Skip to main content

Benjamin Frank Heintzleman papers

Call Number: MS 275

Scope and Contents

The Benjamin Frank Heintzleman Papers consist of personal papers that document Heintzleman's career as a forester and territorial governor of Alaska. The papers span the years 1921 to 1965, but are most complete for the period of Heintzleman's term as governor (1953-1956). They attest to Heintzleman's efforts to bring industry to Alaska and develop its economy. Ava Grove, Heintzleman's sister, donated the papers, including correspondence, diaries, photographs, writings, clippings, and topical files, to the Yale University Library in 1966. Heintzleman's official gubernatorial papers and family correspondence are not included.

The papers are arranged in two series:

  1. I. CORRESPONDENCE, 1937-1965
  2. II. TOPICAL FILES, 1921-1965

Series I, which is arranged by topic, includes correspondence with accompanying background material, such as minutes of meetings, printed material, press releases, and legislation. Series II, which is arranged by topic or record type, includes diaries, a scrapbook, sound recordings, subject files, photographs, writings, and printed material. Each series contains substantive material on Alaska and Heintzleman's activities as governor. Series II has relatively more material on Heintzleman's activities as a forester.

The papers include material on Alaska's history and development. In folder 27 there is an album of photographs from the 1920s showing scenes of Alaska's towns, harbors, industry, and rough glaciated terrain. Later scenes of Alaska can be found in folder 32 and in undated Christmas cards at the end of folder 2. Printed material in folders 33-38 discusses Alaskan history, economy, and progress towards statehood.

In 1953 Benjamin Frank Heintzleman was appointed territorial governor of Alaska, succeeding Ernest Gruening. The clippings in box 7 document the intense speculation generated at the prospect of the first Republican appointee in twenty years. Correspondence in folders 3-4 records the efforts of Heintzleman's supporters to procure the nomination for him, without his active campaigning. Heintzleman's inaugural address is in folder 46. The papers also contain photographs, memorabilia, and speeches from other gubernatorial appearances. Correspondence following the announcement of Heintzleman's decision to resign (1956) is in folders 5-7.

Issues which arose during Heintzleman's term are discussed in correspondence in Series I and in the clippings, scrapbooks, and topical files in Series II. The development of highways, a tax incentive program to attract industry, and the Aluminum Company of America's proposal to generate electric power at the Taiya site were all matters of concern to Heintzleman. Folder 10 includes material on gubernatorial appointees and written criticisms of the governor by a group of discontented Anchorage Republicans. In 1954 Heintzleman advocated partitioning the territory to insure passage of a statehood bill for Alaska's most populated areas. Folders 12-13 and clippings in box 7 document this controversial stance. There are detailed exchanges on the subject with the president of the University of Alaska, Ernest Patty.

Following his retirement, Heintzleman became a fund-raiser for the Yale Forestry School. Folders 14-16 include minutes of the University Council Committee for the Forestry School, committee reports, and correspondence with the dean of the School of Forestry, George A. Garrett.

A summary of Heintzleman's career can be found in the biographical material in folder 20 and on a tape in box 6. In a radio interview recorded in 1964, only a few months before his death, Heintzleman reviewed his career and hopes for the future of Alaska.


  • 1921-1965


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Ava Grove, 1966.


Arranged in two series: I. Correspondence, 1937-1965. II. Topical Files, 1921-1965.


3 Linear Feet (8 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The papers consist of correspondence, diaries, writings, clippings, photographs, and topical files documenting the career of Benjamin Frank Heintzleman, particularly his term as territorial governor of Alaska (1953-1957) and his work promoting industrial growth and economic development in Alaska.

Biographical / Historical

Benjamin Frank Heintzleman was a career forester. Following graduation from the Yale School of Forestry in 1910, he joined the United States Forest Serivce. He was sent to Alaska in 1918 and became regional forester for Alaska in 1937. In 1953 he was appointed territorial governor and served in that capacity until January 3, 1957.

Guide to the Benjamin Frank Heintzleman Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Diane E. Kaplan, William E. Brown, Jr. and Robert Richards
October 1985
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)


Sterling Memorial Library
Room 147
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours