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This collection includes negatives from June and Farrar Burn's time in Gambell, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska between 1920 and 1921. The Burns were granted teaching appointments from the Bureau of Education in the Alaska School Service and assigned to Gambell where they lived for a year, working closely with the Yuit (Siberian Yup'ik) community there.
This collection consists of 12 glass plate negatives and 13 copy negatives that depict June and Farrar Burns' year long teaching appointments in Gambell, St. Lawrence Island with the Alasksa School Service between 1920 and 1921. This primarily includes photographs of the Yuit (Siberian Yup'ik) community with whom they were living and working. The majority of the photographs were shot outdoors of men, women and children outside of their homes, with their sled dogs, and hunting. There are also several images of June Burn teaching her young students as well as group portraits of the children in her class. The glass plate negatives appear to be copies made sometime between 1921 and 1923 of originals that were likely nitrate negatives shot by Farrar Burn.
Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
June Burn was born Inez Chandler Harris on June 19, 1893, in Anniston, Alabama. June met Farrar Burn (born September 22, 1888), a World War I veteran, while living in a cabin near Washington, D.C., and the two were wed in 1919. The couple began homesteading on the San Juan Islands in the Puget Sound before being granted teaching appointments from the Bureau of Education in the Alaska School Service and assigned to Gambell, St. Lawrence Island in Alaska in June, 1920. For a year they lived and worked closely with the Yuit (Siberian Yup'ik) population there. When June became pregnant with their first son North they returned to the San Juans.
The Burns continued to travel extensively with June writing for various periodicals and eventually publishing her own autobiography "Living High: An Unconventional Autobiography" in 1941. Later in their lives Farrar traveled the country lecturing on and June taught for a short while at the University of Washington. In 1967, June and Farrar moved to a small farm near Fort Smith, Arkansas – Farrar's home town. June died there in 1969, followed by Farrar in 1975.
The Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation made copy negatives (acetate) of the glass plate negatives in the 1960's as part of a large preservation project. Contact prints were also made at this time.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Purchased by the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, along with 71 ehtnographic items, from Farrar Burn in 1923.
Processed by Rachel Menyuk, Processing Archivist, in 2018.
The Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation purchased 71 Alaskan ethnographic items from Farrar Burn which are now in NMAI Ethnology collection with catalog numbers 11/6726 - 11/6795.
Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Conditions Governing Use
and NMAI Archive Center's Digital Image request
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); June and Farrar Burn photographs from Alaska, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
The June and Farrar Burn Papers, 1921-1969, can be found at Western Washington University, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies.
National Museum of the American Indian
4220 Silver Hill Rd
Suitland, Maryland 20746-2863