Seward’s Day is usually held on the last Monday of March, so I’m going to wish you a happy Seward’s Day today!
On March 30, 1867, the United States purchased Alaska from Russia. William H. Seward was the person chiefly responsible for that action, understanding the territory’s natural resources and geographical location would be important in our Pacific interests. He was the Secretary of State for President Johnson at the time; before that, he served under Lincoln and was a state senator, governor of New York and U.S. senator. The State Department has a nice biography of him at https://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/people/seward-william-henry.
Alaskans named a town after Seward and many see him as kind of a founding father. Of course, the relationship between the United States and the Alaska Natives, the first people here, has been complex and not always a positive one. So our view of Seward is also not easily summed up in ten words or less. But the anniversary, especially this year’s150th or sesquicentennial, is notable. Here are a few events:
Music Without Borders: A Musical Journey into the Cultural Heritage of Alaska, April 1st in Sitka
Polar Bear Garden exhibit, through September 17, at the Anchorage Museum
Emanuel Leutze’s painting Signing of the Alaska Treaty is traveling to different venues around the state through October
Learn more at the Alaska Historical Society website at