AHS Blog  |  49 History

Sea Otters of Amchitka

Date Posted: October 19, 2020       Categories: 49 History

The Sea Otters Of Amchitka (1959)
Richard Ravalli, Associate Professor, History Department, William Jessup University, Rocklin, California

During the coronavirus lockdown, I had the opportunity to work via e-mail with Angela Schmidt of the Alaska Film Archives at University of Alaska, Fairbanks. I was interested in the archive’s copy of the 1959 nature film The Sea Otters of Amchitka, produced by Thorne Films of Boulder, Colorado and shot by naturalist H. Robert Krear. It is the first completed documentary about the animals, and, having just finished a book on sea otter history but not having known about the film, I was very eager to get a glimpse of it. Luckily, despite the somewhat degraded state of the AFA’s print, Angela was able to digitize The Sea Otters of Amchitka and upload it for me to view.

H. Robert Krear at Amchitka, ca. 1959. Courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service.

At the same time, I was also in contact with Dr. Oakleigh Thorne of Thorne Films, who shared information about his work with Krear on the project. With gracious permission from “Oak,” now in his 90s and still going strong, Angela made the video clip public. But Dr. Thorne didn’t stop there. Searching his decades of records from hundreds of nature films produced by him beginning in the 1950s, he was able to locate a higher quality copy of the The Sea Otters of Amchitka and donated it to the AFA for digitization. This copy can now be seen on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bcS2HgetEE&feature=youtu.be

At the middle of the twentieth century, Amchitka was home to the largest concentration of the animals in the North Pacific. The opportunities that the otter population at the island provided for research were complicated by Cold War plans to test nuclear weapons there, a project that, following complaints from conservation officials, was halted until the 1960s. In the meantime, Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Karl Kenyon was working to transport sea otters from Amchitka to other locations in the Pacific to try to reverse some of the disastrous effects of the maritime fur trade. Animals were also flown from the island to Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo beginning in 1954, where the first otters held in captivity in an American facility were displayed.

While at Amchitka in 1957 assisting Kenyon’s conservation efforts as a University of Colorado doctoral student, Krear was tasked with shooting footage for the documentary, with film provided by Thorne. He also narrated the The Sea Otters of Amchitka during final production in Colorado. Unfortunately, Krear, passed away in 2018, so I wasn’t able to talk with him about his work, but he did publish a memoir in 2006 titled Four Seasons North: Exploration and Research in the Artic and Subarctic, edited by Terri Garrett, with a section on his time at Amchitka. It offers a somewhat dry but intriguing account of his daily activities on the island, working with Kenyon and several others, including an Aleut Native assistant named Innokinty Golodoff. Their main task was to build a holding pen and capture sea otters for transport to Seattle and the Pribilof Islands. Sadly, all of the otters that left Amchitka by air perished before they could reach their destination. Nevertheless, the lessons learned allowed scientists to perfect translocation methods from the island, which proved largely successful for recovery of the animals throughout the Pacific Northwest in the decades to come.

Krear and Thorne were well aware of the sea otter’s value as a nature film celebrity. While The Sea Otters of Amchitka may have only been seen by conservation advocates and in educational settings prior to the closure of Thorne Films in the early 1970s, the production began the process of popularizing the endearing animals. Near the 34 minute mark, Krear predicts, “In the future it is hoped that the value of this animal to the world will be chiefly aesthetic, but biologists and conservationists anticipate difficulty in promoting this viewpoint.” Such concerns proved fleeting. As Krear noted simply yet poignantly about the film in his memoir years later, “Jacques Cousteau made one later.”

Before and After the Nineteenth Amendment

Date Posted: September 12, 2020       Categories: 49 History

By Sue Sherif, Fairbanks, Alaska. Sue is a retired librarian and is a member of the League of Women Voters, which is also marking its 100th anniversary this year.

The 19th Amendment. Photo courtesy of Sherna Berger Gluck and the Suffragists Project Jukebox.

August 2020 marks several landmarks in the long struggle for voting rights for women.  August 18, 1920 saw the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution by the state legislature of Tennessee, and on August 26, 1920 the amendment was officially added to our Constitution and meant that women who were U.S. citizens had the right to vote in all states of the Union. Neither of these events were the beginning or the end of America’s struggle to determine who may vote. Instead it has been a long, challenging, and continuing battle to recognize that one of the key privileges of citizenship is the right to vote.

