Greetings from the Alaska Anthropological Association Conference!

AAA PosterLast week, National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) director Anastasia Tarmann and project coordinator Janey Thompson attended the 45th Annual Meeting of the Alaska Anthropological Association in Anchorage to spread the word about historic Alaska newspapers and progress on the project.

In addition to a poster, we prepared brochures that provided a brief overview of the project, a Chronicling America demonstration on a laptop computer, and unique microfilm bookmarks.

While talking to scholars at the table, many shared their experiences using Chronicling America to assist in their research, one of whom used the site to study changes in brand logos in advertisements over time. Additionally, a few attendees shared titles that we should consider adding to the project and offered to serve on the title selection committee.

In addition to “tabling”, we each had the opportunity to attend lectures given by conference attendees. These presentations of their papers related to the archaeology and anthropology of Alaska, with topics ranging from language revitalization, to museum exhibit design, to the excavation of hearth sites, to the affects of global warming on historic anthropological landmarks.

The Alaska Anthropological Association annual meeting gave us an opportunity to see what researchers and scholars throughout Alaska are studying, and how best our newspaper resources can assist them. Many thanks to all those who made the annual meeting possible!

AAA Conference

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Parts of a Newspaper: The Front Page

In this installment of the Parts of a Newspaper series, we’ll be looking at the part most central- the front page! Contributing to this post was city reporter for the Juneau Empire, Gregory Philson, who helped shed light on differences between century-old front pages to those of today.

Below is a front page from the former Alaska Daily Empire (now the Juneau Empire) almost exactly 100 years ago, in honor of our guest:Juneau Empire 100 years ago

When encountering an older front page, one of the most striking differences to the modern reader is its sometimes-chaotic layout, such as this one below from the January 5, 1923 issue of the Seward Gateway:

Where's the story

Based on this front page, there is no clear visual “path” to the story from its headline. The main headline likely functioned to draw readers into the issue, and to then send the readers in search of the story, while taking them to the other stories. Back then, headlines needed to print every story on its front page, due to the relatively high production costs. Newspapers today typically will have one “central” story surrounded by secondary ones, which may not be as important to that day.

Looking at headlines on a more micro level, an important, if sometimes overlooked, aspect of front page design is in its typography. In addition to the way words look through typefaces, kerning (letter spacing) and letting (spacing between leaders) matters greatly. Letting should allow the reader to not have to think about how the story is physically designed and to enable the content to be understood.

To demonstrate kerning, examine the headline below from the April 21, 1918 issue of The Seward Gateway Daily Edition and The Alaska Weekly Post:

Bad Kerning

Upon first glance, it is difficult to discern the meaning of the sentence when it looks like “DOUBLEMURDERATKENAI“. Being unable to understand a headline at at quick glance is a clear issue. If the reader does not know immediately what something says, they are less likely to want to read it. Moreover, the philosophy behind proper kerning is to make the words easily read by anyone, which is the objective of any newspaper. Readers simply cannot absorb information if the words themselves are not legible.

Front pages prioritize main stories that highlight conflicts (foreign wars and domestic disputes), or people and events of note. The front page can represent a microcosm of one day in history; readers can search newspaper databases like Chronicling America just by the front page of a specific title. Whether a newspaper represents a small town or a major city, its front page often reflects the people, places, incidents, and events its readers value. A front page of a newspaper reflects a singular moment in time.

Many thanks to our guest, Gregory Philson, and the Juneau Empire, for your time and insights!

 

On This Day In History: August 25

For those of us who don’t live in a year-round open season, fall bear season is almost upon us.  Today’s “On This Day In History” post serves as a reminder for all you hunters out there to stay safe and alert to avoid ending up like A.D. Burton during his hunting trip to Chickaloon Bay in 1906.

Article from the August 25, 1906 issue of the Seward Weekly Gateway.

“MAN HURT BY WOUNDED BEAR

Hunter Badly Used up but Life Saved Because Animal Fell Dead in Struggle

A. D. Burton was badly clawed and one of his arms was broken by a wounded she-bear into which he had put five shots, near Chickaloon bay last week.  The bear dropped dead a moment after she attacked him, and that fact alone saved his life.  He was brought to Sunrise for care.

Burton trailed the bear for a short distance and shot her.  She disappeared in the bushes and he thought she had gone.  He saw two cubs near by and started to capture them.  Unnoticed the wounded mother rushed upon him and was within a few feet before he saw her.  She struck him a violent blow with her paw, breaking one arm and knocking him down.  Another blow cut open his face and body, tearing his clothes into shreds; then the unfuriated beast fell dead across her enemy’s body.

Burton managed to make his way to the beach, where other men put him into a boat and took him to Sunrise.  Chickaloon bay, where the fight occurred, is a few miles below Hope, on Turnagain arm.”

Seward Weekly Gateway newspaper article titled Man Hurt By Wounded Bear

Man Hurt By Wounded Bear article, Seward Weekly Gateway, August 25, 1906

FIRST BATCH LIVE!

The first batch of Alaskan historical newspapers is live on Chronicling America – FREE for you to search.     CLICK HERE!

AlaskaDailyEmpire_1915DevelopmentIssue_ChronAm_Mill_Search_screenshot

The 1915 Development Number issue of The Alaska Daily Empire, shown in Chronicling America. Highlighted text represents a search for the term “mill”.

NOW AVAILABLE:

1,206 issues of The Alaska Daily Empire (1912-1918), 448 issues of the Douglas Island News (1898-1907), and 47 issues of The Thlinget (1908-1912).

