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Guide to the Alaska Commercial Company Records, 1868-1940 JL006
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Collection Overview
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The collection consists of loose papers and volumes of general accounts. The first group in the series of loose material consists of sundry papers and documents from 1888 to 1897, and were originally found together as such. The second group contains three numbered subseries, which are also in their original order; these are headed accounts. The subject matter of these accounts is varied and with no obvious order other than chronological; the papers have been listed with their numbers preserved as they were numbered in the envelopes in which they were found. The series are H-1 to H-30, I-2 to I-17, and 1-629. These papers are dated from 1890 to 1939; some numbers are missing, which the donor stated at the time the collection was presented to this library. There is a rough progression in date, and the subjects include: individual accounts and collections, legal documents, (bills of sale, contracts, charters), correspondence, and statements. The third group of papers are financial reports from Unalaska and date from 1936 to 1940 and the last group consists of annual financial reports and lists of stockholders of the Alaska Commercial Company.
The history of the Alaska Commercial Company actually begins in 1776, when, under the flag of Czarist Russia, Gregor Shelikof and Ivan Golikof formed a trading company in the Alaskan territory that was under Russian rule. In 1799 they received trading privileges on the western coast of the United States and became the Russian-American Company. After the 1867 purchase of Alaska by the United States, the firm of Hutchison, Kohl & Company, including Hayward Hutchison, William Kohl, and Louis Sloss, bought the Russian-American Company. In 1868, Sloss, Lewis Gerstle, and A. Wassermann bought this company, although Hutchison, Kohl & Company was in simultaneous existence and under the same ownership until 1872, when the new company paid off the purchase. This new company, formed in 1868, was called the Alaska Commercial Company, and did business under this name until 1901. In that year, because of increasing competition in the sealskin trade, the Alaska Commercial Company merged with the International Mercantile Marine Company and Alaska Goldfields, Ltd., to form two new companies, the Northern Navigation Company and the Northern Commercial Company. The original owners of the Alaska Commercial Company, Louis Sloss, Gerstle, etc. carried on the business under the name of the Northern Commercial Company. Shortly afterwards, W.J. Erskine bought some of the old Alaska Commercial Company boats and set up a small successor to the Company in certain areas of Alaska.
18.0 Linear feet
Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.