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Donald Burrus Papers, ca. 1917 – 1975. bulk 1942 – 1972

Identifier: MS 229

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of records relating to the operation and activities of the Alaska Native Arts and Crafts Clearing House and the Alaska Native Arts and Crafts Cooperative Association. Included are letters concerning the arts and crafts program, general reports, annual reports (1952, 1954), reports and correspondence on promotion and marketing, correspondence and regulations on the use of government marks of genuineness, monthly reports (1946-1956), and circulars (1938-1946). The collection also contains some camera ready materials, including photographs, for catalog production.


  • Majority of material found within ca. 1917-1975. 1942-1972

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for viewing, however; the photographs may not be photocopied.

Conditions Governing Use

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


Donald Burrus was born in Alta, Iowa in 1904, and educated in Washington State, with a BA from Spokane University in 1931 and an MA in education from Washington State in 1935. He became the manager of Alaska Native Arts & Crafts in 1944, retiring on December 31, 1971 at the age of 67.

Prior to arriving in Alaska, Burrus climbed both Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams in 1939. Upon arriving in Juneau he continued to climb and ascended most of the peaks in the Juneau area. He build a cabin in the Lena Beach area with his wife and friends.

Burrus traveled in northern coastal Alaska on the Alaska Native Service vessel North Star and in interior Alaska with several of the famous bush pilots, photographing the communities which he visited.


Alaska Native Arts and Crafts Clearing House was established in 1937 by the Arts and Crafts Division of the Alaska Native Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs to help Alaska Natives crafts persons find markets for their work and supply raw materials. Virgil Farrell was the Bureau’s Seattle officer, and was the agency’s first arts and crafts supervisor in Alaska.

ANAC was reorganized in 1956 as Alaska Native Arts and Crafts Cooperative Association, becoming a private cooperative, separate from the BIA. In 1961, the cooperative’s only retail shop, ANAC Cache, was opened to test the retail market and acquaint the public with Alaska crafted products.

In 1984 the name was changed to Alaska Native Arts and Crafts Association, Inc.


4 boxes : 3 cu. ft.

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by Donald Burrus’ daughter Jean Kline in May, 2007.

Related Materials

Twenty-two boxes of photographs were separated from the papers, and designated PCA466.

Processing Information

Original order was maintained. Photographs in original envelopes were housed in acid free boxes.

Finding aid for the Donald Burrus Papers, ca. 1917 – 1975. bulk 1942 – 1972
In Progress
Processed by: James Simard July 2007 ; ArchivesSpace finding aid by: Sandy Johnston
2019 May
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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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)