Our Constitution itself has very little to say about who is a qualified voter and what exactly citizenship means. Instead it was left to the states to determine voter qualifications. A few of the original states allowed voting by women and free black men in certain circumstances, but for the most part early American voters were white men who owned property or paid taxes. Even the qualifications for the minority of the population who might qualify to vote varied from state to state. In 1806, when New Jersey abolished its provision for women to vote, no women anywhere in the country could legally vote. In early elections, less than 10% of the population constituted the new country’s male electorate.

In the early 1800’s, as Americans discussed and refined the qualifications for voting and tried to address under what circumstances the new waves of German and then Irish immigrants might or might not qualify to become citizens, women began to look for their rights as citizens as well. Women at that time had very few legal rights in marriage. Not only were they ineligible to vote, they could not own property, enter into contracts independently, work at most jobs, be admitted to higher education, or have custody of their children should they escape a troubled marriage. Nor were they even allowed to speak publicly to what were then called “promiscuous audiences” (audiences that contained both females and males). As doors to education began to open for a few women, they began to look for ways to improve the lot of all women. Many of these women became activists in the movement to abolish slavery, and, as they joined abolition groups, they began to see that they were limited in their advocacy because they had no standing as voters.

Drawing of the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention. Courtesy of Sherna Berger Gluck and the Suffragists Project Jukebox.

In that environment, five abolitionist women in upstate New York in 1848 organized a gathering to discuss women’s rights. The Seneca Falls convention attracted women and men to discuss the rights of women and draw up resolutions for action. Their discussion resulted in 11 resolutions, 10 of which passed with enthusiastic unanimity, but one resolution that Elizabeth Cady Stanton had added despite her fellow organizers’ and her own husband’s objections, called for the right of women to vote. It became the most hotly debated topic of all. It was only when Frederick Douglass, the only African American delegate, spoke up for the need for women’s suffrage, did the resolution pass. After that debate, the idea of women’s suffrage spread quickly although it was to take 70 years before the warriors of the suffrage movement were able to translate their advocacy into the 19th Amendment.

Susan B. Anthony soon joined Stanton in devoting her life to the cause, and we still know their names today. But along with Anthony and Stanton were others who should be remembered. You already know the names of Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman, who spoke and acted against slavery, but did you know that both of these towering figures were active and outspoken as women’s suffragists? National and local organizations for women’s suffrage bloomed, merged, and faded during the course of the next 70 years. From these groups came women like Lucy Stone, a stirring orator and devoted abolitionist; and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, an African American poet, orator, and abolitionist. We should know these names and learn more about them.

After the Civil War, the women’s suffrage movement floundered when the nation debated the 14th and 15th Amendments that established black men as voters. The suffragists, who had worked hand and glove with the abolition movement, thought the end of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery would bring equal rights for all, including the right to vote. Instead, they were told that it was the “Negro’s hour,” and that women of all races would have to wait. In spite of the fact that the leaders Stanton and Anthony, who felt betrayed by compromise, uttered racist comments in their bitterness and actively opposed the 15th Amendment, women of all races continued the struggle despite the resulting division in the suffragist ranks. Many African American suffrage leaders like Ida B. Wells and Mary Church Terrell continued organizing and protesting for the right to vote.

In the West, some of the newer territories and states began to pass women suffrage acts either as acts of their legislatures or popular referenda. Even so, the opposition to female voters continued to argue that women were not biologically suited to voting and that a wife’s vote would only: 1) duplicate her husband’s vote; or 2) cancel it out. When the considerable force of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union with chapters all over America embraced the cause of votes for women, the liquor industry actively campaigned against women’s suffrage.

Sentinels at the White House. Photo courtesy of Sherna Berger Gluck and the Suffragists Project Jukebox.

As the early leaders like Stanton and Anthony passed on, confident that their lives’ work would eventually see results, new leaders like Carrie Chapman Catt, Alice Paul, and Lucy Burns took their places. When Woodrow Wilson was president, Paul and Burns organized massive marches and moved their advocacy to another level when they staged the first acts of organized civil disobedience in front of the White House in U.S. history as they encircled the grounds as “Silent Sentinels” six days a week for months, resulting in jailing and forced feedings. Their actions, considered outrageous by some at the time, actually brought public sympathy and pushed the needle closer to Congress and the president’s eventual acceptance of the need for a constitutional amendment.

