Alaska State Library
Claudia J.D. Kelsey Botanical Illustrations, Circa 1949-1988
Processed By: Anastasia Tarmann
24 ½ x20 ½ x 1 ½
1 Matted B&W photograph
8 Matted drawings
12 Botanical drawings in watercolor or ink
1 Matted B&W photo w/article
1 Illustrated newsletter
12 x15 x5
111 Drawings. 5 color photographs
8x14x 1 ½
6/2008, 3/2011, 2013
ACQUISITION: The collection was transferred to Bea Shepard by Claudia Kelsey and donated on March 13, 2008 by Bea Shepard via Judy Klein, and in person after the initial donation: Accession #2008-013, 2011-007, and Acc. #2013-014.
ACCESS: The collection is available for viewing; materials may not be photocopied.
COPYRIGHT: Requests for permission to publish or reproduce from the collection may be discussed with the Librarian.
PROCESSING: The bulk of the Claudia Kelsey Collection housed at the Alaska State Library Historical Collections consists of botanical illustrations in ink, pencil, and water color. Claudia made notes on the drawings, which were copied verbatim in the inventory below. Photographs and illustrated holiday cards are unnumbered in the original binder. All sketches and drawings are numbered. The collection was separated: 1. Two large drawings are held at State Museum [replicas are at the Historical Collections]. 2. Items that went to the Juneau-Douglas City Museum are listed in an inventory included in the Master File. Tissue separates items in Box one. Items in Box 3 were placed in Mylar sleeves. Some items received conservation treatment, such as double stick tape deposit removal. Intellectual arrangement: Biographical exhibit; matted botanical illustrations; botanical sketches with notes; cards and personal materials, including references to commissioned or volunteer work.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL NOTE
In the summer of 1951, Juneau botanical artist, Claudia Juanita Dona Kelsey packed up her crow quill pens and her India ink and set off on a great adventure. Her assignment: Draw the wild edible plants of interior and arctic Alaska for the first botanical reference of its kind in the Territory. The pen and ink drawings [in this collection are Claudia’s] sketches for the original illustrations for [the publication, Wild Edible Plants of Alaska] …The originals have been lost.
When Wild Edible Plants of Alaska was published in 1953, it was intended for military pilots who might be shot down without food in the northern wilderness…The study was directed by Dr. Christine Heller, territorial Department of Health nutritionist. The book was written under contract with the U.S. Air Force, with support from the Alaska Cooperative Extension Service…
Claudia Kelsey and Christine Heller traveled to villages and fish camps of arctic Alaska by small plane, flat-bottomed whaling boat and umiak, often landing on isolated air strips and beaches in search of the wild plants which Alaska Natives had long ago wisely recognized as indispensable food and medicine. Claudia is a botanist as well as a botanical illustrator. She identified and collected the plants in the field and sketched on the spot, noting color and surroundings. She avoided wind or rain, (but not mosquitoes) by taking her specimens to a shelter and drawing them that day. She never drew from photographs. She often signed her drawings with her initials, CJDK. [Biographical notes were originally written by Bea Shepard?].
According to the program for her wake [see Master File], Claudia Kelsey was born August 8, 1912 and died December 6, 2007. She worked in Los Angeles with immigrant children prior to coming to Alaska in the 1940s. She helped establish the Eagle River Camp, Artists in the Schools program, and Sea Week in Juneau. Claudia and her friend and housemate, Bea Shepard, received the Juneau Chamber’s Lifetime Achievement Award in October 2007.
SCOPE AND CONTENTS NOTE
Inclusive dates: 1949-2003. Bulk dates: 1949-1987. Botanical sketches of Edible and poisonous plants native to Alaska. Drawings in ink, pencil, water color, some with hand written notes. Hand painted or drawn cards (mostly Christmas). Photo subjects: the creator and her paintings, plant specimen. 1 B&W photo, 5 color photos, hand drawn or painted cards (mostly Christmas). Photo subjects: Claudia, Bea and Claudia, paintings, plant specimen. Memorabilia including memorial program and business license.
Kelsey, Claudia J.D, Illustrations.
Edible and poisonous plants, Alaska
Box 1 (Located in MS Oversized): Matted biographical exhibit, sketches
1 Unmatted sketch of V. Vitisidea
2 Claudia Kelsey, Illustrator
Wild Edible Plants of Alaska. 11.25’ x 21.50
2a Matted photographic portrait of Claudia [Kelsey] wearing
parka, Shismaref, July 1951. Biographical summary (See notes above).
17.75 x 17.50
2b Matted illustrations of Wild Cucumber hand dated Thane April 20, 1949 and V. Membranaceum [?] with handwritten notes describing the qualities of the plants. Biographical summary continued.
3 Matted Western Hemlock pen and ink sketch.
4 Pink Plumes Polygonam bistorta
Matted. Pink, brown, green watercolor.
5 Unnamed (Cloudberries?)
Matted. Pink, yellow, brown, green watercolor.
6 Juniperous Communis
Matted. Black ink.
7 Unnamed (Irises?)
Matted. Purple and green watercolor.
