Stevens' plan could split state's historical record

Posted: Monday, May 08, 2000

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- If Sen. Ted Stevens' papers are stored at the University of Alaska Anchorage, it could mean the state's historical archive will be split between Anchorage and Fairbanks.

Stevens, 76, is trying to raise $10 million in private funds to build a wing to the new $30 million UAA public policy library for his papers.

However, since statehood the University of Alaska Fairbanks Rasmuson Library has served as the repository for the historical record. Stevens' plan would mean future researchers would have to travel between the two cities to get the complete picture of the state's modern history.

UAF historians would like to see the papers eventually end up at Rasmuson. Every national-level politician since statehood has deposited his papers at UAF, which has given professors easy access to the state's pivotal moments.

''I think it's kind of incredible that he would break that tradition,'' said UAF history professor Claus M. Naske who assigns his students papers based on original archival material.

Stevens' papers cover the most pivotal period in state history. He has been in the senate for 32 years and has been a political player since before statehood.

He was in Washington, D.C., during the pipeline years and was involved in both the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

''I think it would be a real important asset ... especially if they're located at Rasmuson Library here because that's where all the other collections are,'' said Terrence Cole, Naske's colleague at UAF.

''I'm sure his collection is going to be very valuable, not only for state history, but national history, too, just because of his importance.''

Alaska's other two national politicians, Rep. Don Young and Sen. Frank Murkowski, are either currently or will send their papers to Rasmuson.

''As the head of the history department, I guess I would be a little sad because we do have a good library here and the facilities,'' Carol Gold said. ''If he wants to raise $10 million, it's a shame he wouldn't play to our strengths.''

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