The beautiful pastel paintings of Alaskan huskies by Alaskan artist Josephine Crumrine, reproduced by four-color lithography, graced the menu covers in the dining rooms of the Alaska Steamship Company during the 1940’s and ’50’s. One of these menus, depicting an Army sled dog named ‘Smokey,’ shown here, is on file at the Alaska State Library and available to view on the digital archives.
The Sept-Oct, 2019 issue of Alaskan History Magazine features an article about Josephine Crumrine and the Alaska Steamship Company menus, with several other sled dog portraits for which the artist became well known.
Nina Crumrine, Josephine’s mother, was born in Indiana and trained at the Art Institute of Chicago. She lived in Seattle, where she gave birth to her daughter in 1917. In 1923, when Josephine was six, her parents divorced and mother and daughter moved to Alaska to live with Nina’s uncle, H.V. McGee, in Ketchikan. They later took a sternwheeler down the Yukon River, traveling from Whitehorse to Marshall, a village on the lower Yukon River. From there they followed the coast of the Bering Sea to Nome, and traveled north to Point Barrow, stopping at villages to spend time while Nina painted pastel portraits of the Native Alaskans. Nina’s artwork, like her daughter’s later work, would remain valuable to collectors down through the years.
Josephine received her first art training from her mother, and Nina later sent her to study at the California School of Fine Arts and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. When Josephine returned to Alaska she and Nina became avid travelers, visiting every region of Alaska as well as South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. Josephine’s story, and more of her beautiful Alaskan huskies portraits, can be found in the Sept-Oct, 2019 issue of Alaskan History Magazine.
Sept-Oct, 2019 issue, Vol. 1, No. 3, postpaid
The sled dog artwork of Josephine Crumrine, the luxury cruise of railroad magnate Edward H. Harriman and his carefully selected passenger list of scientists and artists, the importance of a key player in Alaska’s history: the sea otter, and the story of the SS Nenana, the Last Lady of the River. Also the history of Alaska’s flag, and an excerpt from Josiah E. Spurr’s 1896 expedition to the Birch Creek Mining District.