The Alaska Diaries of Dr. James Taylor White

Cover of "The Alaskan Diaries of Dr. James Taylor White," by Gary Stein

In the last half of the nineteenth century the ships of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Revenue-Cutter Service patrolled the waters of the Bering Sea, the coast of Alaska, and the Yukon River. For several of those voyages a bright and engaging young physician, Dr. James Taylor White, served aboard and recorded his adventurous work in personal correspondence and journals. Now a new book, “I Wish You Could Come Too,” The Alaska Diaries of Dr. James Taylor White, by Gary Stein, Ph.D. provides a first-hand look at life aboard a revenue cutter during Alaska’s early years.

The revenue cutters on which Dr. White served played a crucial role in the history of the north, beginning with the legendary USRC Bear, under the command of Capt. Michael A. “Hell Roaring Mike” Healy. On board the Bear Dr. White took part in patrolling for seal poachers, smugglers, and illegal traders; assisted in the capture and ferrying of Siberian reindeer to Alaska; and witnessed the Bear‘s duties as a floating hospital, courthouse, and rescuer of shipwrecked sailors. His later tours of duty aboard the USRC Rush and the USRC Nunivak included customs duties and enforcement of revenue and conservation laws, search and rescue missions, and bearing witness to the ravages of the 1900 influenza and measles epidemics in Native villages along the Yukon River.

Dr. White had many interests aside from his medical profession; he was also a naturalist, a photographer, a bit of an artist, an astute observer, and an amateur ethnographer particularly fascinated by Native cultures and traditions. Dr. White served as a contracted physician with the Revenue-Cutter Service during two decades of significant events, people, and trends in Alaska’s history. His diary entries are jumping-off points from which to see how Alaska’s history played out around him, while the author’s prologues and epilogues to each diary, along with extensive annotations, add contextual details about Alaskan history.

More than simply a dry text about historic events, Gary Stein’s book is the result of four decades of research, during which he developed an affinity for the good doctor, writing, “I met James T. White in 1980 while I was researching in the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections & Archives at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. We instantly became fast friends. He had been dead for sixty-eight years, but he let me pry into his life through his diaries, correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, and natural history and ethnological collections located in various archives, museums and cemeteries in Alaska, Washington State, California, and Washington, D.C. We are friends still—I’ve even smoked a pipe with him at his grave—and there is a great deal of his life to share.”

Author Gary C. Stein received his Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in 1975 with fields in Western American History and U.S. History to 1860, specializing in Native American History. He has worked as a research historian for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources in Anchorage, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington D.C. His personal research interests gravitated toward the history of the Revenue Cutter Service in Alaska. He is now retired and lives in St. Ann, Missouri.

“I Wish You Could Come Too,” The Alaska Diaries of Dr. James Taylor White, by Gary Stein. Publication is scheduled for publication in late Fall, 2021. Contact the publisher for review copies: Northern Light Media, 1255 So. Ridgecrest Road, Wasilla, Alaska 99623. (907) 521-5245. northernlightmedia.com

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Two New Anthologies

True Stories and Historic Photographs of the North

Available now are the first two volumes of what will be an ongoing series of engaging stories of the people who wrote the history of the Great Land, and the great events which shaped and defined that history.

Volume One is a revised edition of the original anthology which featured the stories and photographs which ran in Alaskan History Magazine from the inaugural issue in May-June, 2019 through the Nov-Dec, 2019 issue. Compiled and edited by Helen Hegener, contributions by Tim Jones, Patricia De Nardo Schmidt. 225 pages, b/w 6″x9″ format, over 150 photographs.

Alaskan History Anthology: Volume Two captures the second year of Alaskan History Magazine with “True Stories and Historic Photographs of the North.” The full texts of every article are highlighted by historic photos from the magazine. Compiled and edited by Helen Hegener, contributions by Gary Stein, Thomas Eley, Thom ‘Swanny’ Swan. 347 pages, b/w 6″x9″ format, over 200 photographs.

A third anthology, based on the articles from the 2021 magazine issues, will be released early next year. After that the books will take their content from my weekly newsletter and posts at my websites.


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Alaskan History Anthology Volume 1

Volume 1 features articles from the first four issues: Alaska Railroad, Bush Pilots, Matanuska Colony Barns, Aleutian Islands, SS Nenana, J. S. Spurr, Harriman Expedition, All Alaska Sweepstakes, Orr Stage Company, Elizabeth Peratrovich, Glenn & Mendenhall in 1898 and much more! 225 pages, b/w 6″x9″ format, over 150 photographs. $24.95 plus $5.00 First Class shipping.

