Alaska Day

October 18 marks the 150th anniversary of the formal transfer of the Territory of Alaska from Russia to the United States. The land that became Alaska came into U.S. possession in 1867, when William Seward, secretary of state under President Andrew Johnson, negotiated a deal to buy the 586,000-square-mile area from Russia.  Alaska became the 49th state January 3, 1959, when President Dwight Eisenhower signed a proclamation admitting Alaska to the Union.

Our 49th state has some of the largest National Parks and Preserves in the country. The Federal government offers the following resources related to the history of Alaska.

Contested ground : an administrative history of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska, 1978-2001 discusses how the park came to be and the legal and administrative issues surrounding a park four times the size of Yellowstone National Park.

At work in the Wrangells: a photographic history, 1895-1966 looks at the transformation of the land and the people as the Wrangell Mountains were transformed by settlement. Lavishly illustrated, this work shows the beauty and the challenges of life in Alaska.

It is in Alaska that Asia and North America were joined via a land bridge. The Shared Beringian Heritage Program, a program of the National Park Service, seeks to recognize the history and cultural resources of Beringia, and works closely with the government of Russia to increase knowledge of the Bering Straits region. An early culture of the northwest Bering Sea and Archaeological sites of Kamchatka, Chukotka, and the Upper Kolyma, both originally published in Russian, use archeology to explore the lives and culture of the regions early inhabitants.

State of change: climate change in Alaska’s national park areas addresses climate change, what is happening in the parks, and the measures they are taking to raise awareness of it.

Alaska’s first national park, Mount McKinley National Park, is now known as Denali National Park and Preserve. Crown jewel of the north: an administrative history of Denali National Park and Preserve details the history of the park and the people who developed it.

Visit your local Federal depository library to see: Pipeline to Russia: the Alaska-Siberia Air Route in World War II During World War II Lend-Lease allowed the United States to provide its allies with military supplies and support. This book details how the United States supplied Russia with military airplanes.

8,000 planes were flown from U.S. factories to Great Falls and then on to Alaska where Soviet pilots then flew on to Krasnoyarsk in Siberia. The route became known at the Alaska-Siberia Air Route.

For more history on Alaska, here are a few publications available from the US Government Bookstore.

A Naknek Chronicle: Ten Thousand Years in a Land of Lakes and Rivers and Mountains of Fire which provides a firsthand account of surprising archaeological discoveries and tells a fascinating story, punctuated by volcanic eruptions and floods, pixies and small tools, strange newcomers and unexplained disappearances, and puzzled engravings on river pebbles.

Ublasaun, First Light: Inupiaq Hunters and Herders in the Early Twentieth Century, Northern Seward Peninsula, Alaska. This book contains essays and photographs describing the people and their environment in Alaska’s Seward Peninsula. The book also discusses the Bering Land Bridge.

The GPO Online Bookstore – Easy Access to Federal Publications


Click on the Links: For the free resources, click on the links above in the blog post.

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Cynthia Earman is a Cataloging & Metadata Librarian in the Library Services & Content Management division of the U.S. Government Publishing Office.

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