We all need to know the names of  suffragists of that time like Ida B. Wells, Mary Church Terrell, Dr. Mabel Ping-hua Lee, Nina Otero, and Zitkala-Sa and learn more about them.

Outstanding achievement though the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment was, the struggle was not over. For example, the Alaska Territorial Legislature had actually passed a woman’s suffrage act as its first piece of legislation when it organized in 1913. But after the passage of the 19th Amendment, Alaska Natives, male or female, for the most part, were still not able to vote because their U.S. citizenship was not established until 1924.

Matilda “Tillie” Khaalyát’ Kinnon Paul Tamaree (1864-1955) was a Tlingit woman of the Teeyhittaan Raven clan of Wrangell, Alaska. She founded the New Covenant Legion, a Christian temperance organization that turned into the Alaska Native Brotherhood. Courtesy of the Alaska State Library Photo Collection and the Alaska’s Suffrage Stars Exhibit.

Then in 1925, the territorial legislature disenfranchised many when it enacted legislation that made passing an English-language literacy test a qualification for voting that was not stricken from our laws until 1970. African American men who had gained the right to vote through the 14th amendment in 1868, and African American women, particularly if they lived in the South, were barred from voting by Jim Crow measures and physical violence that would not end until the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s led to the enactment of the Voters Rights Act of 1965.

Even today, we read of attempts at voter suppression, so the struggle of previous generations for the right to vote continues to this day. On this anniversary of the 19th Amendment, consider your right to vote and learn more about it. For example, to learn about early Alaska suffragists, go the Alaska State Museum website to view their online exhibit Alaska’s Suffrage Stars at https://lam.alaska.gov/suffrage-star. To learn more about the suffragist warriors nationwide, visit the National Park Service site at: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/womenshistory/19th-amendment.htm. To listen to women talk about their own experiences in the suffrage movement, go to the Suffragists Project Jukebox created by the Oral History Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in collaboration with California State University Long Beach oral historian, Sherna Berger Gluck.

Whether or not you remember the names of any of the countless women and men who fought for the vote, let’s take the time in their honor during this election season to exercise that hard-won right.

A slightly different version of this article appeared in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner newspaper on August 30, 2020.

Covid-19 – Two year Unfinished Project #1 Completed: F/V Age of Reason

Date Posted: April 10, 2020       Categories: 49 History

By Kathy Peavey, Craig Alaska

Mary Ida Henrikson of Ketchikan gifted an original painting by former Craig resident and author, Ballard Hadman, to the Craig Public Library. The painting by Ballard was gifted to former Thorne Bay and Ketchikan author and her friend, Margaret Bell (niece of City of Craig founder, Craig Miller). It was Margaret who gave the painting to Mary. When Mary was in Craig in 2018 promoting her new book The Mystery of the Fire Trees of Southeast Alaska, she brought the painting with her from Ketchikan and gave it to the Craig Public Library. Mary mentioned that there is the Ketchikan Pond Reef Road legend surrounding the name on the boat. Some speculate that perhaps Ballard didn’t finish the painting. Henrikson mentions that Margaret Bell told her when Ballard was with Margaret one evening the two were having a glass of wine or a martini and it is said that the name was painted on when they were visiting and possibly under the influence of their drink. Regardless of when the name was put on, it’s exciting that the boat influenced Ballard as much as it did. Ballard writes in her book, As the Sailor Loves the Sea:

My first sight of Fishermen’s Cove gave me a painting, which is peculiarly difficult to put into words but ready-made for canvas. At the head of the cove, heeled over with her forefoot to the beach, abandoned to the endless tide, derelict and rotten, lay what had once been a brave hull. Along her bows in fanciful lettering was her provocative name, the Age of Reason. To be sure, it gave me deep pleasure to find the Age of Reason rotting on the beach.

Someday when you are out of isolation, the painting can be seen  at the Craig Public Library. It hangs to the left of the librarian desk.

