Alaska History, Vol. 37, #2, Spring 2022
Alaskana is an annotated listing of recent publications on the North featured in Alaska History, the journal of the Alaska Historical Society. All titles are available through the publisher, Amazon.com, ABEBooks.com, or your local library, unless otherwise noted.
Compiled by Kathy Ward, Juneau Public Libraries.
Chris Allan, In the Shadow of Eagle Bluff: A Pictorial History of the U.S. Army’s Fort Egbert at Eagle, Alaska, 1899–1902 (Fairbanks: National Park Service, 2021) 33 pp., paper, no ISBN. Available by contacting author at: National Park Service, Fairbanks Administrative Center, 4175 Geist Road, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709. Fort Egbert was established in 1899 to help bring law to the Fortymile region, which had filled with miners, settlers, and outlaws. In 1911 it was largely abandoned except for use as a telegraph and wireless station, which it remained until 1925.
Chris Allan, Of Gold and Gravel: A Pictorial History of Mining Operations at Coal Creek and Woodchopper Creek, 1934–1938, Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve (Fairbanks: National Park Service, 2021) 48 pp., paper, no ISBN. Available online or contact author at: National Park Service, Fairbanks Administrative Center, 4175 Geist Road, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709. The book collects photos taken by employees of the Gold Placers, Inc. Company, between 1934, when the company was founded, and 1938. The Coal Creek and Woodchopper Creek areas still contain remnants from more than three decades of mining activities.
Tabitha Gregory, Valdez Rises: One Town’s Struggle for Survival after the Great Alaska Earthquake (Sapphire Mountain Books, 2021) 325 pp., paper, $19.95, ISBN: 9780578890302. The 9.2 earthquake that struck Alaska in 1964 leveled the town of Valdez and made the site unstable. Gregory details the many financial, personal, and bureaucratic decisions that were made in the following four years that enabled Valdez not only to recreate itself in a new location, but to put itself in a better long-term economic position.
Beverly Patkotak Grinage, Taaqpak: The Great Umialik (self-published, 2021) paper, $28.95, ISBN: 9780578975344. Available at: www.taaqpak.com. Nature itself was in flux in the late 1800s in the North Slope area, and Captain James Taaqpak was one of the few able to take advantage of the changes. His skills as a trapper and whale hunter, coupled with his entrepreneurial acumen, not only enabled him to keep himself and his family afloat, but also to help many others survive.
Kaylene Johnson-Sullivan, Colin Tyler Bogucki, History of the Eagle River Nature Center (Anchorage: Alaska Print Brokers, 2021) 46 pp., paper, $10.00, ISBN: 9781578337880. Available through the Eagle River Nature Center bookstore. Originally run by the Chugach State Park system, which rebuilt a defunct roadhouse and bar into what is now a welcoming visitor’s center at the main trailhead, the Friends of the Eagle River Nature Center took over management of the Center in 1996.
Nanna Katrine Luders Kaalund, Explorations in the Icy North: How Travel Narratives Shaped Arctic Science in the Nineteenth Century (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021) 240 pp., hardcover, $40.00, ISBN: 9780822946595. Kaalund brings together writings by British, Danish, American, and Canadian explorers and scientists about the Arctic and Antarctic to examine the ways that their disparate stories contributed to the formation of a more unified Arctic science, culminating in the First International Polar Year in 1882.
Tom Kizzia, Cold Mountain Path: The Ghost Town Decades of McCarthy-Kennecott, Alaska 1938–1983 (McCarthy: Porphyry Press, 2021) 346 pp., paper, $21.95, ISBN: 9781736755815. Following the closure of the Kennecott copper mine in 1938, the population of McCarthy, the nearest town, dwindled to include only the hardiest and most independent residents. Kizzia writes about the years in which the town gained a reputation for being a “hermit kingdom” of sorts before becoming a welcoming tourist destination within the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in the 1980s.
Elizabeth Curtis Magnuson, Coleen Graybill, John Edward Graybill, Edward S. Curtis: Unpublished Alaska: Photographs and Personal Journal (Indianapolis: Vedere Press; East Peoria, Illinois: Versa Press, Inc. 2021) 295 pp., hardcover, $79.95, ISBN: 9781736885505. Available through the Curtis Legacy Foundation: curtislegacyfoundation.org. Over 100 previously unpublished photographs accompany excerpts from Curtis’s and his daughter Beth’s own journals of his last field trip to Alaska.
Brian G. Shellum, Buffalo Soldiers in Alaska: Company L, Twenty-Fourth Infantry (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2021) 386 pp., paper, $29.95, ISBN: 9781496228444. When Company L, an all-black unit of soldiers, was sent to Skagway towards the end of the Gold Rush, it helped support existing authorities in the town. The men also found themselves responsible for fighting fires, holding the as-yet undefined border between the United States and Canada, and dealing with the racism that the white settlers and prospectors brought with them.
Robert E. Walls, Darby C. Stapp, Alexandra L. C. Martin, Victoria M.R. Boozer, Resilience through Writing: A Bibliographic Guide to Indigenous-authored Publications in the Pacific Northwest before 1960 (Richland, Washington: Northwest Anthropology LLC, 2021) 499 pp., paper, $34.95, ISBN: 9798566579900. This exhaustive bibliography, with nearly two thousand entries by seven hundred individuals, contains everything from school essays, legal correspondence, letters to newspapers, speeches, and more.
James Taylor White and Gary C. Stein, “I wish you could come too”: The Alaska Diaries of Dr. James Taylor White, 1889, 1890, 1894, 1900–1901 (Wasilla: Northern Light Media, 2021) 437 pp., paper, $29.95, ISBN: 9798488207240. Dr. White accompanied the U.S. Treasury Department’s revenue cutter service for several seasons as it patrolled the Bering Sea, where he not only served as ship’s physician but also took part in the life of the ship: patrolling for smugglers, capturing Siberian reindeer, and rescuing shipwrecked sailors.