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Topics in Chronicling America - Seward's Folly - US Purchase of Alaska

Senators called it “reckless and wasteful,” the American people scoffed at the frozen wasteland- Secretary of State Seward’s purchase of Alaska from Russia was condemned and mocked by many Americans. However, Alaska would become a hub of natural resources and an important strategic position. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection ( Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.

Map of Alaska from The Minneapolis Journal, September 12, 1903, Page 11, Image 11.

Jump to: Sample Articles

Important Dates:

  • March 30, 1867: America signs a treaty with Russia, purchasing the Russian American territories for $7.2 million.
  • October 18, 1867: Alaska is formally transferred from Russian to American control at Sitka, Alaska.
  • July 14, 1868: The House of Representatives approves funding for the purchase of Russia by a vote of 113-48.
  • Spring 1899 The Nome Gold Rush begins, producing enough gold to vindicate Seward’s push to purchase Alaska.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Russian America, Seward, Treaty, Russia, Sitka, Walrussia, Gold, Nome, Alaska Appropriation.
  • It is important to use a specific date range if looking for articles for a particular event in order to narrow your results.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

  • "The Russian Treaty," The New York Tribune (New York, NY), April 09, 1867, Page 1, Image 1, col. 1.
  • "The Russian Treaty," The Charleston Daily News (Charleston, SC), April 12, 1867, Page 2, Image 2, col. 2.
  • "Value of Our New Acquisition," White Cloud Kansas Chief (White Cloud, KS), April 18, 1867, Page 2, Image 2, col. 1-2.
  • "What We Get By The Treaty," The Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, MO), May 03, 1867, Page 1, Image 1, col. 5.
  • "Alaska," The National Republican (Washington, DC), December 24, 1867, Page 2, Image 2, col. 1.
  • "This Whole Boundless," The Montana Post (Virginia City, MO), July 24, 1868, Page 6, Image 6, col. 1.
  • "Alaska," The National Republican (Washington, DC), July 15, 1868, Page 2, Image 2, col. 1.
  • "Golden Stories of Alaska," The Times (Washington, DC), July 15, 1899, Page 1, Image 1, col. 3.
  • "A Field of Treasure," Mohave County Miner (Mineral Park, AZ), September 30, 1899, Page 1, Image 1, col. 1.
  • "The Alaska of the Present Day," The Minneapolis Journal (Minneapolis, MN), September 12, 1903, Page 11, Image 11, col. 1-7.
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  August 9, 2016
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