8 CALTHA PALUSTRIS MARSH MARIGOLD COWSLIP
Matted. Black ink.
9 Biographical: Vitamins in Alaska Plants, article: 3-Woman Team to Study Edible Alaska Plants, B&W Photograph of Christine Heller, Bea Shepard, and Claudia Kelsey (left to right), 1951.
10 Vassinium. [watercolor illustration]
11 Claytonia Tuberose, 7/26/49. [color illustration]
12 Williams, Maxcine. Poisonous Plants of Alaska. Alaska Health. June 1949, No. 6. Drawings by Claudia Kelsey.
13 Unidentified [pen and ink]
14 Saxifraga Punctata [pen and ink]
15 Taraxacum Dandelion [pen and ink]
16 Angelica genuflexa, pen and ink
17 Streptopus Amplexifolius- Wild Cucumber [pen and ink]
18 Angelica Lucida [pen and ink]
19 Fireweed Shoots – Epilobium Angustifolium, May, 1949 [color illustration]
20 Spring Beauty – Claytonia Siberica [color illustration]
21 Nuphar Polysepalum [pen and ink]
22 Salix Pulchra [color illustration]
23 Young plant. Cicuta mackenziana. Potter Rd., Anchorage. 6, 7, 1951
24 Angelica Lucida
25 Cicuta Douglas II
26 Ligusticum Hultenii
27 Angelical Genuflexa
28 Cicuta Mackenziana
29 Angelica Genuflexa
30 Tayaruk. Goose Grass
31 Polygonum Alaskanum. Wild Rubarb.
32 Pre-run pull. [Red mushrooms]
34 Sambucus Pubens. Elderberry
35 Vaccinium Alaskensis [berries]
36 Poisonous root of Cicuta mackenziana [matted]
Box 2: Cards and drawings
Botanical Illustrations. Black ink, pencil, photos, plant specimens. Pencil, ink, and color sketches with handwritten notes describing the qualities of the plants and referring infrequently to place names. One color photograph.
1. URTICA LYALLII Young Nettle Shoots
2. Antennaxia Monocephala
2a. Antennaxia Monocephala
3. Bog out highway - c. holostoma?
4. From plant at Nome, I think
5. Cloudberry - Rubus Chamaemorus
6. From: Edible Roots and Berries of Northern Canada by Porsild [three images]
7. Wild Onion
8. [Bulbs of unidentified plant – possibly Chocolate Lily]
9. Three flowerhead
10. Isetusa 1987
11. Start of Seedpod…[Possibly Iris]
12. Malaxis Paludosa
13. Malaxis Monophyllos - Use?
14. Juneau Rumex A ctosella Sour grass sheep sorrel - Same as that sent from Anchorage
15. Cypripedium Guttatum - My copy
16. Orchis Aristata
17. [Unnamed berry]
18. [Unnamed berry]
19. Rumex Arcticus - “Wild Spinach”
20. Rumex arcticus - See watercolor (1951) -CJDK 1988
21. Copy from watercolor-CJDK Rumex Arctic[?]. Bottom.
22. Copy from watercolor-CJDK Rumex Arctic[?]. Top.
23. Polygonum Alaskanum
24. Lambs quarters – chenopodium
25. Fireside cook books also give fiddlehead fern sprouts et. and nasturtum leaves as salad greens. Lambs quarters’?...
26. About 48 stalks in threes
27. from Life Anchorage
28. Montia tuberose (= Claytonia Tuberosa)
29. Claylonia Tuberosa (Potatoes) Keep C.J.D. K. copy
30. Claylonia Tuberosa (Potatoes) Pale Shiny Pink 7/26/49
31. CLAYTONIA SIBERICA Spring Beauty – [ rosy stem almost like a strawberry blossom] [3 images together]
32. Sagina intermedia
33. Cerastrium fischerianum
34. Stellaria ruscifolia
35. Stellaria Alabama
36. [Unnamed plant]
37. Kotsebue [3 images]
38. Beach Greens [2 images]
39. Anemone richardsonii
40. Caltha Natans used, but not good ink lines messy
41. Papaver alboroseum
42. Papaver Alaskanum
43. Papaver Alaskanum = P. radicatum ssp alaskanum
45. Barbarea Orthoceras - cress? - natural size [2 images]
46. BARBAREA ORTHOCERUS Cress
47. Are you sure we have this? Draba Calsin
47a. Are you sure we have this? Draba Calsin
48. ARABUS [Arabis] LYRATA Rock Cress
49. Arabis lyrata Small-Cress(?) 1949 [2 images]
50. Parrya or cardamine?? Signed, 1988
51. Parrya nudicaulis (Parry’s wallflower)[2 images]
52. Drosera angelica - later in year droplets larger
53. RHODIOLA INTEGRIFOLIA SEDUM
54. Saxifriga tricuspidata
55. Saxifraga Serphyllifolia
56. Saxifraga faliclasa
57. Saxifraga hieracifolia
58. Saxifraga Nivalis
59. Saxifraga reflexa
60. [Unnamed berry, pink and green watercolor]
61. Photo-C. Kelsey enlargement B. Shepard from Auke nu laid
62. White Red Raspberry –
62a. Seed-Nutka rose Natural size
62b. Bog Cranberry seeds - Number of seeds? - Skin flaps together only wire hair coming out
62c. R. Nutkava 1987
62d Like domestic Rasp. - red & green yellow Prickles not too heavy
63. Nagoon [blue ink] Lagoon berry [pencil, same as sketch] - From Kodachrome slides-Maxcene Williams A.D.H. poster-Heller - Salmon Berry - Wild rhubarb Polygonum
64. Epilobium latifolium
66. 1987 V. visil.idia[?]
