Finding Aids - Alcatraz

Finding aids contain information on the contents and significance of an archival collection. The finding aid may include descriptive information; repository information; collection history; biographical or historical information on creators of the collection; and in some cases a container or folder list of everything in the collection. The collection is housed at the Park Archives and Records Center and can be viewed during open hours or by appointment. Please visit the Collections page for more information or email us.
Don DeNevi Research and Manuscript Collection GOGA 17975 (PDF 2.7MB) (RTF 42.2MB)
The Don DeNevi Research and Manuscript collection consists of materials compiled by Don DeNevi while researching potential articles and books relative to the U.S. Penitentiary, Alcatraz, aviation history and west coast culture throughout the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries, and World War II, particularly as it relates to California. Focused on the inmate experience on Alcatraz, DeNevi researched seminal events in the history of the prison, such as the 1946 Riot and the 1962 Escape, in addition to lesser known escape attempts. DeNevi amassed a diverse collection of periodical clippings and excerpts, as well as books, from the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries which mainly address World War I, but also document the history of and popular reaction to earlier conflicts such as the Spanish American War and the Russo-Japanese War. Finally, DeNevi gathered a wide array of press and corporate photographs, as well as various source materials which document all aspects of war work on the west coast from U.S. entry into World War II following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 to the return of troops to the San Francisco Port of Embarkation following the end of the Korean War in 1953; subjects include civilian contributions, Red Cross ventures, coastal defenses and military maneuvers, troop transport, and industrial production.

Alcatraz Blueprint Collection GOGA 18298 (PDF 1.5MB) (RTF 21.2MB)
The collection consists of 445 drawings related to structures and activities on Alcatraz Island. The majority of the items are architectural drawings of structures constructed or modified during the Federal Penitentiary years.

Betty Wallar Alcatraz Collection GOGA 19200 (PDF 506KB) (RTF 4.96MB)
This collection is comprised of Earl Wallar’s personal papers, notes, scrapbooks, photographs, and manuals/instructions that depict his work and time spent as a locksmith on Alcatraz. Earl Wallar was an Alcatraz prison employee from 1936-1950’s. There is an extensive collection of original drawings, sketches, poems, art notes, and instructional art books that was created by and belonged to inmates on Alcatraz. The included artists are John Paul Chase, Bernard Paul Coy, Earl Eagar, and James Widmer.

Marc S. Boatwright Alcatraz Indian Occupation Collection GOGA 35158 (PDF 250KB) (RTF 13.1MB)
One box of photographs, flyers, correspondence, manuscripts, and legal documents from the Alcatraz Indian Occupation, 1969-1970. Included are the Articles of Incorporation for Indians of All Tribes, Inc., Indians of All Tribes newsletters, and poems written by Indians while on the island.

McPherson & Weed Family Alcatraz Papers GOGA 35178 (PDF 285KB) (RTF 4.12MB)
Personal items belonging to the McPherson family while they lived on Alcatraz and work-related papers belonging to Montrose McPherson. This collection contains other items related to family life on the island such as the Alcatraz Women's Club, and personal events.

Joseph Morris Alcatraz Occupation Collection GOGA 35283 (PDF 73KB) (RTF 121KB)
Documents, diaries, audio recordings, posters and other memorabilia produced and collected by Joseph "Indian Joe" Morris, during and after his involvement in the Indian Occupation of Alcatraz, November 1969 to June 1971.

Erwin Thompson Research Collection GOGA 35360 (PDF 886KB) (RTF 5.6MB)
This is the combined collection of research materials created and amassed by NPS historian Erwin N. "T" Thompson, used for multiple historic resource studies (HRS) on GGNRA properties from the 1970s through the 1990s. The bulk of the collection is Thompson's handwritten and indexed notes, arranged by the specific topics of each study. The largest series, for his Presidio of San Francisco (PSF) HRS, includes copies of primary sources, maps, and post returns. His studies of Alcatraz and PSF are among the most thorough historic studies of those sites.

Last updated: May 24, 2022

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