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Diary of an unidentified Alaska, Michigan settler

 Item — Box: 1
Identifier: RHC-238

Content Description

Small leather diary with the word Memoramda stamped on it and the year 1879 written in ink. It records a year (1879-1880) in the life of a Alaska, Michigan settler. The diarist name is unknown. The diary includes a page listing customers, and 17 pages of supplies purchased. It seems the diarist was not the owner of the store, but worked there frequently as well as helping other farmers in the area.

Entries document the diarist's daily activities and include names and nicknames of family and associates.


  • 1879-1880

Access to the Materials

Collection is open for research use. Materials may be accessed by request at Special Collections and University Archives in Seidman House. Materials do not circulate.

Publication Rights

The collection is the physical property of Grand Valley State University, but all literary rights are retained by the original creators of materials, their estates, heirs, or third parties. It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure appropriate permissions for publication beyond the bounds of fair use.

Historical Notes

Alaska is an unincorporated community 15 miles from Grand Rapids and 30 miles from Lake Michigan. The community had its origin with a sawmill established by William H. Brown and Rev. Eber Moffit in 1848. A post office with the name "Brownsville" was first established in 1855, but the name was changed to "North Brownsville" a few days later to avoid confusion with an already existing post office with that name in Cass County. It was renamed "Alaska" on December 4, 1868, undoubtedly influenced by the 1867 purchase of Alaska from Russia by the U.S. government. The post office closed on February 9, 1906.


0.5 linear feet (1 box) : 1 volume

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Jordan Antiques and Antiquarian Books, 2022.

Condition Description

Leather is fraying in corners

Diary of an unidentified Alaska, Michigan settler
Annie Benefiel
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Grand Valley State University Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Seidman House
1 Campus Drive
Allendale MI 49401 United States