Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center
Bob and Evangeline Atwood Alaska Resource Center
625 C Street
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: 907-929-9235
Fax: 907-929-9233

Guide prepared by: Sara Piasecki, Archivist

TITLE: James E. Cook Collection



Dates: 1942, 1954, 1958

Extent: 16 items

Language and Scripts: The collection is in English.

Name of creator(s): Frank Leslie McRae, Betty McRae

Administrative/Biographical History:
Frank Leslie “FL” McRae travelled the Alaska Highway with his wife Betty, daughters Frankie
and Vicki, and stepson Jim in 1954 and 1958. Betty kept journals of both trips, detailing the
family’s experiences. The second journal ends with the sentiment: “This is my second diary of
pulling a trailer up the Alaska Highway, & I do hope if we ever get another bright idea, that we
can read the first diary & if that doesn’t convince us, we can get out the second one – that
should do it.”

Scope and Content Description:
The collection consists of two journals, 13 black-and-white copy prints of photographs taken
by the McRaes on the 1958 trip, and one postcard sent home during the same trip. Of note are
two photographs of bush pilot Jimmy “Midnight” Anderson. Also included is one empty World
War II-era ration book, belonging to three-year-old James Edward Cook.

Arrangement: Arranged by format


Restrictions on Access: The collection is open for research use.

Physical Access: Original items in good condition.

Technical Access: No special equipment is needed to access the materials.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:
The Anchorage Museum is the owner of the materials and makes available reproductions for
research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the
Anchorage Museum before any reproduction use. The Anchorage Museum does not
necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission
for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation:
James E. Cook Collection, Anchorage Museum, B2016.023


Acquisition and Appraisal Information
Donated by Jim Cook in September 2016.

Anderson, Jimmy, 1926-2008
Alaska Highway—Description and travel

Detailed Description of the Collection

- Journal, dated January 7-February 23, 1954, Lawrence, Kansas to Anchorage, Alaska.
- Journal, dated June 5-July 10, 1958, Topeka, Kansas, to Anchorage, Alaska. With cover
letter addressed to Mom & Dad, re bid on homestead lot along Glenn Highway.
- War Ration Book Two. Issued to James Edward Cook, Espanola, New Mexico. 1942

Photographs – identifications of individuals and locations provided by donor
 1 — [Frankie on her bicycle next to fifth wheel trailer in trailer park, Topeka]
 2 — [modified military Jeep with airplane tires pulling fifth wheel trailer, Betty in foreground, Topeka]
3 — [family posed with Jeep, trailer, and automobile, Topeka. Left to right: FL, Frankie, Betty, Jim, friend Bill Keegan, Vicki]
 4 — [Vicki and Frankie at Teslin River, bridge in background]
 5 — [view across Peace River railroad bridge. The auto bridge had washed out, and planks had been laid down on the railroad tracks for automobile traffic]
6 — [semi tractor-trailer rig stopped on side of highway to assist the McRaes, tire chains hanging off front bumper]
 7 — [view down muddy highway, Jeep and fifth-wheel trailer stopped on shoulder]
8 — [similar to .7]
 9 — [front of automobile modified by McRaes en route to Alaska]
10 — [rear and side view of modified automobile]
11 — [Jimmy and Mona Anderson posed next to truck]
 12 — [Jimmy “Midnight” Anderson posed next to truck]
 13 — [photograph of photograph of Jimmy “Midnight” Anderson on display at museum after Anderson’s death, circa 2010]
 14 — Sam McGee’s cabin, Whitehorse, Yukon. BW-6 [on verso:] Published by Hougen’s Limited, Whitehorse, Yukon [photographic postcard] Guide written: September 26, 2016