A third-generation Alaskan, I am author of the “Aunt Phil’s Trunk” Alaska history series. The series developed after I inherited newspaper clips, research and rare Alaska history books from my Alaska historian aunt, Phyllis Downing Carlson, who died in 1993.
Aunt Phil wrote many articles about Alaska’s past for national newspapers and magazines during her lifetime. And she won national awards for many of them.
Once I saw the quality of her work, I knew I had to bring them to light for the world.
I returned to college to get the tools needed for the big project ahead. I graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2003 with honors and a degree in journalism and a minor in history.
The series was born as a weekly newspaper column in The Anchorage Chronicle, July 2002. The short stories soon became one of the most popular features in the paper.
After receiving such an enthusiastic response to tales of Alaska’s days gone by, I turned my attention to developing the state’s history from thousands of years ago – when the Native people first arrived in the country – up to the present.
Then I searched through the archives of museums, libraries and universities around the country to find historical photographs to help tell the stories. I found so many photographs and wonderful stories that my plan for one book has turned into five volumes. And my desire to share Alaska’s history has turned into a passion.
Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4 – released in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 – are flying off shelves of both major and independent bookstores, as well as gift shops and chain stores across Alaska.
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