Ballard Hadman a resident of Craig and Ketchikan was born Virginia Diana Ballard in 1908 in Laramie, Wyoming. She attended Corcoran Institute of Art in Washington D.C. and the Winold Reiss School of Art in New York City. Ballard arrived in Craig, Alaska in 1937, following her mother, Mimi, to come work with her brothers, John and Charles, on their fishing boat the F/V Diana. It wasn’t long until Ballard put out her memoirs in the Craig town favorite, As The Sailor Loves the Sea. When Ballard arrived in Craig she wrote:

I should always like to land in a strange port on a strange island in the dark; the impact of the morning is so fresh, so wholly new. From the top of the highest hill on the island, where a long bed of iris stood tall and proud, I first saw the polished blue sweep of Big Harbor, the warm deep green of Saint John’s Island with its own infant island, Little Saint John, tucked close to its shoulder.

After arriving in Craig on the steam ship Cordova, Hadman made her way to the fish packer the F/V Lawrence P and caught a ride out to “Hole in the Wall.” Once there, Hadman met up with her brothers who unloaded her onto the beach and set her up in a rustic cabin until they went out fishing. (Remnants of the cabin can be seen on the northern end of San Lorenzo island.)

Hadman’s book has many unique hand-drawn and painted scenes of the outer coast, fishing boats and locals such as “Shorty,” Many local historians consider her book a “must have” whether on their boat, in their remote cabin, or on their shelves in Craig. Her book can be found at the Craig Public Library, as well.

Ballard became infatuated with the beauty of the fishing landscape and enjoyed painting scenes that can be found in her book. Her most noted love is the painting of Cape Addington. Hadman writes: “It was that first season that I began to know Cape Addington, my first and best love among all the seaward capes. …To my mind, and to John’s as well, the most beautiful cape in Alaska.

Like most women who came to Alaska to seek an adventure, Hadman not only became a proficient fisherwoman, author and artist, but became involved in the community of Craig as a member of the Craig Women’s Club. In 1946, she was honored as a “Woman of Achievement” in Seattle by the honorary journalistic sorority, Theta Sigma Phi.

End note:

When I first saw the painting in the Library, I decided to find out about the history of it. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed researching and learning about the painting. When researching the boat, I found out before she came to rest at Fishermans cove (South Cove) in Craig she was once considered to be one of the larger boats in Klawock and owned by two fishermen from Klawock: J. Cook and S. Davis. Thanks to Mary Henrikson for her help and for donating the painting back to Craig. I started this research in 2018. This is the first Covid-19 isolation project that I have finished. Kathy Peavey, March 28, 2020.

Resources cited:

Tewkesbury’s Who’s Who in Alaska

O.M. Salisbury, As the Sailor Loves the Sea

Zee Hawks

Conference Schedule and Registration

Date Posted: July 22, 2019       Categories: 49 History

Awauq or Refuge Rock, off the southern shore of Kodiak Island. Photo courtesy of Sven Haakanson, Jr.

Registration is now open for the 2019 Alaska Historical Society Annual Conference being held in Kodiak from September 25-28, 2019.

Visit the Museums Alaska/Alaska Historical Society joint conference website to register.

Click here to view the full program for the Alaska Historical Society sessions.

We look forward to seeing you in Kodiak!

The Life of Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher

Date Posted: March 13, 2019       Categories: 49 History

By: Alyssa Lapka, history student at University of Alaska Anchorage

Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher, 1909. “The best picture of the Evanston years.” B2008. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad.

In honor of women’s history month and in commemoration of the centennial of the 19th Amendment, there’s no better time to recall the notable and accomplished life of Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher.

Here in Alaska, many have grown up in the Matanuska Valley with Hatcher Pass as a playground. One could easily locate an abundance of information about the mining history of the area, tales of Robert Lee Hatcher for whom the pass is named after, but few have written about his wife, Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher. Ms. Hatcher was among the most influential women in Alaska’s history.

Born in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin on January 2, 1867, Cornelia expressed an interested in journalism at a young age and realized the potential of the press as a tool for public advocacy. As a young girl, Cornelia submitted written complaints to the local paper after experiencing what she felt to be injustices from the other children. Cornelia also developed a strong aversion to alcohol and drunken behavior after having grown up around a grandfather who was often intoxicated. She recalled how his behavior ruined family holidays: “If she could prevent it ‘no other child should ever weep over the loss of Christmas joy due to a muddled brain and an unsteady step.’”1 Here we see how Hatcher’s childhood formed her belief in temperance and shaped her role as an activist.

