevation drawings for the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway and the Klondike Mines Railway and atlases relative to the Alaska Boundary question.

Thematic maps and plans of more recent dates relate to land use, wildlife and natural resources, pipeline routes, and environmental and socioeconomic conditions.

The Archives holds a complete collection of 1:50,000 and 1:250,000 scale National Topographic Series maps for Yukon and Northern British Columbia.

Newspapers

The newspaper collection consists of over 50 individual mastheads, including the Dawson Daily News, 1899-1953; Klondike Nugget, 1898-1903; Yukon Sun, 1899-1904; Whitehorse Star, 1901-to date, and other early Yukon newspapers in their original form and on microfilm. To augment local coverage, the Archives has microfilm of 1897-1898 papers from major North American cities which were affected by the Gold Rush; such as Seattle, San Francisco, Edmonton and Vancouver. The Archives also subscribes to more than 40 northern oriented current newspapers, including Yukon community papers.

Circulating Microfilm Collection

The Yukon Archives has a newspaper and archival microfilm collection that is available for loan to libraries. First priority will be given to Yukon libraries but other libraries are welcome to request materials. This catalogue has been divided into three sections:

    1. Short list
    2. Archival Collections
    3. Newspapers

Access to items in each section is provided by title or collection name only. The short list is a quick reference name guide to the archival and newspapers section. Both sections are arranged by circulating microfilm number and then by collection/title. Under each collection/title is a short content note that gives an outline of what is available and notes if a finding aid or index is available with the microfilm reels.

To borrow items listed in this catalogue, please complete an Interlibrary Loan form at your local library and give the following information:

    1. Circulating microfilm number (CM#)
    2. Reel numbers needed
    3. Title and/or collection name
    4. Dates, especially when requesting newspapers.

Your local library will then fax or mail the request directly to the Yukon Archives.

A minimum of four reels will be loaned at one time. Loan period is four weeks from date of receipt by your local library. Upon request to the Archives Librarian, a one-time renewal can be arranged for an additional four weeks.

Please contact the Archives for a copy of the circulating microfilm list.