Sep 27, 2018 - Sale 2486

Sale 2486 - Lot 177

Price Realized: $ 875
Show Hammer Price?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 500 - $ 750
(ALASKA.) Photographs and other papers of gold miner and fox rancher Frederick F. Berry. 129 items (66 photographs in various sizes and formats; 38 negatives; 8 manuscript items; 12 clippings by or about Berry; and 5 pieces of printed ephemera); condition generally strong. Vp, 1917-59 and undated

Additional Details

Frederick Forrest Berry (1871-circa 1960) was a New Hampshire native who went to Alaska for the 1898 gold rush and stayed through at least 1925, building a successful fox ranch in Homer. He relocated the ranch to Bangor, ME and then Hayfork, CA before retiring to Plymouth, NH, where he lived through at least 1959. In addition to his fox ranching, he was a frequent contributor to Black Fox Magazine; ran a taxidermy business called "Museum of Natural Science" at "New Alaska Gardens" in New Hampshire; and in 1959 he published "Song of Alaska," which he hoped would become the state song (it didn't).
The photographs are the heart of this lot; many of them date from Alaska circa 1917-25, and others from Maine or California into the 1930s. His foxes are well represented. Many photos are captioned on verso, including one of an unshaven Berry laughing outside a crude log cabin (illustrated): "Made in Alaska, about the time of the breaking out of the World War. Note the swollen ankles--result of freezing from running four miles after going to the bottom of a river through the ice at 40 below zero." He notes on another that the cabin was "built entirely by my own hands in Alaska, even to the shingles on the roof," pointing out the "moose meat drying on cabin wall" and the moose hide nailed to the wall. One mountain landscape is captioned "From this gulch in the far land of the midnight sun, I mined gold, high above timberline." Another reads "F.F. Berry saying the last rights over the grave of a deceased Alaska Eskimo woman, Homer, Alaska, 1921." Other highlights of this collection include Berry's 1951 patent for fox kennels; clippings which illuminate Berry's unusual career; elaborate illustrated letterhead for two of his later businesses; 2 engraved maps of Alaska; and 5 letters and receipts from his Alaska days, 1918-23.