$29.95


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Alaskan History Anthology Volume 2

Volume 2: Jan-Feb, 2020 through Nov-Dec, 2020: Chilkoot Pass, Tanana Chiefs, Robert Service, Governors of Alaska, Dr. James Taylor White, Mary Joyce, Matanuska Colony, Yellowstone Kelly, Stephen Birch, Hudson Stuck, 1918 Epidemic, SS Dora, C. C. Georgeson, Wells Fargo Co., Ray Mala, Leffingwell, Ft. Yukon, Nellie Cashman, Robert Kennicott and much more! 347 pages, b/w 6″x9″ format, over 200 photographs. $29.95 plus $5.00 First Class shipping.

$34.95


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July-August, 2021 issue

July-August, 2021 issue

Please note: Alaskan History Magazine ceased publication with the July-August, 2021 issue. All issues will remain in print, and are available in digital editions at issuu.com (2021 issues will be added soon.) In this issue: • The Clay Street Cemetery • Alaska Nellie, Peerless Alaska Railroad Hostess • Ivan Petroff’s 1880 Report on Alaska • Jujiro Wada, The Samurai Musher • USGS Topographer-in-Charge, R. Harvey Sargent • 1926-1929 U.S. Navy Aerial Alaskan Survey • Dispatching the Army to Alaska Sign up for the free email newsletter!

$12.00

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Ordering Books & Magazines

Northern Light Media now has a Shopify storefront for books and Alaskan History Magazine, and all of the prices include first class postage. See below for more screenshots, or click the link to visit the online store.

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May-June 2021 Alaskan History

May-June, 2021 Alaskan History Magazine

The May-June, 2021 issue of Alaskan History Magazine will include the following articles: • Knik – At one time the largest community on Cook Inlet, and being on the Iditarod Trail, it was the chief outfitting point for much of western Alaska. • Alaska Villlages, Eskimo, Indian, Aleut, 1937 – An unusual look at the villages of Alaska, from the perspectives of students boarding at the Eklutna Vocational School. • An Alaskan “Mush” to Presbytery – The Reverend Samuel Hall Young was known as “The Mushing Parson,” and here he details one trip over the Iditarod Trail. • Historic Alaskan Hot Springs – From the Panhandle to the Seward Peninsula, and from the Arctic Slopes to the Aleutian Islands, thermal hot springs are found all across Alaska. • Hotel Holman / Blix’s Roadhouse – From a roadhouse in a tent beside the Copper River to one of the most respected establishments on the Valdez-to-Fairbanks Trail. • Trading Cards: Captain Cook’s Third Voyage – Small colorful and informative, commercial trading cards from the Arbuckle Coffee Company told of Captain Cook’s final voyage. • 1923 Alaska Railroad Tour Lantern Slides – Presented as a promotional program for the then-new Alaska Railroad, these colorful slides share scenes of Alaska’s Great Circle Tour. The cover is a tinted slide from the tour, showing a Chevrolet crossing a glacier stream near the Worthington Glacier on the Richardson Highway. Click below to pre-order the May-June issue, mailed April 15th. 

$12.00

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March-April Alaskan History

March-April, 2021 Alaskan History Magazine

The March-April , 2021 articles include the history of the Bering Sea port of St. Michael; an introduction to Malemute Joe Henderson, the intrepid North Slope explorer; the story of John and Frank Ballaine and the Alaska Central Railroad, including the founding of the town of Seward; an excerpt from May Kellogg Sullivan’s book about visiting the Klondike in 1899; the story of four murdered miners in the gold fields west of Talkeetna; the history of Alaska’s first postal inspector, John P. Clum; and a look at vintage sled dog postcards.

$12.00

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Jan-Feb Alaskan History

Inside this issue:  

• CR&NWRR Steamboats on the Copper River – Between 1907 and 1911 the Copper River and Northwestern Railway operated a fleet of steamboats on the Copper and Chitina Rivers in support of railroad construction and mining operations at Kennicott.

• Along the Trail from Eagle to Valdez, 1901 – This 1901 report includes a discussion of the Copper River region, interesting notes and observations on the Native and non-Native residents and visitors.

• Glacial Lake Ahtna – During the last major glaciation the Copper River and its tributaries were dammed by glacial advances, and the lake that formed in the Copper River Basin was named glacial Lake Ahtna. 

• Dr. Joseph Romig, The Dog Team Doctor – To the people he served in the southwestern Alaska region of the Kuskokwim delta, Dr. Joseph H. Romig was known as “Yung-Cha-wista,” person working for others, or “Remaker of People.”

