This fonds consists of 0.1 cm of textual records, 859 photographs (242 black and white negatives, 300 black and white prints - original masters; 766 black and white digital files (TIFF), 15 colour digital files (TIFF) - archival masters; 55 black and white negatives, 23 black and white prints - original and archival masters), 15 8mm film reels (original masters), four 16mm film reels (original masters), 19 Betacam SP videocassettes (archival masters), and one 8mm film reel (original and archival master).
The textual records consist of a membership certificate. The majority of the photographs document Sam’s life prospecting, mining, and trapping between 1930 and 1950, while a smaller selection document Sam’s nuclear family life beginning in 1952. There are five main series of photographs: work in the Great Bear Lake region with the Northern Transportation Company and uranium mines in the early to mid-1930s; gold mining, camping, and prospecting in the Great Slave Lake area in the mid-1930s through the 1940s; work on the Canol project in 1942-1943; trapping on the barren lands (tundra) of the Keewatin region near Clinton-Colden Lake and the Back River area in the late 1930s to 1950; and Sam’s nuclear family life from 1952 onwards. Communities documented in this fonds include early images of Yellowknife’s Old Town and Latham Island, Fort Franklin (Deline), Cameron Bay camps, Norman Wells, Fort Resolution, and Fort Smith. The moving images document being on the land, prospecting, and hunting between 1930 and 1960, and town and family life between 1950 and 1970.
The digital files (TIFF) are scans of the original black and white negatives, black and white prints, and colour negatives, while the videocassettes are transfers from the original 8mm and 16mm film reels, all created by Sam Otto and loaned by his son Sheldon in 2000. The majority of the originally loaned items were returned by Sam Otto's daughter Lorraine in 2015, in addition to some newly offered materials.