At the age of 12, Cornelia took a job as a typesetter for a small paper in Wisconsin. Later she worked for The Expositor and The Independent, two other local papers in Wisconsin. By the time she was twenty, Cornelia worked her way up to become a proofreader. The paper’s editor put her in charge of some investigations as well. On June 27, 1888, Cornelia married John H. Jewett; a year later she gave birth to her daughter, Hazel. Though her marriage with Jewett did not last, she remained close to Hazel throughout her life. She later moved to Chicago to continue work as a journalist. There she joined the staff of The Union Signal, an official organ of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.). By 1902 Cornelia worked as the managing editor for the paper.

Seven years later, Cornelia had developed some wanderlust and looked west for adventure. She attended the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle with her associate in the W.C.T.U, Jennie M. Kemp. Following her stay in Seattle, Cornelia set off on a two-month tour of the Northwest, including an ambitious three-week trip to Alaska. Cornelia relayed her impressions of the expansive territory as a representative of the temperance union:

The population of Alaska is like the shifting sand, and two-thirds of the inhabitants are men, either unmarried or whose families have been left behind in ‘the states.’ Removed from the restraining influences of the home, and beset on every hand by the temptations of the saloon, the brothel and the gambling den, man speedily reverts to semi-barbarism and ceases to struggle for the better things of life. It is such men that the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, working with the missionaries of the church, aims to reach. Our representative expresses the greatest gratification over the response of the men to her efforts, and their eager desire to assist in the work when they comprehend its scope.2

The experience proved formative for Cornelia, and she soon decided to relocate to Alaska. As Cornelia stated in the Union Signal stated: she had a “desire for further information concerning the country and its future, as well as a conviction of the great need and opportunity there afforded for temperance work.”3 In addition, Cornelia believed that a more active lifestyle might ameliorate the severe neuritis in her arm and shoulder.4

In 1910, Cornelia took up residence with the family of a Methodist preacher, Louis H. Pedersen, in Seward and served as Alaska’s National W.C.T.U. representative. Cornelia traveled along Alaska’s coasts and lectured on the topic of temperance. One reporter who heard her public performance on the evils of drink claimed, “It was a strong appeal on behalf of the cause of temperance, and so deep an impression did Mrs. Jewett make that at the close she was importuned to return to Cordova, make a similar talk and organize a branch of the National Women’s Christian Temperance Union… She is one of the most active and effective women in the country in her particular work.”5 Soon after, Cornelia organized three W.C.T.U. chapters in Ketchikan, Skagway, and Seward, as well as with the Loyal Temperance Legion, a branch of the W.C.T.U. for children.6

Having a sense of accomplishment and not one to stay in one place for too long, Cornelia left Alaska for Tacoma in 1911, but her experience in the North was far from over. During her brief stay Alaska, Cornelia Jewett met a miner named Robert Lee Hatcher in the Matanuska Valley. The young journalist apparently left quite the impression on Hatcher; he soon followed her to Tacoma with the idea of marrying her. For her part, Cornelia was drawn to Robert and later claimed that he was perhaps the only man in Alaska who did not smoke, drink, chew, swear, or gamble. The two married on March 5, 1911, and Cornelia Templeton Jewett took Hatcher as her surname.7

Cornelia returned to Alaska the winter of 1912 to join her husband. They wintered not far from Knik in the area now known as Hatcher Pass. During these years, Cornelia Hatcher grew still more active in the suffrage and temperance movements. In 1913, she proclaimed her belief that women should be free to vote for representatives in Alaska’s Territorial Legislature. Cornelia authored a petition for the legislature to grant women the vote.

She later recalled an instance when her advocacy for suffrage led her into a conflict with a male inn keeper. Frank Cannon, the man who ran the Knik Road House, confessed to Cornelia, “You see, I have always had an ideal of women… I feel that it would be unwomanly for them to vote.” Cornelia provided a rebuttal: “About the 8,000,000 women who have had to get down off a pedestal and hunt for a job;” they should be able to participate in democracy. Frank Cannon claimed that Cornelia Hatcher was exceptional in her intelligence, but most women could not be trusted with the vote. Cornelia, not content with Frank’s response, reminded the innkeeper, “There are thousands of women like me who are honestly interested in their government and believe that they should have an equal voice in its affairs… You insist that I am intelligent enough to vote so I am asking you to ask the Alaska Legislature to give me that privilege.” Frank Cannon finally conceded and signed the petition.8

Cornelia Hatcher 2,000 feet up on Mt. Seward, Alaska, August 2nd, 1909. B2008. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad,

