NEWS_SHI acquires important collection of books, research materials

NEWS_SHI acquires important collection of books, research materials

Posted By:
Kathy Dye
Kathy Dye
Published On: December 22nd, 2020

Collection includes entire research library of retired academic

July 2, 2020

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) has acquired a vast and important collection of books and research materials on the Northwest Coast, Sub-Arctic and Arctic culture areas.

The collection, which was largely donated to SHI by Dr. Herbert Maschner, a retired anthropologist and academic administrator, consists of more than 1,600 volumes, including very rare books and reports and many first editions.

SHI President Rosita Worl said she was enthralled to receive the donation, saying it would have cost tens of thousands of dollars and taken many years to purchase such a comprehensive Northwest Coast research library.

“Dr. Maschner is an academic of high caliber and his research library is unsurpassed. We could never have hoped to get such a complete collection as this over many decades let alone in a single year,” Worl said.

The collection is comprised of volumes on anthropology, history, archaeology and exploration in the Northwest Coast, Alaska and Canada and includes everything written on the Tlingit up to about 1990.

This includes rare and comprehensive materials on the Harriman Expedition, a team of scientists, artists, photographers and naturalists who explored and documented the Alaskan coast over two months in 1899.

It includes most of the works of The Fifth Thule Expedition, a Danish ethnographic and geographical expedition from Greenland to the Pacific from 1921-24, and most of a series of books on Alaska’s history — particularly its Russian era — written by the late historian Richard Pierce and published by Limestone Press.  

The donation also includes nearly all of the 19th century Bureau of American Ethnology materials concerning the Northwest Coast and the Arctic, among many other resources.

Staff is currently cataloging the collection, which will be made available to the public.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.

CONTACT: Amy Fletcher, SHI Media and Publications Director,; 907.586.9116

Photo: SHI Archives and Collections Manager Emily Pastore with boxes of books acquired by the institute. Photo by Brian Wallace, courtesy of Sealaska Heritage Institute. For a high-resolution image, contact

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