Alaska, May 26, 1877 - May 13, 1878

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This field book documents Nelson's time in Alaska between 26 May 1877 to 13 May 1878. Nelson was on assignment in Alaska to study the zoology of the area as well as meteorology, geography, and ethnology. In this field book, Nelson maintains a narrative description of his daily activities, in which he relates his observations (and occasionally collecting) of various animals including birds, seals, whales, fish, foxes, squirrels, and others animals. Nelson often includes taxonomic names and common names. Descriptions of landscape are included. Nelson also describes a trip to Amaknak Island during which he dug up a number of bones of fish, whales, and seals and many shells. Descriptions of weather conditions, occasionally including the temperature are also included as are some rough sketches. Locations include Amaknak Island, Unalaska, and other Alaska locations.

Date Range


Start Date

May 26, 1877

End Date

May 13, 1878

Access Information

Many of SIA's holdings are located off-site, and advance notice is recommended to consult a collection. Please email the SIA Reference Team at


  • Zoology
  • Naturalists


  • United States
  • Amaknak Island
  • Alaska
  • Unalaska Island


  • Fieldbook record
  • Field notes
  • Diary

Accession #

SIA RU007364

Collection name

Edward William Nelson and Edward Alphonso Goldman Collection, circa 1873-1946 and undated

Physical Description

1 field book

Physical Location

Smithsonian Institution Archives


Box 11 Folder 2