Fonds yuk-1039 - Frank Slim fonds

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Frank Slim fonds

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on provenance of fonds.

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CA yuk yuk-1039

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  • [ca. 1925-1955], 1967 (Creation)
    Slim, Frank, 1898-1973

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Physical description

102 photographs : 101 b&w prints, 1 col. print

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Name of creator

Biographical history

Frank Slim was born June 27, 1898 to Slim and Ginnie Jim, in a small village at Marsh Lake, Yukon. His great-uncle was Skookum Jim who first discovered gold on Rabbit Creek. Frank had three sisters and one brother: Suzy, Lily, Anne and Willy. He grew up listening to and speaking three native languages - Tagish, Southern Tutchone and Tlingit. Around 1917 Frank married Agnes (Aggie) Broeren, niece to hereditary Chief Jim Boss and great niece to Chief Mundessa. The couple had five children: Sophie (Miller), George, Irene (Adamson), Owen and Virginia (Lindsay). From about the age of 16 Frank began working as a deckhand on sternwheelers. Realizing that education was important he paid a non-native man to teach him how to read and write. He worked on the Taylor and Drury (T&D) supply boat, Yukon Rose, from 1929 through the 1930s as it travelled the Teslin, Mayo and Ross rivers. He also worked on a ferry on the Mackenzie River, NWT. In 1937 Frank wrote the examination in Vancouver that qualified him as a steamboat captain and he was now able to pilot boats to a maximum of 1500 T. dead weight. To become a licensed captain and pilot he had to give up his First Nation status. Frank worked mainly for the British Yukon Navigation Co. (BYNCo.) as well as T&D. In 1940-1941 Frank began a job freighting supplies and equipment, via the Dease and Liard rivers, for the construction of the Watson Lake Airport. In the off-season, when sternwheelers were beached for the season, Frank worked at a variety of occupations including transporting mail, freighting supplies overland to remote communities, trapping, and placer mining. After the sternwheelers stopped operating in the 1950s Frank piloted the passenger ferries on the Pelly and Stewart rivers until permanent bridges were built, and he operated heavy equipment, trapped and purchased furs. In his later years Frank was captain of the MV Schwatka a tourist boat owned and operated by John Scott. He was also the pilot of the sternwheeler Keno on her last trip to Dawson City in 1960. Frank spent his last days at Macaulay Lodge in Whitehorse and died in the summer of 1973. Frank Slim was honoured by having a mountain, Mount Slim, named after him. He was also named a transportation pioneer by the Yukon Transportation Museum in the 1990s.

Custodial history

Donated by Frank Slim's daughter, Virginia Lindsay, in 2003.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of original photographs, taken or collected by Frank Slim, which reflect his life and travels on Yukon waterways. Included are groups of images of freighting on the Liard and Dease rivers, ca. 1940; the Yukon Rose, ca. 1936-1937; other vessels - the Loon, Nasutlin, and Aksala; river views - Five Finger Rapids, the Yukon, Ross and Teslin rivers, cabins and settlements on the rivers and lakes. Also included are images of the communities of Carcross, Ross River, Lower Post and Whitehorse; Chooutla School; planes; family and friends including Agnes Slim, Donald Walker, and Big Salmon Harry and his wife Elsie and son Johnny; and spring time activities. The colour photograph depicts Frank Slim standing on the deck of the M.V. Schwatka in 1967.

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Some photographs may be in postcard format.

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Restrictions on access

Original photograph #131 (Yukon Archives #95) is restricted. No copying without permission of donor. All photographs except #131 (YA #95) may be used for the internet.

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Finding aids

Caption list is available.

Associated materials

PHO 138 (81/81) single item, photograph of Frank Slim and family.

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