Alaskan History Magazine

Jul-Aug coverAlaskan History Magazine’s second issue shares the history of the aviation pioneers known as bush pilots, from the first attempt to climb into Alaska’s skies  in 1911 to 1935, when the future of flight in the Last Frontier was well-established and looking bright! 

Ak Steamship Co 2 420Other articles in this issue explore Alaska’s first newspaper, The Esquimaux, which was published a little northwest of Nome; the Alaska Steamship Company, which became an Alaskan shipping monopoly; a 1916 horseback trip across the Kenai Peninsula by the dauntless world traveller Frank G. Carpenter; Alaska’s first commercially successful novelist, Barrett Willoughby, whose every book was about or set in Alaska, and two were made into movies; and an exciting childhood in the gold rush town of Nome by Irving Kenny, who saw it all first-hand!

Wrapping up this issue are brief highlights about Alaska’s early missionaries, the ubiquitous white canvas tent, a half dozen classic books on Alaska’s history, and a guide to some of the sources and resources used in researching this issue. You won’t want to miss this one!

Click here to go to the orders page for subscriptions or single issues!

 

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A New Books Site

First six books

I have reworked an old website I built a few years ago and it is now a showcase for my Baker’s Dozen books on Alaskan history. The front page displays all the book covers, and clicking on any book title will take you to an in-depth description and ordering information for that book. Photographs, excerpts, quotes and more from each book can be found on their individual pages, easily accessed from anywhere on the site via the book titles listed in the right sidebar.

Bottom Seven BooksA page about my company, Northern Light Media, and another linking to my new Alaskan History Magazine round out this simple and straightforward book site. It will be a somewhat static site, while this Northern Light Media site will continue to be updated with posts about Alaskan history, my books and book-related activities, and great photographs. Books can be ordered via PayPal from either site. I hope you’ll take a look at my new book site, share the link with friends who may be interested, and bookmark the site for future reference!

Here’s the link again! 

 

 

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Interesting Old Photos

As I’m researching and doing reference work on articles for Alaskan History Magazine I come across many interesting old photographs of Alaska which don’t meet my needs, but which seem worth sharing for those who enjoy the history. I’ll post a few here now and then, and I’ll share more great old photos from time to time at the magazine’s website and on the related Facebook group.

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Wells Fargo Express office, Tanana, 1900.

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The U.S. Lighthouse Service tender Armeria, assigned to Ketchikan, ran aground off Cape Hinchinbrook on 20 May 1912 while delivering supplies for the Cape Hinchinbrook lighthouse.

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Governor’s mansion under construction. Juneau, July 31, 1912. 

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Cabin of Rex Beach, author of ‘The Spoilers,” and “The Silver Horde,” Rampart, date unknown.

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Freighters crossing Thompson Pass north of Valdez, date unknown. 

 

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Old Alaskan Postcards

Nome 1899

Juneau mine

Ft. Gibbon on the Yukon River

Seward birds eye view

Valdez Overland Stage

Nome watching passengers landing

Skagway

Wrangell

Juneau and Gastineau Channel

Nome passengers landing

Valdez

78. Keystone Canyon team

 

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Subscribe to Alaskan History

Single Issue $10The inaugural issue of Alaskan History Magazine is almost ready to be mailed! You can subscribe for one year (6 issues) or just buy the current issue and get a closer look at what it’s about, simply by clicking one of the big green buttons to go directly to PayPal, where you can use your credit card or PayPal account. If you would prefer make payment by sending a check or money order, the postal mailing address is Northern Light Media, P.O. Box 870515, Wasilla, Alaska 99687. To visit the Alaskan History Magazine website just click on the magazine cover below.

Small M:J coverPrices are $10.00 for a single issue, or $48.00 for a one year subscription (6 issues). You are more than welcome to purchase each issue as it’s published, but subscribing will save you $12.00 over the span of a year. All prices are postpaid, to U.S. addresses only. If you live outside the U.S. I can figure out postage pricing and work with you to get a single issue or a subscription delivered, just send me a message through the Contact page on the magazine’s website. Options for B/W, online, and other versions of the magazine will be added soon!1 Year Sub $48

Issues are published bimonthly: Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/June, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, and Nov/Dec. Copies will be mailed upon ordering, and then the first week of each issue date. Please allow ten days to two weeks for delivery unless priority postage is added to the price. Back issues will remain permanently available.

The first issue is almost ready for publication, thank you for your interest and support!

