Alaska’s first newspapers…

September 24, 2009 by  
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The very first newspapers published in a state or territory–particularly those west of the Allegheny Mountains, have always been of interest to me and I suspect others as well.  To share the wealth of information found John C. Oswald’s “Printing In The Americas” I will, from time to time, reflect upon the first newspaper or newspapers in many of the United States. Alaska’s interesting history will be first.

Alaska_TimesThe first periodical issued for distribution in Alaska was in handwritten form. It was a monthly “published” for the information of a force of men laying a telegraph line connecting Alaska with Siberia. Its name was the “Esquimeaux” (we now spell ‘Eskimo’), begun Oct. 14, 1866 and continued for twelve numbers, ten done at Libbysville, Port Clarence, Russian America, and two at Camp Libby, Plover Bay, Eastern Siberia. The completion of the Atlantic cable having put an end to the telegraph project, the manuscript of the “Esquimeaux” was taken to San Francisco & issued in printed form beginning Oct. 31, 1867.

The first formal newspaper which circulated in Alaska was actually printed in San Francisco beginning March 1, 1868, shortly after the purchase of Alaska by the United States, titled the “Alaska Herald“. It was semi-monthly & printed in both Russian & English.

The “Alaska Times” started at Sitka on May 1, 1869 and continued there until 1870 when it was moved to Seattle where–according to Oswald–just two numbers were published. But our inventory shows at least 20 numbers having been published in Seattle.

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2 Responses to “Alaska’s first newspapers…”

  1. Debra on January 5th, 2016 9:56 pm

    Do you know anyone that would buy 3 newspapers and 1 paper magi me from me I have the July 21, 1929 Lunar Eagle Docks, July
    21, 1929 Man walks in the moon and 1975 Japan finds Alaska, plus the first addition of “The Luniker Gazzett” newspaper magi me. Sent from my iPhone. I inherited them and they are mint condition still preserved in a box that my grandfather have me. Please let me know if you or anyone you know might be interested. Thank you Debra Miller

  2. GuyHeilenman on January 11th, 2016 2:15 pm

    Hello Debra,

    Feel free to send a list of titles and dates to Tim Hughes at He will tell you what he thinks.

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