Alaskan History Magazine's Weekly Newsletter

The Free Version • May 6, 2021

Hello Friends,

The articles in the May-June issue have started posting to the paid version of this newsletter, check out the one week free trial subscription for a quick look at the differences between this free newsletter and the $5/month or $40/year version. The first article posted is on the Hotel Holman/Blix Roadhouse in Copper Center; here are the upcoming articles in the issue:

• Knik – At one time the largest community on Cook Inlet, and being on the Iditarod Trail, Knik was the chief outfitting point for much of western Alaska. 

• Alaska Villlages, Eskimo, Indian, Aleut, 1937 – An unusual look at the villages of Alaska, from the perspectives of students boarding at the Eklutna Vocational School. 

• An Alaskan “Mush” to Presbytery – The Reverend Samuel Hall Young was known as “The Mushing Parson,” and here he details one trip over the Iditarod Trail. 

• Historic Alaskan Hot Springs – From the Panhandle to the Seward Peninsula, and from the Arctic Slopes to the Aleutian Islands, thermal hot springs are found all across Alaska. 

• Trading Cards: Captain Cook’s Third Voyage – Small colorful and informative, commercial trading cards from the Arbuckle Coffee Company told of Captain Cook’s final voyage. 

• 1923 Alaska Railroad Tour Lantern Slides – Presented as a promotional program for the then-new Alaska Railroad, these colorful slides share scenes of Alaska’s Great Circle Tour.

To order the actual print version of the magazine, check out the new storefront at Shopify for Alaskan History Magazine and Northern Light Media:

For paid subscribers (and a bonus for non-subscribers): I forgot to include the online resources for the article on the Hotel Holman/Blix Roadhouse in the last newsletter. Here they are, and I’ve added them to the website version of the article:

Blix Roadhouse

Ringwald Blix

Andrew Holman

Richardson Hwy Roadhouses

An interesting and somewhat odd postcard is currently for sale on the auction site eBay, here is the link and the front and back of the postcard. The postage square on the back is unusual, stating the cost to mail “domestic, Canada, Great Britain and Germany” is one cent, while “foreign” destinations are two cents.

Old Books for Sale

A growing collection of old books about Alaska is for sale at the Northern Light Media/Alaskan History Magazine storefront on Shopify. Titles currently available include two versions of Judge James Wickersham’s Old Yukon:Tales, Trails and Trials, Edwin M. Fitch’s The Alaska Railroad, Samuel Hall Young’s Hall Young of Alaska, Barrett Willoughby’s The Trail Eater, Richard Morenus’s Alaska Sourdough: The Story of Slim Williams, Eva Greenstreet’s Dog Team Doctor, Esther Birdsall Darling’s Baldy of Nome, and many others, available at reasonable prices with Priority shipping included to U.S. addresses. Check back often to see new titles added to the collection!

Old Books

National Postal Museum at the Smithsonian Institution

A favorite online resource is the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, which is dedicated to the preservation, study and presentation of postal history and philately.

A search for the term ‘Alaska’ returns a couple hundred finds, including great Alaskan stamps such as the 3¢ Territorial Mt. McKinley stamp (featuring an idyllic image which probably never existed), and the 7¢ Statehood stamp (see below).

In 1998 the National Postal Museum celebrated the Klondike/Alaskan gold rush centennial with an exhibit that explored the last great gold rush of the 19th century and the unforgettable role of the mail carriers who provided contact between those so far from home and the families they left behind. Although the exhibit is no longer on view in the museum, it continues in an online format. Here, you can learn about this fascinating period in American history:

Mail and Mail Carriers feature: “Alaska's mail carriers were courageous souls. They trekked over the winter trails when no one else dared to step outside to keep their schedules. When the weather was warm and the rivers ice-free, steamboats and canoes carried the mail. But, until airplanes were put into common use, dog sleds were used by most Alaskan carriers during the long, harsh winters.”

In the U.S. Post Office Department's 1896 annual report, officials included two letters from their new Alaskan contract mail carrier, N. A. Beddoe, regarding travel conditions in the territory. From Circle City, July 15, 1896: “I have to report the safe arrival of the first mail at Circle City under the contract with this company. I personally took charge of the expedition, and had it been otherwise I could hardly have credited the dangers and difficulties of the trip.”

Back Issues are Always Available

Alaskan History Magazine is a bimonthly magazine featuring stories of the people, places and events which shaped the future of Alaska from prehistory to statehood. Edited by Alaskan author Helen Hegener, the magazine is published by Northern Light Media, a company she founded in 2007. No advertising is accepted. Price is $12.00 per issue and includes first class postage. Visit the Shopify storefront for multiple issue orders and complete back issue sets.

• Share this newsletter with your family and friends:

• Free book excerpts are published to the newsletter site each week. The excerpts include photographs and links to more information; last week’s excerpt was from The Stained Glass Dog Team

• There are two versions of this newsletter: 

~ A free subscription - the version you’re reading now - includes at least one weekly update, news of issue contents, articles and photos from the archives, occasional articles and excerpts from the current issue, and access to the first two years of archived back issues (2019-2020).

~ A paid subscription ($5/month or $40/year) brings all of the updates, all of the articles from the print magazine (posted one or two per week), commenting and discussion of posts, and access to the complete archives through the current issue. Both versions include free weekly book excerpts. 

• Digital Editions: The first two years of Alaskan History Magazine, 2019-2020, are available to read free online at, the premier digital publication website. Nine issues, over 60 articles to read free in the original full color layouts! 

Digital Editions 2019-2020