Biographical Note

Scope and Content

Digital Content/Other Formats

Restrictions on Access

Restrictions on Use

Acquisition Info

Processing Info

Bibliography

Inventory   [ + ]

Subject Terms


Guide to the George W. Carmack Papers



Manuscript Collection No.: 5176
Accession No.: 5176-001
Creator: Carmack, George W. (George Washington), 1860-1922 , creator
Title: George W. Carmack papers
Bulk: 1869-1994
Quantity: 1.21 cubic ft. (5 boxes)
Languages: Collection materials are in English.
George W. Carmack, ca. 1905. Photo: Asahel Curtis. Asahel Curtis Photo Company Collection, A. Curtis 62086

Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities



Biographical Note

George Washington Carmack (1860-1922) was a miner whose discovery claim at Bonanza Creek on August 17, 1896, started the Klondike Gold Rush.

After deserting the United States Marine Corps in 1882, George Carmack lived among the Tagish Indians in the Yukon Valley along with his common law wife, Kate Carmack, and their daughter, Graphie. Kate's brother, Skookum Jim, and Jim's nephew, Tagish Charlie, also made their fortunes mining for gold as partners of Carmack.

George and Kate later moved to a ranch near Hollister, California, and lived with George's sister, Rose Watson (later Rose Curtis). George eventually left California, parting ways with Kate as well as his former partners. He left Kate and Graphie with Rose, and in 1900 George married Marguerite Laimee in Olympia, Washington. Kate, illiterate and nearly destitute, began a difficult legal battle to prove she was George's wife and entitled to alimony. She eventually dropped the case in hopes of winning back her husband. When this attempt failed, she settled in Carcross, Alaska, where she died in 1920. After Carmack's death in 1922, Graphie, now married to Marguerite's brother, and Rose challenged Marguerite's appointment as administratrix of Carmack's estate. The case was settled out of court.

In 1990, James A. Johnson published Carmack of the Klondike. The book was republished in 2001 as George Carmack: The Man of Mystery Who Set Off the Klondike Gold Rush.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of 1.21 cubic feet of records, spanning the years 1869 to 1994, with the bulk of the records dating from 1881-1990. Approximately half of the records are the personal papers of George Carmack. Included are letters, court documents, legal documents, and photocopies of photographs of George Carmack. The bulk of the letters were written by Carmack to his sister, Rose Watson. James Wickersham's correspondence documents his research on Carmack. The court papers relate to the legal battles over Carmack's estate. There are separate subgroups for the papers of his first wife, Kate Carmack, and for the research papers of his biographer, James A. Johnson.

The Kate Carmack subgroup consists mainly of correspondence with her attorney, John H. Durst, from the period 1900-1901.

The James A. Johnson subgroup includes correspondence with publishers and Carmack's heirs pertaining to the writing and publication of Johnson's biography of Carmack, Carmack of the Klondike (1990), as well as a manuscript for the book.

Digital Content/Other Formats

View selections from this collection in digital format

Restrictions on Access

The collection is open to all users.

Restrictions on Use

Literary rights originally granted to James A. Johnson by Mrs. Arthur Howard, grand-niece of Carmack's wife, Marguerite, and other heirs were transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info

The papers were donated to the Libraries by James Albert Johnson in 2000.

Processing Info

Processing was completed in 2002.

Photographs and slides of George W. Carmack, Kate Carmack, and others taken at Bonanza Creek, Yukon Territory, and California, ca. 1883-1920; James Albert Johnson, ca. 1990; and Carmack's descendents were transferred to the George W. Carmack Photograph Collection in the division in 2002.

Bibliography

Carmack, George W., My Experiences in the Yukon (Seattle, The Trade Printery, c. 1933).


Inventory

  
Box/FolderDate
1/1Incoming Letters1883, 1991, 1921

  
Box/FolderDate
1/2-9Outgoing Letters1883-1912

  
Box/FolderDate
Correspondence of Others
1/10Other Family Members1899-1906
1/11-12Wickersham, James1938-1939
1/13Re: Mason, James1938

  
Box/FolderDate
1/14Notes1883-1884

  
Box/FolderDate
Military Records
1/15 Enlistment Papers - United States Marine Corps1881
1/16Deck Logs of USS Wachusetts 1882

  
Box/FolderDate
Court Papers
1/17Saftig and Curtis v. Carmack1922
1/18Re: Estate of George W. Carmack1923
2/1-2Re: Estate of George W. Carmack1924
2/3Frye v. Carmack1924
2/4Re: Estate of Carmack1925
2/5Re: Estate of Carmack1926
2/6-7Re: Estate of Marguerite P. Carmack1942
2/8Frye v. Carmackn.d.
2/9From Washington Supreme Courtn.d.
2/10-11Briefs - Supreme Court of the State of Washingtonn.d.
3/1-3Briefs - Supreme Court of the State of Washingtonn.d.

  
Box/FolderDate
3/4Legal Documents - Marriage Certificate1900

  
Box/FolderDate
3/5Legal Documents of Others1913-1938, n.d.

  
Box/FolderDate
Publications
3/6"Early Days at Caribous Crossing and the Discovery of Gold on the Klondike," "The Klondike News"1898, 1950

  
Box/FolderDate
3/7Financial Records of Others1913

  
Box/FolderDate
3/8Photographs (Photocopies)1869-1990, n.d.

  
Box/FolderDate
Kate Carmack Papers
4-1/4Incoming Letters1900-1901
4/5-7Outgoing Letters1900-1901
4/8-12General Correspondence of Durst, John H.1900-1901
4/13Financial Records1901

  
Box/FolderDate
James A. Johnson Papers
4/14Incoming Letters1960-1994
4/15Outgoing Letters1987-1990
4/16Publications - Carmack of the Klondike 1990
5/1-17Writings - The Carmack Storyn.d.
5/18Interview Notes with Mrs. Arthur H. Howard1974
5/19Listsn.d.
5/20Clippings1987

Subject Terms

Personal Names:
Carmack, George W. (George Washington), 1860-1922--Archives.
Carmack, George W. (George Washington), 1860-1922--Estate.
Carmack, George W. (George Washington), 1860-1922--Family.
Carmack, Kate, creator.
Carmack, Kate--Archives.
Durst, John H.
Johnson, James Albert, 1905-, creator.
Johnson, James Albert, 1905- --Archives.
Wickersham, James, 1857-1939.
Geographic Names:
Klondike River Valley (Yukon)--Gold discoveries.
Yukon Territory--Gold discoveries.
Subjects:
Claims against decedents' estates--West (U.S.)
Gold miners--Yukon Territory--Klondike River Valley--Archives.
Pioneers--Yukon Territory--Klondike River Valley--Archives.
Genre Headings:
Legal documents.
Titles:
Carmack of the Klondike.
Last modified: October 25, 2013
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