Summer is just around the corner, and for me that means long lazy days of reading on my phone or my iPad with a nice cup of tea. The portability of my electronics fits nicely with summer trips to the creeks, the beaches, and the mountains, and there is a wealth of great free reading online. Here are a few of my favorite sources:
• Project Gutenberg - A library of over 60,000 free eBooks, including much of the world’s great literature, with a focus on older works.
• Library of Congress - A warehouse of historic treasures, search for a specific word or term, or just start browsing.
• Open Library - An open, editable library catalog, building towards a web page for every book ever published.
• 15 Places You Can Read Free Books Online - From Reader’s Digest, May, 2021.
Could we be smarter by having people, the library, networks, and computers all work together? That is the dream I signed on to. I dreamed of starting with a collection—an Archive, an Internet Archive. This grew to be a collection of collections: Archives. Then a critical mass of knowledge complete enough to inform citizens worldwide: a Digital Library. A library accessible by anyone connected to the Internet, “Free to All.”
—Brewster Kahle, Founder & Digital Librarian, Internet Archive
Looking for real books? Check out your nearest Little Free Library! A 501 nonprofit organization that promotes neighborhood book exchanges, usually in the form of a public bookcase, more than 90,000 public book exchanges are registered with the organization.
“In 2009, Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse. It was a tribute to his mother; she was a teacher who loved to read. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard. His neighbors and friends loved it, so he built several more and gave them away.” Continue reading about the history.
From the Alaska Historical Society
A great article by Chris Allen explaining How to Discover Alaska’s Past in Newspaper Databases: “Since 2010, the Alaska State Library has been participating in a national program to digitize historical newspapers for a Library of Congress database called Chronicling America. This effort is ongoing, but it has already added more than 150,000 pages from forty Alaska newspapers ranging in date from 1898 to 1963. Many Alaskan newspapers also appear in subscription databases like Newspapers.com and Newspaperarchive.com that are international in scope or Geneaologybank.com that offers only American papers. These are all an enormous boon to researchers who want to use Alaska’s newspapers in their projects.”
I found the reminder at the bottom of the article especially valuable, and something I always try to keep in mind when utilizing these original sources in my research: “Caveat emptor: As with any historical source material, newspapers need to be viewed with a critical eye. Newspaper editors can have political affiliations and agendas. Reporters can peddle sensational versions of events to boost readership. And erroneous or bastardized versions of events are not uncommon, especially when a news story is picked up and reprinted (or even rewritten) by newspapers across the country. However, if you are selective and apply the same care to newspapers as you do to other types of sources, they can be an enormously valuable resource.”
Free Book Excerpts from Alaskan History Magazine
The free book excerpt this week, sent on Sunday, was a chapter from Arthur Treadwell Walden’s A Dog Puncher on the Yukon, published in 1928. The book tells of Walden’s adventures as one of the most respected pioneers of the Klondike and Alaskan gold rushes, arriving in Circle City in the early part of 1896, at that time “...the banner town of the interior.” He learned to drive dogs and hauled mail and freight, and he would, in later years, help train sled dogs and drivers for Admiral Richard E. Byrd’s 1927 Antarctic expedition, and lead the freight hauling to Byrd’s base camp.
Free book excerpts are posted to the newsletter site and emailed to both free and paid subscribers almost every week. Titles online now include A Dog Puncher on the Yukon, A Woman Who Went to Alaska, Long Hard Trails and Sled Dog Tales, The Tanana Valley Railroad, The History of Seward, and The Land of Tomorrow. If you missed one they’re all still free to read at the newsletter site.
July-August Alaskan History Magazine
The July-August issue of Alaskan History Magazine will be mailed June 15 for delivery near July 1st. This issue features some great articles, including Alaska Nellie, Jujiro Wada, Rufus Harvey Sargent, the 1926-1929 U.S. Navy Aerial Alaskan Survey, the first Army Forts in Alaska, The Clay Street Cemetery, and more. Click below to pre-order the July-Aug issue, sent postpaid via first class on June 15, and check out a few sample pages of the interior.
From the Archives
Josiah E. Spurr in 1896: Through the Birch Creek Gold Mining District
In 1896 Josiah Edward Spurr led the first expedition to map and chart the interior of Alaska for the United States Geological Survey. [From the Sept-Oct, 2020 issue of Alaskan History Magazine]
• There are two versions of this newsletter:
~ A free subscription - the version you’re reading now.
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• Books from Northern Light Media include The Alaska Railroad 1902-1923, Alaskan Roadhouses, The Matanuska Colony Barns, The First Iditarod, Alaska & The Klondike, Camping and Trailing in Alaska (1909), The 1935 Matanuska Colony Project, and many more! Check them out at this link.
Alaskan History Magazine is published by Northern Light Media. Back issues available.
Thanks for reading, see you next week!
Helen Hegener, publisher
Northern Light Media