AHS Blog

Exploring Alaska’s Past in the Pacific World Call for Papers

Date Posted: February 12, 2016       Categories: 49 History       Tags: conference, history, Juneau, maritime, Pacific, sailing ships


History & Heritage of Russian America Conference in Moscow

Date Posted: February 12, 2016       Categories: 49 History       Tags: conference, Russian America

The Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences and the Kennan Institute (USA) presents an international conference “The History and Heritage of Russian America.” To be held April 13-14, 2016 in Moscow. This international conference aims to consider a variety of issues related to the history of the exploration of the North Pacific. The conference will present the activity of the Russian Orthodox Church, the history and heritage of Fort Ross, the history of the indigenous peoples of America, and the history of the Russian-American and other joint-stock companies. The conference will discuss issues of the history of Russian-American relations related to current issues involving Alaska and subarctic space as well as various aspects of Russian heritage in this region. The conference aims to highlight the character of U.S.-Russian cooperation through the study of their common history and heritage. The conference will utilize an interdisciplinary approach incorporating the most up-to-date research results in history, archeology, linguistics, and other disciplines that help in the understanding of the phenomenon of Russian-America.

The working language of the conference is English.

St Michael's Russian Orthodox Cathedral at Sitka, Alaska. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

St Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral at Sitka, Alaska. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Key topics will include:

1. The history and heritage of Russian America, including the Russian Orthodox Church, Fort Ross,

indigenous peoples, and Russian-American joint-stock Russian-American and Hudson’s Bay Companies.


2. Russian-American relations, especially as they influenced the development of the North Pacific.


3. Contemporary international cooperation surrounding Alaska and subarctic space, including cultural

exchanges, the economy, and interactions between the indigenous peoples of California, Alaska, and


Time for papers will be roughly 20 minutes.

Please send us the title of your report at your earliest convenience ! Reports may be delivered using Power Point, but please let us know one week in advance of the conference. Reports of the conference will be published. The length of articles should be around 12,000 words. Illustrations should be in high resolution JPEG format. Submission of articles for publication will be accepted until May 1, 2016.

The conference will be held on April 13, 2016 from 10:00 – 17:00 at Leninsky Prospekt 32a, Moscow.

Potential Agenda for the Conference Beginning April 13, 2016

Official greetings from US and Russian officials. Moderator: Alexander Y. Petrov

American scholars: a complete list of speakers from the USA and countries other than Russia will be developed in February 2016.

Russian Scholars: a complete list of speakers from Russia will be developed in February 2016.

Examples of possible Russian presentations by Russian scholars:

1. Metropolitan Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsk (Kapalin), Chairman of the Publishing Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, Doctorate in History: “The significance of the Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska.”

2. Alexander Y. Petrov,  PhD, (Kennan Scholar, 2001, 2008): “The importance of the history and heritage of Russian America in Russian-American relations.”

3. Michael G. Malakhov, MD: “The Russian heritage in Alaska (based on Russian expeditions).”


Conference summations


Possible Exhibitions:

April 14, 2016

Sightseeing tour

(Direction and recommendations will be announced in February)

With questions on participation please do not hesitate to contact Alexander Y. Petrov at alaska13@yandex.ru or cell +7 916 531 6305. Please address questions regarding logistics of the conference (visa, hotels, and transportation) to Evgenii Osipov at comhist-rus@yandex.ru

As well as to the Kennan Institute: rozhanovskaya.kennan@gmail.com


Pirate Cove & Cod

Date Posted: February 12, 2016       Categories: Alaska's Historic Canneries

by  Jim Mackovjak

Pirate Cove

Union Fish Co. codfish station at Pirate Cover on Popof Island, Alaska from May 1913. John N. Cobb Collection, Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries, Seattle, Wash.

The abundance of cod in the vicinity of the Shumagin Islands was well known, but Thomas McCollam, of the San Francisco-based Thomas W. McCollam & Company, was the first in the industry to perceive the advantages of establishing a shore-based fishing station in the Shumagins. In 1876, McCollam purchased a hunting camp, complete with several buildings and a wharf, at Pirate Cove, a very pretty and well-sheltered harbor at the north end of Popof Island. He converted the camp into Alaska’s first codfish shore station. Originally manned by a company agent and about eight fishermen, Pirate Cove would gradually become the largest and most important codfish station in Alaska. Circa 1918, the Union Fish Company, successor to McCollam’s firm, praised the Pirate Cove stations as “without exception, the best location for all-the-year-round codfishing in Alaska.”[i]

[i] Union Fish Co., organization and assets, ca. 1918, John N. Cobb Collection, Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries, Seattle, Wash.

This is an excerpt from Jim’s upcoming book on codfish.

Net Hanger Expertise Needed

Date Posted: February 12, 2016       Categories: Alaska's Historic Canneries
Here’s a request from Jackie Manning:
Subject: Bristol Bay Double Ender – net

We have a questions concerning a net we are putting in the Bristol Bay Double Ender that will be on exhibit in the new museum. We have a net that was used for beach seining that he thought would be similar to what was used in the Bristol Bay Double Enders.  Steve believes he spoke with you about this awhile back.   We are trying to find someone locally who could help us coil the net for exhibit and we are hoping you can tell us if a beach seining net was coiled the same way as a net used in a BBDE.

Attached is a photo of the net we are putting on display.

Thank you,

Jackie Manning, Curator of Exhibitions

Alaska State Museum

(907) 465-4819


Bristol Bay double-ender gill net to go on display at museum in Juneau.

Bristol Bay double-ender gill net to go on display at museum in Juneau.


Alitak Cannery: Looking Forward Towards 100 Years of Operation

Date Posted: January 25, 2016       Categories: Alaska's Historic Canneries

by Anjuli Grantham

2017 not only marks the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of Cession, through which Alaska went from being a Russian colony to an outpost of the United States, it is also the centennial celebration of the Alitak cannery.

Ocean Beauty Seafoods

The Alitak processing plant, owned and operated by Ocean Beauty Seafoods. Image courtesy Ocean Beauty Seafoods.

Alitak is located near the Alutiiq village of Akhiok, on the south end of Kodiak Island. The Alitak Packing Company was established in 1917, encroaching on what had previously been Alaska Packers Association fishing territory. In 1928, Pacific American Fisheries purchased the Alitak facility, adding a crab processing facility to the plant in 1959.

In January of 1964, a fire at the plant led to one fatality and the destruction of 15 company purse seiners, which were stored on the marine ways.  That same year, PAF sold the plant to Columbia-Wards Fisheries. Today it is owned by Ocean Beauty Seafoods.

While such a listing of events and facts is important to understanding the history of the Alitak cannery, it does little to convey the spirit of the cannery or the generations that have walked its docks. The superintendent of the facility, Woody Knebel, has not only kept the plant in production, he’s labored to keep the history of the place protected and remembered. He started a small cannery museum at Alitak and authored a book about the Alitak petroglyphs, images which Alutiiq ancestors chiseled into boulders in the vicinity of the cannery.

Moreover, he is collaborating on a book that will outline the events and characters that have kept Alitak running for a century. To learn more about the spirit of the Alitak cannery from Knebel himself, listen to the following segment within the Alaska Fisheries Report. It begins 3 ½ minutes into the program. 

For stunning historic photographs of Pacific American Fisheries canneries in Alaska, including the Alitak plant, check out the Galen Biery Collection at the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Washington, here.