Original Hand Written Journal of Alvin Frank McDonald

ca. 1891

National Park Service, Centennial One Object Exhibit

National Park Service, Centennial One Object Exhibit

The object pictured is the original journal of Alvin Frank McDonald. Alvin moved with his family to Wind Cave in 1890 when his father, Jesse D., was hired to oversee the South Dakota Mining Company's "mining claim" at Wind Cave in 1889. Alvin fell in love with the cave and systematically explored about 8-10 miles (13-16k) of passageways. He kept this journal as a record of his explorations. He described his survey of the cave and his naming of the rooms and passageways. He explored the cave with candlelight and rolled out string to mark his way out of the cave. He shared his passion for the cave with visitors by becoming, in his own words, "the Chief Guide" at Wind Cave. The journal is bound in reddish paper with blue cloth binding and prior to conservation there were torn sections of the cover and several pages that were in need of repair. A label above the original cover label has Irene Long's address on it (Irene Long is Alvin McDonald'ss niece). The journal is quite legible and tells of Alvin McDonald'ss experiences and investigations of the cave. In September 2010 the diary was sent to the Conservation Center for Art and Historic artifacts in Philadelphia for restoration and duplication. The object was restored and returned to Wind Cave National Park along with a new surrogate copy. The journal and copy are now cataloged as WICA 1101-a and 1101-b. A new display was built in the Visitor Center exhibit area at Wind Cave for exhibition of the original journal during times of high visitation. The original journal was donated to Wind Cave by Inez Foley (McDonald) in Aug. 1981 and was originally cataloged on 25 August, 1981.

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