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Western Airlines Photograph Collection, 1926–1969

Identifier: PCA 51

Scope and Contents

Photographs used by Western Airlines to promote travel to Alaska. Included are airplanes, from the 1920’s to the ‘60’s, communities and towns around Southeast Alaska, totem poles and carving, boats, ships, mining. An aerial view of the old Douglas Island bridge is included.


  • 1926-1969



Conditions Governing Access

The photographs may be viewed, however they may not be photocopied.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be discussed with the Librarian. Photocopying does not constitute permission to publish.


Western Air Express flew its first flight in a Douglas M-2 airplane, April 1926. It was awarded the US Postal Service contract to fly the mail from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles. In 1928, the Guggenheim Foundation chose Western to set up a model airway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. They purchased 3, Fokker F-10 Trimotor aircraft, provided comfortable wicker chairs and meal service to passengers.

Western developed the first air-to-ground radio, in cooperation with Thorpe Hiscock of Boeing, in 1929. They also introduced the Fokker F-32 aircraft to commercial airline operation, the largest airplane in the world at the time.

In 1930 it merged with Transcontinental Air to form Transworld Airlines (TWA). Western Air Transport broke off in 1934 and changed its name to General Air. In 1941 it changed its name again to Western Airlines. During World War II Western trained pilots for the military and also transported materials to Alaska in the “Sourdough Operation.” Western was bought by Delta Airlines in 1987.


1 boxes : 151 black and white photographs

Language of Materials



This collection of views of Alaska was donated Oct. 10, 1975, by Howard Clifford who works for the Public Relations Department of Western Airlines. (Acc. No. 1975-005).

Existence and Location of Copies

Some photographs in this collection have been digitized and are available to view via Alaska's Digital Archives.

Processing Information

The 8x10 inch photographs are sleeved in Mylar. An item-level inventory is available. There are no negatives for these views.

Finding aid for the Western Airlines Photograph Collection, 1926–1969
Processed by: Staff ; Inventory by: Sandy Johnston, Oct. 2020 ; Revised by: Jacki Swearingen, Oct. 2020 ; ArchivesSpace finding aid by: Sandy Johnston, June 2019 ; Inventory Added by: Connie Hamann
2020 November
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Repository Details

Part of the Alaska State Library - Historical Collections Finding Aids Repository

PO Box 110571
Juneau AK 99811-0571 US
907-465-2151 (Fax)