Ordinary and Extraordinary Lives of Alaskan Women, 1880-1960


These photographs reflect both intentional and unintentional efforts to record a moment in time. Some are posed, others are candid moments. Collectively, they reveal women’s experience in Alaska history to be a patchwork of labor and leisure, innovation and convention, isolation and companionship, formal and informal, tradition and modernity, individual and collective. Photographs of Native Alaskan women, Russian women, and Anglo women reveal these dichotomies, as do images of professional and working class women. The people in these photographs depict the ordinary and extraordinary lives of Alaskan women.

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LaTouche, 1918. “Girl packers” at a herring saltery, part of the seasonal fishing industry labor force.
[National Geographic Society. Katmai Expeditions photographs, HMC-0186]

Aboard the SS Denali, 1934. Even the Alaska Steamship Co. needed nurses aboard their vessels. This unidentified nurse poses for a passenger’s camera.
[Christine M. McClain papers, HMC-0370]

Sitka, ca. 1883. Miss Matthews and numerous other women came to Alaska as missionaries.
[Fred Wildon Fickett papers, HMC-0108]


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All photographs taken from the holdings of the
UAA/APU Consortium Library’s Archives and Special Collections Department.

Introduction :: Ordinary and Extraordinary Lives of Alaskan Women, 1880-1960

© 2005
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