Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Old Alaska

Last week, Kentucky Gal blogged about an Alaskan novel she has recently read called Echo, by Bobby Hutchinson. Reading her blog, it brought to mind one of my favorite books about Alaska. It is called A Schoolteacher in Old Alaska, edited by Jane Jacobs.

I've always enjoyed pioneer stories, especially the women's diaries as they headed west in the wagon trains. This story is a little different. It is the diary of Hannah Breece. She was born in Scranton Pennsylvania in 1859. In 1904, at the age of forty-five, she accepted a government post in the territory of Alaska, to teach native school children in their small wilderness schools. In many ways, she was a woman ahead of her time, heading off into the wilderness alone, when most women still worked at home. She taught in Alaska for fifteen years, changing posts several times. She met many interesting people along the way, including gold prospectors, fur traders, tribal chiefs, as well as the many children and several Russian priests.

Hannah never put the book together herself, though she worked on it for many years. Before she died, she handed her diary and the unfinished manuscript to her niece Jane Jacobs. Jane put it aside for many years, but when she picked it up, she realized how unique her aunt's life had been. Determined to make the book the best she could, she traveled to Alaska to visit many of the places her aunt wrote about in her diary.

If you like reading about earlier times, I think you would enjoy this book. I've read it several times and never cease to be amazed at the courage, love and support this kind woman showed to the many people she met.

It is going to be warm here today, supposed to be 72 degrees! I'm looking forward to getting some painting finished and start on my spring cleaning.

Everyone have a great day!



  1. It sounds like a neat book. Finding time for me to read is a hassel. I will look around for it. Have a good one.

  2. I love pioneer stories too, esp. women diaries. This one sounds like a good one, I'll have to see if my library has it. Were up to 67 and it's still climbing, I'm loving it!!

  3. wow...that sounds like a wonderful book...I'm gonna look it up!!

  4. That sounds like a good read. I'm going to jot it down for future reference because I really enjoy reading about pioneer times as well. :)

  5. I love stories such as this...especially pioneer things. Thank you for sharing. I will try to find it.

    Have a wonderful week Rosemary!


  6. Looks like a pretty cool book! My mom had a book called (I think) Tisha, which was also about an Alaskan school teacher. That's what the kids called her, tisha, instead of teacher.

  7. I love to read about the days gone by. I'm going to add this to my "books I want to read" list.

  8. That sounds like a great read. I love books like this. Amazingly too, my ex-husband is a Breece. I wonder if they are related.