Small pages 2 and 3

 

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Alaskan History

oie_164055HiQywoYDA New Magazine

I am an Alaskan author, and I have written and published more than a dozen non-fiction books on Alaska’s history through my company, Northern Light Media. My titles in print include a history of Alaskan roadhouses, the construction of the Alaska Railroad, the history of the 1935 Matanuska Colony Project, and many more.

Alaskan History has been foremost among my interests for over half a century, and I’ve shared my passion for history in the books I have published in the last ten years. Now I’m setting a different course in my efforts to share the history of our great state, with a bimonthly magazine which will bring the stories of the people, places and events which shaped Alaskan history to a wider audience. A magazine has always seemed more immediate, accessible and engaging than a book, and a good one will feature a broad range of subjects and photographs in its pages.

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Sample page layouts for the May-June issue

The inaugural issue of Alaskan History is slated for May-June, 2019, and the premiere issue features articles drawn from my books. I am looking forward to publishing many different writers, for Alaskan History is a huge topic, but this is a start, and I am excited about where it can lead. A simple caveat: This magazine is not designed to be an authoritative journal of history, and I do not presume to portray it as anything other than a simple effort to share some interesting stories, just as I have done with my books. But this will be a professionally produced magazine, as I have 30 years of experience in magazine production, editing, and publishing, and I have some major national awards for that work under my belt.

I am currently building a website for the magazine, and creating a presence on Facebook, and maybe on some other social media sites. If you are interested in writing for Alaskan History, send me an email at helenhegener@gmail.com and I will return my writer’s guidelines.

I’m still exploring options for a subscription price, advertising, and other details of publishing, but feel free to send an email if you’d like to be added to my mailing list for more information as it becomes available. And thank you for your interest, this is going to be a fun adventure!

Helen Hegener

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mush with PRIDE

Mush with PRIDE borderedThe mutually beneficial relationship between sled dogs and people is one of the oldest bonds of its kind. In his essay “A History of Mushing Before We Knew It,” champion musher Tim White wrote of this relationship:

“Sled dogs have coexisted and cooperated in partnership with humans for many thousands of years in the northern regions of North America and Siberia. Archeological evidence puts the earliest date at over 4,000 years ago. Some anthropologists suggest that human habitation and survival in the Arctic would not have been possible without sled dogs.”

Modern sled dog owners are proud of their dogs, and view them as canine athletes that are bred and trained to do what they love to do — that is, run as part of a team. The organization Mush with P.R.I.D.E., established in 1991 as an organization of mushers who were concerned about the care of sled dogs and public perceptions of mushing, supports the responsible care and humane treatment of all dogs, and is dedicated to enhancing the care and treatment of sled dogs in their traditional and modern uses.

YQ Dogs by me

Northern Light Media photo

The abbreviations in the organization’s name, P.R.I.D.E., stand for Providing Responsible Information on a Dog’s Environment, and to address some of the concerns relating to sled dog care and training, the organization developed sled dog care and equipment guidelines. A voluntary kennel inspection program was established because, as the page on their Web site explains, “The P.R.I.D.E. Board firmly believes that if we mushers conduct ourselves responsibly then we will be less likely to suffer from unknowing governmental regulation. We hope that this program is a demonstration of the fact that we can responsibly take care of our own.”

Mush with P.R.I.D.E. guidelines have frequently been used by other groups and agencies when determining responsible dog care and kennel husbandry standards. Member clubs supporting Mush with P.R.I.D.E. include not only Alaskan sled dog groups, but mushing associations, clubs and groups from around the globe, including Canada, Norway, Great Britain, Germany, Jamaica and Australia. In 2007, P.R.I.D.E. elected a new multi-state, international Board of Directors. Anyone who cares about sled dogs and mushing is encouraged to support Mush with P.R.I.D.E. by becoming a member. Current P.R.I.D.E. members include large competitive kennels, small recreational teams, skijorers, veterinarians, race sponsoring organizations, local mushing clubs and fans of sled dogs. The support and input from the membership is what helps direct the P.R.I.D.E. Board of Directors and establish P.R.I.D.E. as a leading organization promoting responsible sled dog care and dog-powered sports.