According to the Alaska Daily Empire, the Knik petition Hatcher organized was one of the very first to be received by the new territorial legislature. Within months, Alaska’s representatives fashioned a bill based on petitions they received. The petition proposed women would have the right to vote in territorial elections. Cornelia Hatcher took great pride in the fact that women’s suffrage was the first bill passed into law by the first Alaska Legislature, six years before the United States passed the 19th amendment.9

Between 1913 and 1924, Hatcher served as president of the Alaska territorial W.C.T.U.10 Thanks in part to her advocacy, the Alaska legislature passed a law that made women eligible for jury service in the territory by 1923. Cornelia Hatcher celebrated the “recognition of [men and women’s] share in civic government,” but she also recognized that full equality remained elusive. “True comradeship between the men and women of Alaska,” Cornelia wrote, would be more convincing if “women would share adequately in property accumulated after marriage.”11

In addition to her advocacy for women’s rights in Alaska, Cornelia remained active in the prohibition movement. The Oregon Sunday Journal claimed that Cornelia Hatcher was responsible for “the first and only prohibition map that has ever been made of this country.” For over two years, Cornelia cobbled together a listing towns, cities, and counties that banned, to one extent or another, alcohol consumption and production.12

Citizens of Knik standing in front of the Pioneer Roadhouse at Knik, Alaska. B2008.015.1.33. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad,

Cornelia traveled over five thousand miles throughout Alaska to campaign for prohibition. Alaska’s W.C.T.U. sent Hatcher along the Yukon River up the Tanana River to Fairbanks and to Nome. Her trip carried “her the length of the Yukon river and out through the Bering Sea. She visited all the Unions in the southeast part of the territory enroute and reached Skagway June 8. From there she proceeded to Dawson where she assisted in the fight to put the Yukon Territory dry.” Throughout her travels representatives from the California Liquor Dealers followed her to provide a rebuttal to keep Alaska wet. Still, her efforts paid off as the people of Alaska voted for prohibition by a two-to-one margin in 1918. According to her daughter, Hazel, Cornelia Hatcher was “the little lady who made Alaska dry.”13

Due to Alaska’s territorial status, the bill had to pass through congress before it could become law. Cornelia Hatcher traveled to Washington, D.C. where she addressed the Committee of the Territories in the U.S. Senate. In a letter addressed to her ‘Alaska Comrades,’ she informed them that the “prohibition bill passed the Senate January 29, received the favorable consideration of the House February 2 and was signed by President Woodrow Wilson February 8.”14 A constitutional amendment soon followed and received ratification in December 1917; the implementation and enforcement of Prohibition went into effect on January 17, 1920.

Hatcher received national attention as a passionate advocate for prohibition. The Seattle Post Intelligencer relayed that Cornelia deserved “credit for being the best and most successful promoter of legislation who has come to this capitol [DC] in years.”15 Another newspaper of reported that she made “the most powerful argument in favor of the passage of the measure ever heard on the subject of temperance in the national capital.”16 As further evidence of her success, Cornelia received the pen President Wilson used to sign the prohibition bill into law.17

Hatcher’s Home at Gold Mint Mining Company, 1921-22. B2008. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad.

While advocating for prohibition, Cornelia Hatcher also pointed out the flaws in Alaska’s nascent educational system. Though she staunchly believed in nationwide prohibition, she also recognized that Alaska stood to lose much of its education funding as a result of the 20th Amendment. The Alaska Fund, as it was known in congress, collected revenue from liquor licenses and disbursed some of these funds for education in the territory. The schools in Alaska already lacked adequate funding and any additional decrease would be detrimental. To ensure Alaska schools received funding, Cornelia Hatcher lobbied for an appropriation of “$100,000, to be expended solely for the establishment and maintenance of public schools in Alaska, to be expended under the direction of the authority now having the disposition of the ‘Alaska fund.’”18 Though the bill failed, congress passed a smaller appropriation for education in Alaska.

