In Pursuit of Alaska
An Anthology of Travelers' Tales, 1879-1909
Edited by Jean Morgan Meaux
Foreword by Stephen W. Haycox
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This collection of Alaskan adventures begins with a newspaper article written by John Muir during his first visit to Alaska in 1879, when the sole U.S. government representative in all the territory's 586,412 square miles was a lone customs official in Sitka. It closes with accounts of the gold rush and the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle. Jean Meaux has gathered a superb collection of articles and stories that captivated American readers when they were first published and that will continue to entertain us today. The authors range from Charles Hallock (the founder of Forest and Stream, a precursor of Field and Stream) to New York society woman Mary Hitchcock, who traveled with china, silver, and a 2,800 square foot tent. After explorer Henry Allen wore out his boots, he marched barefoot as he continued mapping the Tanana River, and Episcopal Archdeacon Hudson Stuck mushed by dog sled in Arctic winters across a territory encompassing 250,000 miles of the northern interior.
- Published: July 2013
- Subject Listing: Western History, Travel
- Bibliographic information: 328 pp., 40 illus., 4 maps, 6 x 9 in.
Although the United States acquired Alaska in 1867, it took more than a decade for American writers and explorers to focus attention on a territory so removed from their ordinary lives. These writers-adventurers, tourists, and gold seekers-would help define the nation's perception of Alaska and would contribute to an image of the state that persists today. This collection unearths early writings that offer a broad view of American encounters with Alaska accompanied by Meaux's lively and concise introductions. The present-day adventurer will find much to inspire exploration, while students of the American West can gain new access to this valuable trove of pre-Gold Rush Alaska archives.
Before returning to New Orleans to practice family law, Jean Morgan Meaux lived in Alaska from 1971 to 1985, where she earned a master's degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage and did freelance writing for the Anchorage Daily News.
Jean Morgan Meaux lived in Alaska from 1971 to 1985, where she earned a master's degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage and did freelance writing for the Anchorage Daily News.
Foreword by Stephen Haycox
Preface: Jumping Off the End of the Earth
Note on Original Sources
PART I. ROMANTIC VOYAGE: A TOUR OF SOUTHEASTERN ALASKA
1. John Muir, Fort Wrangel, Alaska, August 8, 1879
2. Charles Hallock, A Great Day in Sitka
3. C. C. Hine, The Patriarch and His Little Detective
4. Septima M. Collis, The Alaska Barnum's Dancers
5. Charles M. Taylor, Jr., Riding the Rails through White Pass Canyon
PART II. UNTAMED ALASKA: INTO THE VAST UNKNOWN
6. Caroline Willard, Chilcat Mission, Haines, Alaska
7. Lieutenant Henry T. Allen, Living Upon the Country
8. H. W. Seton Karr, Escape from Icy Bay
9. John Bremner, Living Off the Enemy
10. Herbert L. Aldrich, Whaling with the Fleet of 1887
11. Harry de Windt, Perilous Crawl Up the Chilkoot
12. Captain William Abercrombie, One Night on Valdez Glacier
13. Robert Dunn, From Nowhere to Nowhere
14. Agnes Herbert, Invitation to a Card Game
15. Hudson Stuck, Mistakes at Sixty Below
PART III. INEXHAUSTIBLE OPTIMISM: THE MAD RUSH FOR GOLD
16. Ernest Ingersoll, Outfit for an Argonaut
17. Robert C. Kirk, Heartbreak on the White Pass
18. Mary E. Hitchcock, Ho for the Land of Gold!
19. J. D. Winchester, The Mosquitoes' Bugle on the Koyukuk
20. Josiah Edward Spurr, A Bureaucrat Comes to Call
21. Joseph Grinnell, Pluck on the Kowak
22. May Kellogg Sullivan, No Time for Sonatas
23. M. Clark, Playing for Stakes
24. Edward J. Devine, The Great White Silence
25. Addison M. Powell, The Alien God of Gold
26. Arthur Arnold Dietz, On the Other Side of Disenchantment Bay
27. John F. Stacey, Twenty-One Days from Rampart City
Epilogue: A Cabin on the Edge of the Forest
Chronology of Alaska History through 1910