“Communities Remembered and Imagined”
Alaska Historical Society Annual Conference
October 6-9 and 13-16, 2021
Call for Papers
Alaska is full of once-thriving communities that now stand empty, or have vanished without a trace. Some were boom towns that grew up around a gold mine or processor, but shrank when the source of wealth dried up. Others were forcibly abandoned because of natural disaster or war, or lost population to lack of government services and the draw of economic survival. At the same time, other towns have risen from the ashes of former ones, or have been rebuilt in a new location. We have also seen some fictional Alaskan towns as settings for books, movies and television. Some of them are thinly disguised real places; others are a combination of reality and imagination.
Alaskans have always had to be flexible and creative in building our communities, relying not only on sharing a physical location, but also on more intangible connections to the people in our lives. As the pandemic has reined us in more tightly in our homes and communities, but increased our digital communications, we can appreciate a more accommodating definition of community. This year’s conference theme, Communities Remembered and Imagined, focuses on the life cycles of communities, particularly on those phases that exist only in memory or imagination.
Our 2021 conference will be completely digital and held via Zoom. Again, we will spread the sessions over two weeks, Oct. 6-9 and Oct. 13-16. We plan special sessions on the 50th anniversary of ANCSA, on statues and monuments in Alaska, and much more!
Please join us for the 2021 digital conference! Papers are welcome about any aspect of Alaska history. Presentations are limited to 20 minutes, and all presenters must be registered.
To submit a proposal, please send your presentation title, an abstract of no more than 100 words, and two sentences about yourself to Rachel Mason, Program Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org. Proposals are due May 15, 2021.
Student and Emerging Professional Awards
Alaska Historical Society Annual Meeting and Conference, Communities Remembered and Imagined
Virtual, October 6-9 and 13-16, 2021
The Alaska Historical Society offers two scholarship awards to attend its annual meeting and conference. One award is for a post-secondary student who is researching an Alaska history topic, and the other is for an emerging professional in a related field. Awards consist of an honorarium and a conference registration package.
- Applicant must be a member of the Alaska Historical Society at the time of applying.
- Student applicants must be a graduate student or upper-division undergraduate in Fall 2021 with a course of study related to Alaska history.
- Emerging professional applicants must be engaged in Alaska history or cultural work and have been so employed fewer than five years.
- Applicants are required to attend the meeting in its entirety and make a presentation.
- Information about the meeting and the call for papers can be found at: https://alaskahistoricalsociety.org/
Application process: Each applicant must submit: 1) letter with a statement of eligibility and an explanation of how attending the meeting will enhance your academic or professional development, 2) title and abstract of proposed presentation, and 3) a résumé. Applicants will be judged on the applicant’s achievement in Alaska history relative to current status and the likely benefit of the meeting to the applicant.
The application deadline is May 28. Electronic submission is preferred. Applications should be submitted to email@example.com or via regular mail to: AHS Awards, P.O. Box 100299, Anchorage, AK 99510.
Do you know individuals and groups which have done a worthy project, made long-term contributions to local history, made historical materials better known, or written a book that has contributed to the understanding and preservation of Alaska’s history this past year? It is time to nominate these folks for recognition by the Alaska Historical Society.
Each year the Alaska Historical Society recognizes, through its awards program, individuals, historical societies, and public institutions for outstanding research, writing, and promotion of Alaska history. AHS invites nominations for its 2021 awards.
The James H. Ducker Alaska Historian of the Year Award is given to an Alaska resident for publication of significant new material about Alaska’s past published the last sixteen months. history during the past year. Historian James Ducker edited the Society’s scholarly journal Alaska History for 30 years.
The Esther Billman Certificate of Excellence award is given to local or state historical society, museum, government agency, or other organization for a project or series of projects contributing to the preservation and understanding of Alaska history. Esther Billman’s service as curator at the Sheldon Jackson Museum is commemorated by the award.
The Evangeline Atwood Award is given to an individual for significant long-term contributions to Alaska state or local history. Evangeline Atwood was one of the founders of the Alaska Historical Society.
