The Harriman Alaska Expedition of 1899

Scientists, Naturalists, Artists and Others Document America’s Last Frontier


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About the Book

In 1899, one of America’s wealthiest men assembled an interdisciplinary team of experts—many of whom would become legendary in their fields—to join him, entirely at his expense, on a voyage to the largely unknown territory of Alaska. The Harriman Expedition remains unparalleled in its conception and execution. This book follows the team closely: where they went, what they did, and what they learned—including finding early evidence of glacial retreat, assessing the nature and future of Alaska’s natural resources, making important scientific discoveries, and collecting an astonishing collection of specimens. A second thread involves the lives and accomplishments of the members of the party, weaving biographical strands into the narrative of the journey and the personal experiences they shared. This is the first comprehensive, scholarly treatment of the Harriman Alaska Expedition since the 1980s. It features the diaries, letters home, and post-Expedition writings, including unpublished autobiographies, generated by the members of the party.

About the Author(s)

John J. Michalik’s working career included positions as an author and senior editor with one of the nation’s largest law book publishers; fifteen years at the Washington State Bar Association, where he served as Executive Director and CEO; a stint at the University of Washington School of Law, where he was Assistant Dean; and a tenure from 1995 to 2010 as Executive Director/CEO of the international Association of Legal Administrators. He is the author of over 200 published articles, annotations, and essays on legal, leadership, and management topics. He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Bibliographic Details

John J. Michalik

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 280
Bibliographic Info: 46 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8423-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4325-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Introduction 3
Prologue: The Rise of E.H. Harriman 7

Part I. A Ship’s Company
One—A Vacation Becomes an Expedition 23
Two—Riding the Rails to the Pacific Northwest 42
Three—The Land to Which They Were Going 55

Part II. On the Beaten Path
Four—The Byways of the Inside Passage 69
Five—Gold Rush Country 81
Six—The Big Ice-Mountain Bay 88
Seven—A Touch of Culture and a Mix of Cultures 99

Part III. The Route Less Traveled
Eight—Yakutat Bay and Enchantment 111
Nine—Prince William Sound and Discovery 118
Ten—Kodiak Island and Celebration 130
Eleven—Into the Snarling Bering Sea 141
Twelve—The Farthest Points 151

Part IV. Homeward Bound
Thirteen—Familiar Territory 167
Fourteen—A Village Silent as the Tomb 175
Fifteen—Never to Be Assembled Again 184

Part V. In the Wake of the Expedition
Sixteen—For the Benefit of Others 193
Seventeen—The Guests: Accomplishments and Legacies 202
Eighteen—The Harrimans: Notoriety and Achievement 213

Appendix—Expedition Members and Committees 225
Source Notes 231
Bibliography 259
Index 265

Book Reviews & Awards

“An extremely well-researched, thorough account…a welcome addition not only to the record of the expedition’s achievements but to understanding their consequences in American and Alaskan history and life.”—Anchorage Daily News