These digitized newspaper pages are TEXT SEARCHABLE.  For tips on searching check out our previous post, Searching Chronicling America, or visit the Help page.

To start exploring Alaskan papers in Chronicling America CLICK HERE or visit Chronicling America and use the dropdown menu to select “Alaska”.

………

Happy Searching!

Opening Statement: The Thlinget

The Opening Statement series features the foreword or introduction given by  editors or publishers in the first issue of the paper addressing its readers. 

 

The Thlinget

The Thlinget, August 1908, Vol. 1, No. 1

Publisher: The Sitka Training School

“FOREWARD

Our Paper bears the name of The Thlinget not because this is the name of the largest tribe of Alaskan natives but because it means “the people” Although primarally a school paper The Thlinget will be constantly devoted to the welfare of all native people of Alaska.  With this introduction we are glad to make your acquaintance and earnestly hope that our acquaintance may develop into warm friendship.”

 

On This Day In History: August 9

The rush to Atlin Lake as reported in the August 9, 1898 issue of the Daily Alaskan.  

Few endeavors are as exciting still as the placer strikes of Alaska.  However, while we may remember aspects such as location, the riches (or the busts), and the often perilous conditions strikers endured for the chance of a lifetime, smaller yet telling details are often overlooked.

This cheeky article in the Daily Alaskan gives perspective into just that – the business men looking to profit off the strikers by packing up loads of whisky and tobacco, or the man who can’t quite seem to decide whether to take a chance and keeps changing his coat throughout the day as he changes his mind.

DailySkagway_18980809_AtlinLakeGoldStrikeRush

 

“THE MAD RUSH IS NOW OVER.

Few Left To-Day Except Those Unable to Leave Before.

NO DEFINITE NEWS YET.

Beyond What Was Given Last Evening, Which Rumor Tends to Confirm and to Exaggerate.

Packer Feero showed the gold he had dug on Pine creek, Atlin lake, with some amount of pride this morning, and appologized for not thinking of it yesterday.  That sounds very much like millionaire talk.  He was buttonholed by a number of would be millionaires, whose names appeared among the entries for the race to Atlin in last evening’s issue, but who were unable to get away until to-day.

There has come in no news to-day, confirmatory or otherwise of the strike on Atlin lake, but the city is filled with rumors.  The DAILY ALASKAN hoped to have a messenger out this afternoon, with reliable dcetails, but up to the time of going to press nothing had been heard from him.

The claim stakers may be said to have gone yesterday.  This was business man’s day.  The schemes for making money were exceedingly plentiful, but it seemed as if impossible to mention a single enterprise that somebody had not already started in with and believed he had a cinch on.  So far as we can learn there were at least seven who each packed in a stock of general merchandise; one man took a supply of whiskey and two others knew they could buy whiskey at Log Cabin or Bennett and save the freight; three cooking stoves were sent out in the wee sma hours of this morning, and one man staked his fortune on one horse and one-hundred and fifty pounds of tobacco and cigars.  Brother Watson is going to have a “pudding.”  He will have his real estate shingle out by the time crowd gets there, and will sell corner lots as fast as he can make change.  Brother Church has gone to, but he took in an empty coal oil can with him, with the ambition to scoot over new territory and fill it with nuggets without bothering to locate anywhere.  He has read books on mining.

The mining fever has spread right to the end of the wharf, and agent Twitchell has caught it.  This afternoon he was studying how to affix wings on to his bicycle, so that he might go in to the new diggings from Log Cabin.

Thomas Whitten put on a blue sweater and started for the mines this afternoon.  He took his surveying instruments with him and has the townsite fever.

Edward Foreman struck the trail for Atlin this afternoon.

Dr. Bryant did not know exactly what to do today.  He changed his opinion and his coat several times.  Early in the morning he sported a mackinaw, and of course he was going to hit the trail.  But a little later he was strutting around in a very elaborate smoking jacket, as an indication that he would not leave Mrs. Bryant for all the gold fields in the new mining district.  In the afternoon he sported a light yachting coat, showing that his thoughts would a roving go, whether he would or no.  An extra will be published this evening if Dr. Bryant’s further changes are sufficient to warrant it.

Harry Lane Meyers, the safe expert, was called into the First Bank of Skaguay a few days ago to change the combination.  He did so and gave it to Cashier Bullen.  The strike excitement crowded the combination out of Mr. Bullen’s head last night and this morning he had to send for Mr. Meyers to open the safe for him.

Mr Everest did not get away until nearly 4 o’clock this afternoon.  He put the delay on his wife, sarcastically suggesting that she was not satisfied with the set of the evening dress in which she will make her debut in Taku society.  It was, in fact, the large business Mr. Everest has been doing in outfitting that caused the delay.  They started for Bennett on the famous grey horses, and from there will go by boat.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Smith also left this afternoon.

Boniface Brannick was complimented on Sunday, and deservingly so, one beine one of the best-dressed men in town.  At four o’clock this morning he donned a blue flannel shirt.  It destroyed his natty appearance, but it looked like business.  Toward noon he restlessly kicked his heels in front of his famous hotel and began to sprout the grey hairs of worry.  He could not make up his mind whether to be a blue-shirted prospector or a boiled-shirted hotel proprietor.  He hated like Hoboken to miss the chance of going to the new diggings, but then– the next steamers up were sure to crowd his hotel.  As we go to press he retired to a quiet corner to toss up.  Then he mounted his mountain stage with Mr. Hverst, Mr. Whitten and others and went.”