In 1922 Cornelia left Alaska once again. After several months in San Diego, she moved to Long Beach where she opened a beauty shop. She joined several local clubs and organizations and accomplished much in the short time she spent in southern California. From 1927 to 1929 she served as president of the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Long Beach. Membership in the Long Beach Women’s Clun tripled during Cornelia Hatcher’s time in office. She also served as the president of the Woman’s City Club in Long Beach from 1929-1930.20 In 1930 she moved to Washington, D.C. upon receiving an offer from an old friend, Lenna Lowe Yost, the Director of the Women’s Division of the Republican Party. She joined Yost’s staff as a research secretary.21

Cornelia Hatcher while living in Long Beach, California and running the Colonial Beauty Shop. B2008. Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad,

In 1935, even though she had not lived in Alaska for over ten years, Cornelia remained an associate member of the Alaska Woman’s Club based out of Juneau. The Alaskan women asked Cornelia to represent the club at the convention of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs in Detroit, Michigan. At the convention she lobbied have the Alaska club classified as a state federation instead of a foreign federation. After Cornelia’s moving speech, the federation voted to make the Alaska club an affiliate of the state federation.22 This was the last service Cornelia did for Alaska. She and her daughter, Hazel, then moved back to Chicago where she renewed her affiliation with the Illinois Women’s Press Association. In 1942, on her seventy-fifth birthday, the association named her an Honorary Life Member. Cornelia relocated a final time with her daughter and granddaughter, this time to Arkansas. On May 5, 1953 Cornelia Hatcher passed away in the small town of Altus.23

Cornelia Hatcher accomplished much during her lifetime. From her leadership positions in organizations and clubs devoted to women’s rights to her advocacy for prohibition to her career as a writer and journalist, Cornelia’s drive for social change boosted the profile of women across Alaska and elsewhere. There’s no better time to reflect on her achievements than now as we commemorate the centenary of the 18th and 19th Amendments to the United States constitution and their impact upon Alaska.


 Alyssa Lapka from Palmer, Alaska, is attending the University of Alaska Anchorage, and plans to  graduate with a bachelor’s degree in history and minor in literature in spring, 2019. Lapka spent the fall 2018 semester interning for the Atwood Resource Center in the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center.

Thank you to Sara Piasecki, Archivist, Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, for assistance with the photographic research, and Ian Hartman, Professor of History, University of Alaska Anchorage.



  1. Emma Kidd Hulburt “Presenting the Union Signal and Some Workers Past and Present,” The Union Signal, February 14, 1948 and Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad, B2008.015.2.34.
  2. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad, B2008.015.1.10-11.
  3. The Union Signal, March 31, 1910. https://archive.org/details/unionsignaljourn36woma/page/n237
  4. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad, B2008.015.1.16
  5. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad, B2008.015.1.18.
  6. Cornelia Templeton Jewett, “W.C.T.U. Work in Alaska,” The Union Signal, January 5, 1911. https://archive.org/details/unionsignaljourn37woma/page/n9
  7. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad, B2008.015.2.25.
  8. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad, B2008.015.1.33 and “Shoup’s Suffrage Bill Passes,” The Alaska Daily Empire, March 14, 1913, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84020657/1913-03-14/ed-1/seq-1/.
  9. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad, B2008.015.1.33 and “Shoup’s Suffrage Bill Passes,” The Alaska Daily Empire, March 14, 1913, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84020657/1913-03-14/ed-1/seq-1/.
  10. Emma Kidd Hulburt “Presenting the Union Signal and Some Workers Past and Present,” The Union Signal, February 14, 1948.
  11. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad, B2008.015.1.40.
  12. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad, B2008.015.1.14.
  13. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad, B2008.015.1.24.
  14. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad, B2008.015.1.26.
  15. Ashmun Brown, “Seattle Woman puts Through Bone Dry Measure for Alaska,” The Post-Intelligencer, Seattle, WA, Saturday, February 3, 1917.
  16. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad, B2008.015.1.25.
  17. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad, B2008.015.1.26.
  18. “Prohibition in Alaska Hearing Before the Committee on Territories United States Senate” S.7963, 64th Cong., 2nd sess. January 26, 1917. Washington Government Printing Office 1917.
  19. Cornelia Templeton Hatcher, “Alaska Legislature Makes Fine Record on Enactment of Progressive Measures,” The Union Signal, June 7, 1917, https://archive.org/details/unionsignaljourn43woma/page/n361.
  20. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad, B2008.015.2.1.
  21. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad, B2008.015.1.34.
  22. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad, B2008.015.1.34.
  23. Cornelia Templeton Jewett Hatcher Papers; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Robin Rustad, B2008.015.2.31.