The Alaska Purchase: A Reading List

This bibliography provides readers with a broad understanding of the 1867 purchase of Alaska, including the period before the signing of the Treaty of Cession, the transfer ceremony when the Russian flag was replaced by the American, and the aftermath when Americans were taking control of what had been Russian America and Sitka’s residents were adapting to a new world.  This list also attempts to shed light on the many peoples influenced by this dramatic event, including Alaska Native people and Alaska’s British neighbors.



Russians in Alaska, 1732-1867 by Lydia Black. Fairbanks, AK: University of Alaska Press, 2004.


Russian-American Relations and the Sale of Alaska, 1834-1867 by Nikolai N. Bolkhovitinov. Kingston, ONT: Limestone Press, 1996.


 The Annexation of Russian America to the United States by Victor J. Farrar. Washington, DC: W.F. Roberts Co., 1937.


Seward’s Folly: A New Look at the Alaska Purchase by Lee A. Farrow. Fairbanks, AK:  University of Alaska Press, 2016.


 The Tlingit Indians in Russian America, 1741-1867 by Andrei V. Grinev and Richard L. Bland.  Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2008.


 Tarnished Expansion:  The Alaska Scandal, the Press, and Congress, 1867-1871 by  Paul S. Holbo. Nashville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1983.


 The Alaska Purchase and Russian-American Relations by Ronald J. Jensen. Seattle, WA:  University of Washington Press, 1975.


 Conflict on the Northwest Coast:  American-Russian Rivalry in the Pacific Northwest, 1790-1867 by Howard I. Kushner. Westport, CT:  Greenwood Press, 1975.


 The Americanization of Alaska, 1867-1897 by Ted C. Hinckley. Palo Alto, CA:  Pacific Books, 1972.


 The Alaska Treaty by David H. Miller. Kingston, ONT: Limestone Press, 1981.


“The Purchase of Russian America: Reasons and Reactions” by Richard E. Neunherz. PhD diss., University of Washington, 1975.


The Purchase of Alaska by Archibald W. Shiels. Fairbanks, AK:  University of Alaska Press, 1967.


Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man by Walter Stahr. New York:  Simon & Schuster, 2012.



 “The Sale of Alaska: A Russian Perspective” by Bolkhovitinov, Nikolai N. Polar Geography 27 (2003), 254-267.

Manifest Opportunity: The Alaska Purchase as a Bridge between United States Expansion and Imperialism” by Mary Alice Cook. Alaska History 26 (Spring 2011), 1-10.

Their Nature and Qualities Remain Unchanged’: Russian Occupation and Tlingit Resistance, 1902-1867” by Jonathan Dean. Alaska History 9 (Spring 1994), 1-17.

“Why Russia Sold Alaska: The View from Russia” by Andrei V.  Grinev, trans. Richard L. Bland. Alaska History 19 (Fall/Spring 2003/2004), 1-22.

——–.  “First Alaska Day—October 18, 1867.” Pathfinder 6 (November 1924), 1-10.

The United States Frontier at Sitka” by Ted C. Hinckley. Pacific Northwest Quarterly 60 (April 1969), 57-65.

Uncle Sam Takes Possession: An Account of the Transfer of 1867”  Andrew P. Kashevaroff. Alaska Magazine 1 (January 1927), 11-18.

“‘Seward’s Folly’?:  American Commerce in Russian America and the Alaska Purchase” by Howard I. Kushner. California Historical Quarterly 54 (Spring 1975), 4-26.

 “The Decline of Russian America’s Colonial Society” by B.D. Lain. Western Historical Quarterly 7 (April 1976), 143-153.

Stars and Stripes over Alaska” by  Valerie S.Mecutchen. Smithsonian Journal of History 2 (Fall 1967), 1-16.

 “’Hemmed In’:  Reactions in British Columbia to the Purchase of Alaska” by  Richard E. Neunherz. Pacific Northwest Quarterly 80 (July 1989), 101-111.

“Sitka after the Transfer:  The Plight of the Creoles” by Richard A. Pierce. Proceedings of Alaska Historical Society Conference “Communities in Transition,” October 19-21, 1997, Sitka, Alaska.

George Davidson and the Acquisition of Alaska” by Morgan B. Sherwood. Pacific Historical Review 18 (1959), 141-154.

 “Ardent Spirits: Hooch and the Osprey Affair at Sitka.” Journal of the West 4 (1965), 339-344.

Seward’s Attempt to Annex British Columbia, 1865-1869” by David E. Shi. Pacific Historical Review 4 (May 1978), 217-238.