Francis H. Gambell Papers

Summary Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections
Gambell, Francis H.
Francis H. Gambell papers
Date [inclusive]
0.85 Cubic feet 10 Folders, Scrapbook, 98 lantern slides

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: "Item title, Collection title, Collection Identifier, Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan."

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Biographical Note

Francis H. Gambell was born in Iowa in 1870. He grew up on his parents' farm and eventually attended Parsons College in Iowa. He received a medical degree there in 1898 and set up practice in Minnesota. A few months later, bored with his practice, he accepted a government position in Alaska, where the government was trying to introduce reindeer as sources of food and transportation for the Eskimos. Gambell was sent to the Eaton Reindeer Station, north of Yukon River, as the physician for government employees stationed there. He spent three years in Alaska and was appointed supervisor of the government reindeer stations. He returned to Minnesota and his private practice in 1901. When civil war broke out in Russia in 1919, following the Russian Revolution, Gambell traveled with the Red Cross to Siberia, where he worked on the only train transporting wounded to hospitals. He later returned to the United States and his private practice. He moved from Minnesota to California, where he continued his medical work through his eighty-fifth year.

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Scope and Contents note

The collection consists primarily of Gambell's written reminiscences. These include published newspaper accounts of his time in Alaska, as well as short stories and poetry based on his experiences in Alaska and as a doctor in California. Gambell also wrote about his childhood in Iowa, his years at Parsons College, and his decision to choose a career in medicine.

In addition, the collection includes news clippings about Gambell, and the transcript of an interview with him about his experiences. It contains a diary (1899) which Gambell kept in Alaska, a scrapbook from his time in Siberia, and drafts of introductions to a book or article that Gambell apparently wrote about Alaska.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections July 1964

Conrad Hall
888 Wilson Road, Room 101
East Lansing , MI, 48824

Revision Description

  March 2000

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

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Controlled Access Headings


  • Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
  • Diaries
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks

Geographic Name(s)

  • Alaska
  • Siberia (Russia)
  • Soviet Union -- History -- Revolution, 1917-1921

Personal Name(s)

  • Gambell, Violet


  • Agriculture -- Iowa
  • Education -- Iowa
  • Frontier and pioneer life -- Alaska
  • Medicine
  • Reindeer -- Alaska

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Collection Inventory


Scope and Contents note


Personal Diary 1899 




Articles about Gambell 


Published Items by Gambell 




Short Stories 




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Siberian photographs 1918-1919 

Scrapbook # 90

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Collection photographs

Agriculture. Farm Laborers 


Homes. Gambell home 

People. Gambell, Francis H. 

People. Gambel, Mr. and Mrs. Francis H. 

People. Sherzer, S. Newman 

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Lantern Slides 

Box Folder


Slides 1
Box item

Alaska Project 

Slides 2


Slides 3

Mountain Scene 

Slides 4

Muir Glacier 

Slides 5

Bovau Castle 

Slides 6

Skagway Harbor 

Slides 7

Face Mountain 

Slides 8

Water Fall 

Slides 9

Procession Chilcoot Pass 

Slides 10

White Plains 

Slides 11

Dead Horse Gulch 

Slides 11a

Camp Scene 

Slides 12
Box Folder

Arm Strong Saw Mill 

Slides 13


Slides 14

Miles Canyon 

Slides 15

White Horse Rapids 

Slides 16


Slides 17

Midnight Sun 

Slides 18

(see 11a) Dead Horse Gulch 

Slides 19
Box item

Coal Fields 

Slides 20

Seward, Alaska 

Slides 21
Box Folder


Slides 22
Box item

Truck Garden 

Slides 23

Wild Currents 

Slides 24

Wild Fruits 

Slides 25

Wild Flowers 

Slides 26

Wild Roses 

Slides 27

Float at Fairbanks 

Slides 28

Hunting Club 

Slides 29


Slides 30


Slides 31

Alaska Central R.R. 

Slides 32

Dog Team and Sled 

Slides 33

Alaskan Islands 

Slides 34

U. S. Reserves Cutler 

Slides 35

St. Lawrence Island 

Slides 36

St. Michael 

Slides 37

Mission Church 

Slides 38

Arctic Owl 

Slides 39


Slides 40


Slides 41


Slides 42

Baby Moose 

Slides 43

Slain Moose 

Slides 44

Moose Head Cradle 

Slides 45

Catch of Salmon 

Slides 46

Caribou Feeding 

Slides 47

Seal Herd 

Slides 48

Brown Bear 

Slides 49

Polar Bear 

Slides 50

Big Horn Sheep 

Slides 51

Black Bear 

Slides 52

Johnson and Jeffries 

Slides 53

Polar Bear 

Slides 54-55

Herd of Walrus 

Slides 56-57

Sleeping Walrus 

Slides 58

Walrus Head 

Slides 59


Slides 60

Nome Beach 

Slides 61

In the Ice Flow 

Slides 62

Ore Dumps 

Slides 63

Long Tom [?] Sluicing 

Slides 64

Off for the Races 

Slides 65

River Dridger 

Slides 66

In Eskimo Dress 

Slides 67

Alaska’s R.R. Engine 

Slides 68


Slides 69


Slides 70

After a Hunt 

Slides 71


Slides 72

In Eskimo Dress 

Slides 73

Herd of Reindeer 

Slides 73

Section of Herd 

Slides 74

Rocky Promontory 

Slides 76

Prince of Wales Village 

Slides 77

Point Barrow Mission 

Slides 78

Eskimo Woman 

Slides 79

Eskimo Berry Pickers 

Slides 80

Eskimos at Work 

Slides 81

Eskimos at Play 

Slides 82

Eskimos Working in Ivory 

Slides 83

Eskimo Woman and Child 

Slides 84

Eskimo Bells 

Slides 85

Eskimo in Kayak 

Slides 86

Eskimo in Bidorky 

Slides 87

Eskimos in Bidorky 

Slides 88

Eskimos in Oomiak 

Slides 89

Eskimos in Summer Dress 

Slides 90

Skin Houses (Winter) 

Slides 91

Skin Houses (Summer) 

Slides 92

Eskimo (Height of Fashion) 

Slides 93

Siberian Eskimo Man 

Slides 94

Eskimo Girl 

Slides 95

Eskimo Dance 

Slides 96

Eskimos at Work 

Slides 97

Lover’s Lane 

Slides 98

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