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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. Continue reading
The Episcopalian minister Hudson Stuck, known as the Archdeacon of the Yukon, published five books about his travels and adventures in Alaska, including Ten Thousand Miles with a Dog Sled, published in 1914.
In that book a photograph appears, and a sled bag can be seen hanging from the handlebars. That sled bag is on permanent display at the University of Alaska Museum of the North in Fairbanks. Continue reading
This 284-page book presents historic photos of dozens of individual roadhouses, along with the colorful histories are first-hand accounts of those who stayed at the roadhouses while traveling the early trails and roads of Alaska, including the Reverend Samuel Hall Young, Frank G. Carpenter, Judge James Wickersham, Leonhard Seppala, Col. Walter L. Goodwin, and Matilda Clark Buller, who opened a roadhouse near Nome in 1901, at the height of the Nome Gold Rush. Continue reading
That more or less indefinite region north of the Yukon known as the Chandalar Country owes its name to one given by the early French-Canadian traders of the Hudson’s Bay Company to the singular native tribes that ranged there. Because these came from none knew where, recognizing no boundaries and taking to themselves no local designations, they were called gens de large––people at large. With peculiar fitness the name applies to all Alaskans, for in more ways than one we are a people at large. Continue reading
The 2020 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race begins in Fairbanks at 11:00 am on February 1, and runs to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory; the Yukon Quest 300 starts at 3:00 pm the same day and runs to Circle, on the Yukon River. There are many exciting books about the race, and many written by the mushers who have run the race, but one book focuses on the trail between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, highlighting the incredible route followed by those mushers who accept the very real challenge of the Yukon Quest. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Hudson 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. Continue reading
In October 1907, his work for the 1906-1908 Anglo-American Polar Expedition completed, Ejnar Mikkelsen set out on a formidable journey home, which would take him west along the Arctic coast from Flaxman Island, where he left Leffingwell to continue doing scientific research and mapping. Mikkelsen’s trail led to Barrow, Nome, Fort Gibbon, Manley Hot Springs, Fairbanks, and then down the Fairbanks-Valdez Trail to Valdez, where he boarded a ship for home. The first part of his journey was made by dogsled, the second half riding in the horse-drawn sledges which travelled the winter trails. Continue reading
Prologue: Tribute to a Sled Dog, from “Sled dog : and other poems of the North,” by Charles E. Gillham, associate editor of Field & Stream magazine, an outdoor writer and game biologist. In 1934 he transferred to the Canadian Arctic as a Federal waterfowl biologist, and his arctic service resulted in four books, “The Raw North,” “Sled Dog,” “Beyond the Clapping Mountains” and “Medicine Men of Hooper Bay.” He left Alaska in 1945. Continue reading
Addison M. Powell was an adventurer, prospector, hunter, and a guide for Captain William R. Abercrombie’s 1898 Copper River Exploring Expedition, one of three military expeditions organized to explore the interior of the new territory of Alaska. His book Trailing and Camping in Alaska, subtitled Ten Years Spent Exploring, Hunting and Prospecting in Alaska – 1898 to 1909, was republished in its entirety by Northern Light Media in September, 2018. Continue reading