67. Rather stiff firm look - flowers 2-4 together on drooping pedicels most or all (flowers 4 parted and stamens 8) - [Blueberry?]
68. Marsh marigold Catha [2 images]
69. Marsh marigold – dull green
70. Nagoon berry - Rubus Stellatus
71. Nagoon berry - R. acticus Fairbanks 7/10/51
72. R. Hudsonianum - Back of leaf
73. Ribes hudsonianum - Black Currant
74. Growing in yd from brant Rd out by [?] Haines June 1986
75. Potentilla biflora
76. Polentilla hypartica (= p. emargevata)
77. [Unnamed berry?][3 sketches]
78. Thimbleberry Rubus
79. Malus Fusca Crab apple
80. Yukon Strawberry – yellow rose center flower
81. Bog Cranberry
82. Bog Cranberry - nagoonberry
83. V. Ovalifolium
84. Beach pea
85. Viola Selkirkii (Reduce -)
86. V. selkirkii - Viola Selkirkii Redo – also seems large [2 images]
87. Reduce 67% [Viola Selkirkii]
88. Viola biflora
89. Viola Selkirkii [2 images]
90. viola biflora [2 images]
91. Silverberry – keep CJDK copy
92. V. oliginosum-berry light blue
93. Soapberry - don’t make berries too round some longish-[bottom part of plant]
94. Soapberry – warm yellow brown [top part of plant]
95. Young fireweed - willow weed shoots - May 12, 1994 - Life size - Epilobium Angustifolum
96. Young fireweed – Anchorage 1951
97. Epilobium latifolium - glacier flower
98. Seed Stalk - Plantago maretima
99. For Edible Plants 1949 - goose Tongue - Plantago Maritima
100. Hippuris [with dried specimen]
101. Slightly more than life size - Fairbanks 1957 -
101a. Mouse food Elak –
102. Cicuta Dougasii
102a. Angelica Lucida
103. Cow Parsnip
104. Angelica Lucida
105. ANGELICA GENUFLEXA
106. HERACLEUM LANATUM
107. MaryLou ANGELICA GENUFLEXA (NONPOISONOUS) LIGUSTICUM HULTENII (NONPOISONOUS) CICUTA DOUGLASII (POISONOUS) .
108. MaryLou CICUTA MAKENZIANA (POISONOUS) ANGELICA GENUFLEXA LIGUSTICUM HULTENII (NONPOISONOUS) HERACLEUM LANATUM (NONPOISONOUS) ANGELICA LUCIDA CICUTA DOUGLASII (POISONOUS)
110. LIGUSTICUM HULTENII
111. July, seed pods Labridor tea (Fairbanks) 1951
112. Ledum groenlandicum Labrador Tea
113. Primula cuneifolia – Redo: more pointed ends
114. Primula cuneifolia
115. Dillingham 1951 Bark Bean
116. Fauria cristagalli - June 1987
117. Veronica stelleri
118. Paintbrush – Highway out of Haines-mile
119. C. hyperborea - from Haines ditch June [with dried specimen]
120. Pinguicula villosa
121. Valeriana Capitate
122. Lactuca…Haines - (Rainbow glacier camp) (very late Robust plants) [with dried specimen]
124. Koenigia islandica
Notebook containing Christmas and other cards (Children, winter scenes, animals, flowers); correspondence; print for Juneau Methodist Church cook book, 1967; photos of four paintings, photo of Bea and Claudia with: “2003 Picture Dick Heacock” on verso.
Box 3: Loose drawings, publications, memorabilia
Drawings, publications, (one matted); memorial program; letter from Department of
Health and Welfare regarding publication; Sea Week drawings, How to be a pioneer; Business license.
Similar items from Accession 2013-014.
1. Young plant. Cicuta mackenziana. Potter Rd., Anchorage. 6, 7, 1951
2. Angelica Lucida
3. Cicuta Douglas II
4. Ligusticum Hultenii
5. Angelical Genuflexa
6. Cicuta Mackenziana
7. Angelica Genuflexa
8. Tayaruk. Goose Grass
9. Polygonum Alaskanum. Wild Rubarb.
10. Pre-run pull. [Red mushrooms]
12. Sambucus Pubens. Elderberry
13. Vaccinium Alaskensis [berries]
14. Poisonous root of Cicuta mackenziana [matted]
Alaska Department of Education & Early Development
Division of Libraries, Archives & Museums
P.O. Box 110571 Juneau Alaska 99811-0571 (907) 465-2925 Fax: (907) 465-2990