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S. Hall Young Collection: Papers & Photographs, 1881-1927

Identifier: MS 203

Scope and Contents

The personal papers and photographs consist of correspondence, writings, images, and general files of S. Hall Young. The collection is housed in seven boxes total: six boxes of papers (MS 203) and 1 box of photographs (PCA443). The collection is arranged as follows:

MS 203: Papers (6 boxes)

Series 1: Correspondence (Letters Sent and Received): MS 203, Boxes 1, 2, 2a (Box 2 and 2a=reference photocopies of letters found in box 1) Series 2: Writings: MS 203, Boxes 3 and 4 Series 3: General Materials/Publications: MS 203, Box 4 Series 4: Oversize: MS 203, Box 5

PCA 443: Photographs (1 box), (Inventory begins on page 14)

MS 203


The S. Hall Young manuscript collection consists of correspondence, writings, and general materials encompassing the years 1881-1927. The correspondence is primarily letters sent to his family, especially his wife, Fannie Kellogg Young, from 1881 until her death in 1915. Other correspondents, including James Sheakley, John Dixon, C. L. Thompson, J. W. Kirk, John Muir (a photocopy), and Judge James Wickersham, are represented with one or two letters each. A few letters relate to Alaska, but are not by or to S. Hall Young. His writings include a draft of his autobiography entitled “Mushing Parson” and articles and poetry, both published and unpublished. General materials include maps, a typescript of a Utkiavik [Barrow] Ritual and Hymnal in English and Inupiaq, and publications relating to Alaska, Alaska native culture and languages, and Young family genealogy. Several items concern William Duncan and the church in Metlakatla and Edward Marsden. Other materials include clippings and memorials relating to Young’s death, two book jackets, and a hand-lettered cardboard advertisement of a lecture.


  • 1881-1927

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is unrestricted. However, since the original letters are very fragile, photocopies must be used. An inventory is available.

Conditions Governing Use

Request for permission to publish or reproduce material from the collection should be discussed with the Librarian.

Biographical Note

Samuel Hall Young, “The Mushing Parson” (1847-1927) By Robert N. DeArmond

Samuel Hall Young was born at Butler, Pennsylvania, on September 12, 1847, the son of the Rev. Loyal and Margaret (Johnston) Young. He was educated at the University of Wooster, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Western Theological Seminary, where he graduated in 1878. He taught school in Pennsylvania, Michigan and West Virginia and was ordained a Presbyterian minister in June 1878.

He landed at Wrangell on July 10, 1878, to begin missionary work. At Sitka on December 15, 1878, Young was married to Miss Fannie E. Kellogg. They settled in Wrangell, and there on August 3, 1879 he organized the first Presbyterian church in Alaska and the first Protestant church since the transfer [of Territory from Russia in 1867]. That same summer he met John Muir and in the fall, with Muir and four Tlinget paddlers, made the first of many trips by dugout canoe in Southeast Alaska. On that autumn voyage they visited both Glacier Bay and the Chilkat country. Young’s book, “Alaska Days with John Muir,” published in 1915, recounts some of their adventures. In the summer of 1881 Young attended Alaska’s first non-partisan political convention as a delegate from Wrangell and served as secretary of the convention. During the 10 years he headquartered in Wrangell, Young established missions at Haines, Hoonah, Howkan, Kasaan, and Tongass.

In 1888 the family left Wrangell and he served successively as pastor at Long Beach, California; Cabery, Illinois; Cedar Falls, Iowa; and Wooster, Ohio.

In 1897, Young was strongly considered by President McKinley for appointment as governor of Alaska. The nod went to John G. Brady, and, with the Klondike Rush as its height, Young was sent to Dawson. He climbed over the Chilkoot Pass with hundreds of others and sent down the Yukon on a scow, arriving at Dawson on October 7. He established the first library at Dawson and on Easter Sunday, 1898, organized the Presbyterian church there.

During the next three years, he organized missions at Eagle, Rampart, Nome, and Teller. In 1901, Young was appointed superintendent of all Alaska Presbyterian missions. He lived at Skagway in 1902-1903, at Council in 1903-1904, at Fairbanks from 1904-06 and again 1907-08, at Teller in 1907-07, at Cordova in 1908-10, and Iditarod in 1911-12. During those years he became known as “the mushing parson” because of his many long journeys on foot.

From 1913 until 1921, Young held the title Special Representative of the Presbyterian National Board of Missions, with headquarters in New York, and during that time he made many trips back to Alaska. His wife, Fannie Kellogg Young died in 1915. He was named general missionary for Alaska in 1922 and superintendent of Alaska missions in 1924, with headquarters in Seattle. In the summer of 1927, as he approached his 80th birthday, he escorted three different groups of Presbyterians to Alaska; then went east to attend a reunion. He was riding in a friend’s car when it had a flat tire. When Young stepped out, he was struck by an inter-urban trolley. He died in the Clarksburg, West Virginia, Hospital September 2, 1927, and was buried beside Mrs. Young at Syracuse, New York.

His books include The Klondike Clan, Adventures in Alaska, and an autobiography, Hall Young of Alaska, published shortly after his death. It dwells particularly upon his first decade in Alaska and his work with the Natives.

Mount Young in the Chilkat Range, Young Island in Glacier Bay, and Young Rock, which he discovered near Wrangell, were all named for S. Hall Young.


2.67 Linear Feet (6 boxes) : 32 linear inches

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of S. Hall Young descendants Patricia H. Dayton (Mrs. Richard E.) with assistance from her sister Barbara Batson (Mrs. W. T.). The Photograph collection received with the papers is designated PCA 443. (Acc. No. 2003-20)

Related Materials

This title refers to both MS 203, which houses the papers, and PCA 443, which houses the photographs.

Processing Information

The papers were not in original order when received. A partial inventory and transcripts of selected letters came with the donation. In addition, the family had performed conservation on a few of the letters and images. The processor divided the collection into photographs and manuscripts. The letters were separated into sent and received and then arranged chronologically. Envelopes, most received without stamps and/or with addresses cut out, are filed with the letters, and the transcriptions were also filed after the original letter. A complete set of letters, envelopes, and transcripts were photocopied for reference purposes. Two additional sets were sent to the donor and to the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia, respectively. The photographs were arranged, described when possible, and housed in Mylar sleeves. Some are fragile. Those images not identified are housed together. A guide and inventory were then prepared.

Finding aid for the S. Hall Young Collection: Papers & Photographs, 1881-1927
Processed by: Kay Shelton, 2003. ArchivesSpace Finding Aid by: Freya Anderson
2019 June
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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)