The Barbara Smith Pathfinder Award is given to an individual or individuals for indexing or preparing guides to Alaska historical material. Barbara Smith, a historian, archivist, and exhibit curator prepared invaluable guides to Alaska Native, Russian Orthodox, and Russian American records.
The Elva R. Scott Local Historical Society Award is for a special achievement of a community historical society or museum to make the local people and historical events known. Elva Scott was a founder of Homer’s Pratt Museum, and after moving to Eagle was the newsletter editor, tour guide, and official of its historical society.
The Student and Beginning Professional Travel Scholarship Awards are cash awards given to help individuals attend and participate in the Alaska Historical Society’s annual meeting and conference.
The Contributions to Alaska History Award recognize an individual or groups that have made singular and significant recent contributions to the promotion and understanding of Alaska history.
A letter of nomination with sufficient detail and supporting materials should be sent to the AHS Awards Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to P.O. Box 100299, Anchorage, AK 99510. Nominations for the Ducker Award must include a copy of the publication for the committee’s use.
Nominations are due August 15, 2021.
Remember to check out the AHS Auction! Many wonderful books and ephemera!
Take this opportunity to build your Alaskana collection or to acquire items to give as gifts. At the same time, you will be supporting the Alaska Historical Society. The annual auction is the organization’s primary fundraiser to support our programs.
- Submit bids to email@example.com
- Each evening the list on the AHS website (https://alaskahistoricalsociety.org/about-ahs/conference/online-auction/auction-bid-status/) will be updated with the highest bids. Individuals then have the opportunity to bid again.
THE AUCTION ENDS AT 12 O’CLOCK NOON FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 2021.
The successful bidder will receive an email that weekend with instructions on how to pay, by credit card only. After payment is made, items will be mailed.
As of March 2021, a great new resource is now available in the AHS website’s For Researchers Section.
Chris Allan, a historian with the National Park Service who is well known for his extensive use of historic newspapers to research innovative subjects, has prepared a guide called “The Newspaper Bonanza: How to Discover Alaska’s Past in Newspaper Databases.”
With this guide, Chris hopes to stimulate others to undertake new investigations in the world of newspaper storytelling.
Chris Allan has compiled four booklets of what he calls the “Eyewitnesses Series.” They are being made available on the Alaska Historical Society’s website. Chris’s intent with the first four booklets is to showcase voices of the past: “I wanted to get away from the traditional historian’s narrative form where primary sources play a secondary or tertiary role behind the historian’s voice and analysis. I like the idea of people hearing history from the eyewitnesses. In each case, I was so impressed with what was available in digitized newspapers that I wanted to share it.” His booklet about mining operations at Coal Creek and Woodchopper Creek does the same as the others but allows photographers from the 1930s to tell the story. Each booklet includes advertisements, early maps, paintings, drawings and photographs previously unpublished or never collected in the same place.
Hoping to stimulate others to undertake new investigations, Chris also prepared a guide called “The Newspaper Bonanza: How to Discover Alaska’s Past in Newspaper Databases.”
The booklets are:
Eyewitness Series #1: American Side of the Line: Eagle City’s Origins as an Alaskan Gold Rush Town as Seen in Newspapers and Letters, 1897-1899, a collection from the town’s first year during the Klondike Gold Rush.
Eyewitness Series #2: As the Old Flag Came Down: Eyewitness Accounts of the October 18, 1867 Alaska Transfer Ceremony, a collection of sources describing the ceremony at Sitka after the United States purchased Alaska from Russia.
Eyewitness Series #3: A Rough and Tumble Country: Juneau’s Origins as Alaska’s First Gold Mining Boomtown as Described by Eyewitnesses, 1880-1881, a collaboration with Mark Kirchhoff about the discovery of gold in Gastineau Channel and the evolution of what would become Alaska’s capital city.
Eyewitness Series #4: Of Gold and Gravel: A Pictorial History of Mining Operations at Coal Creek and Woodchopper Creek, 1934-1938, Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, a collection of seventy-five photographs illustrating the construction of two mining camps and two gold dredges in Alaska’s backcountry.