The William L. Paul, Sr. Archives
Stored deep in a large, protected room in our headquarters in Juneau, the William L. Paul, Sr., Archives houses 3,100 linear feet of historical and cultural material documenting the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian language, culture and history. The Archives contains historical documents, manuscripts, personal papers, and more. It also includes 60,000 photographs and 5,000 audio and audiovisual recordings, most of which cannot be found in other libraries or archives.
Many of the holdings in our archives are available to the public for educational and research purposes. The Archives is open by appointment only from Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. Please schedule an appointment by contacting our archivist at (907) 463-4844.
Prior to your visit, you may wish to search our online catalog. Our catalog is similar to a regular library catalog in some regards, but it is specifically designed to be user-friendly for archival research by allowing you to find materials by creator, subject, type of record, or keyword search. Once a desired item is found, please write down the details of the materials you would like to research and make an appointment to visit our facility. Patrons unable to visit our onsite facility should contact the Archives for information about obtaining digital reproductions or photocopies. Some photos in the William L. Paul, Sr., Archives are also viewable on our online photo database.
Our archives is named for William L. Paul, Sr., who was Alaska’s first Native attorney, the state’s first Native legislator, a gifted orator, and a formidable warrior who fought on the front line of many legal and political battles. His achievements, however, are not as well known outside of Alaska Native circles. Our Board of Trustees named our archives after him to honor his accomplishments and to publicly recognize him for his life’s work.
Because William Paul was one of the first to initiate formal legal and political action to resolve Native land claims in the early 1900s, and because of his extensive work on land claims from Southeast Alaska to the North Slope, he is considered the father of Alaska Native land claims. William Paul worked closely with his brother, Louis Paul, and his sons William L. Paul, Jr., and Fred Paul, who were also attorneys. William L. Paul, Sr., died in 1977. For more on William Paul, read the resolution passed by SHI's Board of Trustees in 2014 naming the archives for him.