Members receive a quarterly newsletter and a copy of Sled Dog Care Guidelines and Equipment Guidelines, and a First Aid Manual for Sled Dogs. Mush with P.R.I.D.E., PO Box 1915, Kenai, AK 99611. https://mushwithpride.org

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Seward’s Day

21. Alaska map 1895Seward’s Day, celebrated on March 25 in 2019, is a legal holiday in Alaska, falling on the last Monday in March and commemorating the signing of the Alaska Purchase treaty on March 30, 1867. It is named for then-Secretary of State William H. Seward, who negotiated the purchase from Russia. The Alaska Purchase treaty was ratified by the United States Senate, and signed by President Andrew Johnson. (Seward’s Day is sometimes confused with Alaska Day, observed on October 18, which marks the formal transfer of control over Alaska from Russia to the United States.)

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Signing the Alaska Treaty of Cessation, L. to R. Robert S. Chew, Secretary of State (USA) William H. Seward, William Hunter, Mr. Bodisco, Russian Ambassador Baron de Stoeckl, Charles Sumner, Fredrick W. Seward, William H. Seward House, Auburn, New York. The artist Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (May 24, 1816 – July 18, 1868), was a German American history painter best known for his painting of ‘Washington Crossing the Delaware.’

Russia’s primary activities in the territory had been fur trade and missionary work among the Native Alaskans, but by 1867 Russia wanted to sell its Alaskan territory due to the difficulty of living there, apparent lack of natural resources (gold was later discovered in 1896), and fear that it might be easily seized by the United Kingdom in case of war between the two countries. The land added 586,412 square miles of new territory to the United States.

Reactions to the purchase in the United States were mostly positive; some opponents called it “Seward’s Folly” (after Secretary of State William H. Seward), while others praised the move for weakening both the UK and Russia as rivals to American commercial expansion in the Pacific region.

Originally organized as the Department of Alaska, the area was renamed the District of Alaska and the Alaska Territory before becoming the modern state of Alaska upon being admitted to the Union as a state in 1959.

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The US $7.2 million check used to pay for Alaska (roughly $105 million in 2016). With this check, the United States completed the purchase of almost 600,000 square miles of land from the Russian Government. This treasury warrant issued on August 1, 1868, at the Sub-Treasury Building at 26 Wall Street, New York, New York, transferred $7.2 million to Russian Minister to the United States Edouard de Stoeckl. The purchase price of the 49th state? Less than two cents an acre. Original located in the National Archives, Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of Treasury.

 

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The Ascent of Denali

Ascent of Denali coverHudson Stuck (1865–1920), known as the Archdeacon of the Yukon and the Arctic, was an Episcopal priest, social reformer, and mountain climber in the territory of Alaska who co-led the first expedition to successfully climb Denali (Mount McKinley) in June, 1913. He wrote a book based on the climb, The Ascent of Denali (Mount McKinley): A Narrative of the First Complete Ascent of the Highest Peak in North America, which was published in February, 1914 by Charles Scribers Sons, New York.

Born in London in 1865, Stuck graduated from King’s College London and in 1885, eager to experience the “wide-open spaces” heralded in a railway advertisement, he immigrated to the United States. He worked in Texas for several years as a cowboy and a teacher, eventually turning to studying theology. After his training Stuck was ordained as an Episcopal priest and became the dean of St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Dallas in 1896. His notable accomplishments during this time included founding a home for indigent women, a boys’ school, and a children’s home; and in 1903 he pioneered the first state law to curb the “indefensible abuse” of child labor. 

Hudson Stuck with sigStill seeking a more challenging and adventurous life, Hudson Stuck moved to Alaska in 1904 to serve with Episcopal Church Missionary Bishop Peter Trimble Rowe, under the title Archdeacon of the Yukon and the Arctic, covering a territory of 250,000 square miles across northern Alaska. Stuck set right to work his first year in the north, helping to establish a church, mission and hospital at the new boomtown of Fairbanks. Over the next decade Archdeacon Stuck founded numerous missions and schools for Alaskan natives, and he visited them regularly, ministering also to miners and woodchoppers, and championing the plight of the Indians and Eskimos. 

In a typical winter Stuck mushed more than 2,000 miles by dogsled to visit the remote missions and villages, journeys which he would later immortalize in his book, Ten Thousand Miles with a Dog Sled (1914). In 1908 he acquired a small riverboat,The Pelican, which he used on the Yukon River and its many tributaries, ranging several thousand miles every summer to visit the Athabascan Indians in their fishing and hunting camps. These travels he also later described, in his book Voyages on the Yukon and its Tributaries (1917). 

