Cover

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Title Page

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p. iii

Copyright Page

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p. iv

Table of Contents

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p. vii

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Prologue: Voyage to Brobdingnag

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pp. 1-7

Alaska was an idea in the minds of Europeans long before they had touched its shores. It was a fantasy before it had a name. (Ages of indigenous names were as yet unknown.) Previous to its becoming an American territory, the north was a space to dream over. And at this beginning mouth of the Kolyma River in the Asian Arctic through a strait later...

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Introduction

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pp. 8-17

In Darkest Alaska charts the experiences of travelers and tourists along the southeastern Alaskan coast and interior from the 1867 purchase through the Klondike gold rush. Focusing on the largely ignored late nineteenth-century Alaskan travel literature, this work places several decades of tourist activity at the center of late nineteenth-century ...

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Chapter 1. Continental Drift

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pp. 18-45

‘‘Less is known today of Central Alaska than of Central Africa,’’ noted Charles Erskine Scott Wood during an 1877 reconnaissance of the Inside Passage. Wood went north to climb mountains, but also ‘‘to acquire information about the unknown districts lying nearest the coast, with a view to future explorations.’’1 Acting as a military escort to Chicago adventurer Charles Taylor, the pair attempted an early ascent ...

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Chapter 2. Alaska with Appleton’s, Canada by Baedeker’s

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pp. 46-68

In 1889, Rudyard Kipling suffered a breakdown. ‘‘My head has given out,’’ Kipling wrote in a letter, ‘‘and I am forbidden to work and I am to go away somewhere . . . I can do nothing to save myself from breaking up now and again,’’ admitting to thoughts of suicide.1 His doctors advised a sea voyage and extended travel to ease the strain of his work life. Arriving in San Francisco after a rough Pacific crossing, Kipling could only ...

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Chapter 3. Scenic Bonanza

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pp. 69-112

Gazing at the green archipelago from the deck rail of the steamer Queen, Minister Stephen Merritt stared into the ‘‘inky blackness . . . the water deep, blue and clear.’’ He had found respite from the rigors of his city life in the ‘‘matchless scenes of indescribable beauty . . . the islands, the coves, fjords . . . strangeness and beauty; the calmness ...

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Chapter 4. Frontier Commerce

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pp. 113-142

Not all travelers headed north pursuing the same scenic rewards. Though the leisure set exerted its persuasive powers over the representation of the north, and the transportation companies and advertisers marketed a particular regional aesthetic, the North and its meanings were broader and more complex than the prevailing sentiment. As powerful individuals ...

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Chapter 5. Totem and Taboo

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pp. 143-183

When Stephen Merritt, recovering from his depressive episodes, reached Wrangell in July 1892, he relished the chance to investigate ‘‘this strange, and to me, intensely wonderful place.’’ The town seemed to have changed little since the American takeover. The occasional boom of a gold discovery somewhere in the interior crowded the outpost, but it soon fell back ...

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Chapter 6. Juneau’s Industrial Sublime

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pp. 184-211

Out of Fort Wrangell, steamers churned northward another hundred nautical miles to the mining center of Juneau. First west into Frederick Sound and then turning northwestward into the nearly seventy-mile stretch of the Stephens Passage, the ships carried their cargoes of tourists, miners, mail, groceries, and mining supplies to the booming village, site of ...

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Chapter 7. Orogenous Zones: Glaciers and the Geologies of Empire

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pp. 212-257

Leaving the smoking, clanking mine operations at Juneau, travelers returned to the slate dark sea and coastal wilds. Steaming across the Lynn Canal, around the north end of Admiralty Island, and west through Icy Strait, the vessels carried their sightseeing cargoes to Glacier Bay. In their thoughts the travelers shifted from the technological machine culture of the massive ...

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Conclusion: Inside Passage

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pp. 258-277

Alaska steamer excursions made a final stopover at Sitka. The regular mail ships remained for a full twenty-four hours, but the tour ships made shorter visits. ‘‘Sitka faces full upon the sea, overlooking a harbor that is dotted as full of small islands as a pepper box is with holes,’’ wrote one visitor of the island’s position.1 The Sitka stop usually came at

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Epilogue: Out of Alaska

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pp. 278-284

In August 1897 John White tossed up a half-crown to decide whether to book passage to Canada or Africa. Another restless Brit like Edward Glave, White worked as a clerk for a Fleet Street firm in London. He first found escape with the Greek foreign legion, fighting in the Greco- Turkish War of 1897. Returning to England, his ‘‘fate had been decided ...

Notes

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pp. 285-327

Index

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pp. 329-344

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 345-348

Books take the shape of one’s experiences and reflect the places where one has lived. This one is no exception. I first went to Alaska the day after graduating from high school. On that first venture, I climbed Mt. McKinley—Denali—during a forty-day traverse from the mining camp of Petersburg on the mountain’s south side to the park road at Wonder ...