• Patsy Ann the Bull Terrier – Deaf since birth, the friendly white bull terrier named Patsy Ann became Juneau’s official greeter in 1934, and is honored today with a bronze statue on the dock near her favorite spot.

• ‘‘Anything You Know Regarding the Natives:” Dr. James Taylor White’s 1901 Yukon River Ethnographic Questionnaire” • by Gary C. Stein – Dr. James Taylor White wrote to six missions along a 500-mile stretch of the Yukon River. All of these were Athabascan Indian missions with the exception of Russian Mission, which was Central Yup’ik Eskimo. 

48 pages, full color, no advertising.

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Jan-Feb 2021 Alaskan History Magazine

Inside this issue: • CR&NWRR Steamboats on the Copper River • Along the Trail from Eagle to Valdez, 1901 • Glacial Lake Ahtna • Dr. Joseph Romig, The Dog Team Doctor • Patsy Ann the Bull Terrier • ‘‘Anything You Know Regarding the Natives:” Dr. James Taylor White’s 1901 Yukon River Ethnographic Questionnaire” • by Gary C. Stein

$12.00

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2019 AHM Anthology

The first four issues of Alaskan History Magazine are now available as an anthology featuring the stories and photographs which ran in the magazine from the inaugural issue in May-June through the Nov-Dec issue. The full texts of every article are highlighted by historic photos from the magazine in a convenient book format, making this a great gift for anyone interested in the history of the north. This anthology features engaging stories of the people who wrote the history of the Great Land, and the great events which shaped and defined that history.

The Alaskan History Magazine 2019 Anthology is published in a 6” x 9” format, B/W interior, 225 pages, with over 150 black-and-white photographs. $24.95 plus $5.00 shipping & handling. Click below to order via credit card or PayPal. Also available from Amazon or your favorite bookstore.




Alaskan History Magazine 2019 Anthology

The first four issues of Alaskan History Magazine are now available as an anthology featuring the stories and photographs which ran in the magazine. The full texts of every article are highlighted by historic photos from the magazine in a convenient book format. Postpaid price $29.95, click to order.

$29.95




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Nov-Dec Alaskan History

The Nov-Dec issue of Alaskan History Magazine is now available! Articles in this issue cover a wide range of topics:

• Mottram Dulany Ball was a founding father of Alaska, and de facto governor of the territory.

• Alexander Hunter Murray built the stockaded fort and Hudson’s Bay trading post at Fort Yukon.

• The Episcopal Church brought medical services and other comforts to Iditarod and Flat City.

• The Silent City. In 1885 Dick Willoughby brought news that he had discovered a mirage above the Muir Glacier.

• Nellie Cashman, the “Miner’s Angel,” earned the respect of miners from Arizona to Alaska.

• The Alaska Dog Team, 1922: Rand McNally’s guide on how to hire, drive, and care for an Alaskan dogteam.

• The First American Musher in Alaska, by Thom Swan: Robert Kennicott was the first known American to travel via dogteam in Alaska.


Nov-Dec, 2020 Alaskan History Magazine

Order the Nov-Dec issue, sent postage paid, First Class Mail. In this issue: Mottram Delany Ball • History of Fort Yukon • Episcopal Church in Iditarod • The Silent City • Nellie Cashman • 1922 Mushing Guide • The First American Musher in Alaska, by Thom “Swanny” Swan

$12.00


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Sept-Oct Alaskan History

Sept-Oct 2020 issue

Order the Sept-Oct issue, sent postage paid, First Class Mail. In this issue: Wells Fargo & Co. in Alaska • McGreely’s Express • Roadhouses • Ray Mala: Alaska’s Hollywood Star • The Alaska Club • A Bibliography of Alaskan Literature, 1724-1924 • Ernest de Koven Leffingwell, Mapping the Arctic Coast • and much more! 

12.00 $


In this issue:

• Wells Fargo & Co. in Alaska: Freighting in the Far North

• McGreely’s Express: 1898 Private Post Between Dyea and Skaguay

• Roadhouses of Alaska: A Good Meal and a Warm Place to Sleep

• Ray Mala: Alaska’s Hollywood Star

• The Alaska Club: A Seattle Social Club for Traveling Alaskans

• James Wickersham’s A Bibliography of Alaskan Literature, 1724-1924

• Special Feature: Ernest de Koven Leffingwell, Mapping the Arctic Coast

Order from Northern Light Media or at Amazon

Digital Edition at Issuu

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