Stuck had experience in mountain climbing, including the Canadian Rockies and the dormant volcano Mount Rainier in Washington state. In 1913 he recruited the respected wilderness guide and musher Harry Karstens to join him in an expedition to the summit of Denali (then known as Mt. McKinley). Other members were Walter Harper, of Alaska Native and Irish descent, Tennessee native Robert G. Tatum, and two student volunteers from the mission school, Johnny Fred (John Fredson), and Esaias George.

8. Base Camp

Base camp, from the book.

They departed from Nenana on March 17, 1913 and reached the summit of Denali on June 7, 1913. When the party returned to base camp, Stuck sent a messenger to Fairbanks, and their groundbreaking achievement was announced to the world on June 21, 1913, by The New York Times.

Stuck worked as an Episcopal priest in Alaska for the rest of his life, writing five books, in part to reveal the abhorrent exploitation of the Alaska Native peoples that he witnessed in his work. In 1920, at the age of 55, Hudson Stuck, the venerable Archdeacon of the Yukon, died of bronchial pneumonia in Fort Yukon, and at his own request was buried in the native cemetery there.

3. Clearwater Camp

Tatum, Esaias, Karstens, Johnny and Walter, at the Clearwater Camp, from the book.

Harry Karstens, Stuck’s co-organizer, went on to become the first superintendent of Mount McKinley National Park when it was established in 1917. Walter Harper, the Irish-Koyukon Alaska Native, was the first to reach the summit of Denali on June 7. After the climb, Harper continued his formal education, and he planned on going to medical school. In September, 1918 Harper married Frances Welles with Archdeacon Stuck officiating, and he and his wife boarded the ill-fated steamer SS Princess Sophia, en route to Seattle, for their honeymoon. The ship ran aground on a reef in a snowstorm, was broken up in a gale, and sank on October 25. All 268 passengers and 75 crew were lost.

The fourth member of the climbing party was described in a biographical sketch on the website for the Special Collections of the University of Tennessee Knoxville: “The 21 year-old Robert Tatum, a postulant for holy orders and Tennessee native, was teaching at the Episcopal mission school at Nenana, Alaska when he met Stuck on one of the Archdeacon’s regular visits to the mission. Stuck enlisted Tatum as the camp cook for a planned ascent of Denali the next year. Even a trek to base camp would be a mountaineering feat. Tatum, the only inexperienced climber in the party, trained by hiking more than a thousand miles during the winter months that preceded the expedition. It was mere happenstance that Tatum joined the climb to the top. Just one week before the scheduled departure, Stuck invited Tatum to replace another climber who was unable to join the team.”

This post is an excerpt from:

Alaska & The Klondike
Alaska & the Klondike, Early Writings and Historic Photographs, compiled and edited by Helen Hegener, published May 10, 2018 by Northern Light Media. $24.95 (plus shipping), 320 pages, over 100 b/w photos, ISBN-13: 978-1717401991. Click the link in the title for more information, or Click here to order.
Kindle Edition now available. $5.99 (Kindle MatchBook $2.99)
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Project Jukebox: Mushing

Banner(resized)_0Project Jukebox is the Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program, part of the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections of the Elmer E. Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The program was established in 1981 to collect and curate audio and video recordings that relate to various aspects of Alaska’s history and the people who have contributed to its rich heritage. The collection contains over 11,200 individual recordings, including interviews with politicians, pioneers, and Native elders. Key collections include “Alaska Native Songs and Legends,” “Early Day Alaskans,” “The Alaska Native Elders-In-Residence Program,” and “On the Road Recordings with Old Timers.”

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Man with gee pole [UAF 1981-11-10]

 “Dog Mushing in Alaska” highlights stories related to the history of dog mushing in Alaska, showcasing historic oral history interviews and incorporating new recordings into the collection. The recordings included in this project represent various aspects of dog mushing, including traditional use, freighting, mail carrying, recreational use, tourism, sled building, trail systems, dog care, and racing.

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Dogteam in Nome [UAF 1989-192-26]

Among the interviews are mushing legends such as George Attla and Herbie Nayokpuk, Joe Redington, Sr. and Dr. Roland Lombard, but also many less-well-known but equally interesting interviews with dog drivers like Mary Shields, Grant Pearson, Moses Cruikshank and Effie Kokrine. Photograph slideshows accompany many of the interviews, and related materials include films, terminology, background resources, and websites of interest. The two-fold purpose of the Dog Mushing Project is explained here, and wonderful historic photographs are included throughout.

PROJECT JUKEBOX: Dog Mushing in Alaska

 

 

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