Author Archives: Helen Hegener

About Helen Hegener

Author and publisher, Northern Light Media and Alaskan History Magazine.

Sept-Oct 2020 Issue

Sept-Oct, 2020:

• Wells Fargo & Co. in Alaska: Freighting in the Far North

• McGreely’s Express: 1898 Private Post Between Dyea and Skaguay

• Roadhouses of Alaska: A Good Meal and a Warm Place to Sleep

• Ray Mala: Alaska’s Hollywood Star

• The Alaska Club: A Seattle Social Club for Traveling Alaskans

• James Wickersham’s A Bibliography of Alaskan Literature, 1724-1924

• Special Feature: Ernest de Koven Leffingwell, Mapping the Arctic Coast

Order from Northern Light Media

Digital Edition at Issuu

New Articles at issuu

The January-February, 2020 issue of Alaskan History Magazine included some great articles, including the history of The Chilkoot Trail, a biography of ‘Baldy of Nome’ author Esther Birdsall Darling, the story of the 1915 Tanana Chiefs Conference, the history behind the Davidson Ditch northeast of Fairbanks, a biography of the Bard of the Yukon, Robert Service, and the story of Ella Higginson’s travels and authorship of her book on Alaska! All of these stories are now available to read free online at issuu, the premier online digital magazine site!

July-August, 2020

The July-August, 2020 issue is now available to read online at Issuu, and print copies are available for adding to your library collection. Click here to order a print edition.

This July-August issue of Alaskan History Magazine features the following articles:

Septima M. Collis, author of A Woman’s Trip to Alaska, about her historically informative voyage through Alaska’s Inside Passage in 1890.

• Gavriil Andreevich Sarychev, a Russian sea captain who mapped much of the Aleutians. 

• Pioneer Farmers of the Matanuska Valley, the hardy souls who blazed the way in agriculture for south central Alaska.

• SS Dora, the doughty little sailing ship which carried mail, freight and passengers through some of Alaska’s roughest waters for close to half a century.

• C. C. Georgeson, the Special Agent in charge of developing Alaska Agricultural Experiment Stations in Sitka, Kodiak, Rampart, Copper Center and elsewhere.

• Bicycles in Frontier Alaska, telling how two-wheeled adventurers rode in summer and winter, on local trips or journeying across the territory.

Special Feature in this issue: Gov. George Parks’ 1928 Airplane Tour of Alaska

Digital Stories

oie_10223258xrmJMT1xThe digital magazine website Issuu provides a great tool for sharing the individual stories in issues of Alaskan History Magazine, and now there are at least two stories from every issue formatted for easy reading on any device and sharing with your friends, or through your favorite social media. Check them out here – just click on the box labeled ‘Show Stories Inside’ and the articles from every issue will appear!






May-June 2020 cover

Editorial from the May-June, 2020 issue:

We’ve been here before… The 1918-19 Influenza Pandemic

[This issue includes an article about the 1918-19 pandemic in Alaska, free to read online at the premier digital magazine site, Issuu]

The past few weeks have been unusual in our lifetime, but not unprecedented in the history of Alaska. As most are aware, we’ve been here before, if not literally, then certainly historically. The influenza pandemic of 1918-19 was utterly catastrophic, wiping out entire communities and leaving so many orphaned children that facilities were overrun and struggled to care for them all. The devastation was described by Eva Greenslit Anderson, Ph.D. in her book about the venerable Dr. Joseph Romig, titled Dog Team Doctor, published by Caxton Printers, Caldwell, Idaho, in 1940: 

“The fight at Bethel lasted all summer. During six weeks of germ warfare, there were seventy-two deaths at the mission alone. Everyone in all Alaska was sick, or so it seemed. A census taken soon after revealed that of the 3,500 who had lived in that section, 1,500 had died. Half of the natives on the lower Yukon passed out of the picture that summer, too. Tied to the mission by the specter that haunted the place, Dr. Romig was unable to travel down the river, so the lower Kuskokwim natives suffered most. In one village below Bethel, where before the epidemic this doctor had counted 121 natives, not twenty were left.” 

Alaska recovered from the 1918-19 pandemic, of course, and we will recover from this current scourge as well. But just as in the past, the disease will leave an indelible mark on us all. This time will become a reference point in our lives, just as other disasters, both natural and man-made, have assumed their unwelcome places on the ever-marching timeline of history. 

The May-June issue includes an article about the 1918-19 pandemic in Alaska, free to read online at the premier digital magazine site, Issuu:

Screen Shot 2020-08-04 at 7.58.20 AM



Free Digital Issues

seven-issuesWhen I started Alaskan History Magazine I thought it would be nice to offer a digital edition which could be read online or downloaded, because there are a few publications I enjoy reading in a digital format, and I thought it would be a nice added benefit to a subscription. And for the most part, it was. Then the pandemic hit, print subscriptions stopped, and with the loss of income which made print subscriptions too difficult to continue, I thought digital subscriptions might fill the void. It seemed like a reasonable assumption, and my early attempts were promising. But then I tried to make it work smoothly…. and it wouldn’t.

I am a writer, and a historian, and I have never been technologically-minded. I can hold my own most of the time, but I expect technology to work right, to do what I expect when I follow the instructions, and to be somewhat easy to figure out. Not simple, because life rarely is, but I don’t want to spend hours upon hours learning skills I will probably never use again just to get a bit of electronic data to cooperate and then find out that no matter what I do, it refuses to comply. My dad was a computer systems analyst, the guy they called when computers were acting wonky, and one of his favorite phrases was GIGO, Garbage In, Garbage Out. But what if you put the right stuff in and still get garbage, time after time after time? I would much rather spend that time researching history and writing about it than trying to finesse an answer out of tech support.

So, after more than a month of futzing with the technology, thinking I had it figured out and then being proven wrong again and again, I give up. I have removed the paywall from the magazine at Issuu, and all of the issues are available to read there free. I don’t know if this is a wise move or not, but it makes the most sense to me right now. Enjoy the digital magazine, buy a print copy or two if you want to, and rest assured that I will be happy just to get back to my research and writing!

Free Digital


Midsummer Update

May-June 2020 coverThe May-June issue of Alaskan History Magazine finally shipped to subscribers last week, several weeks late due to the coronavirus, but my goal was to prevent a lapse in issue numbers which might cause confusion later. Having published another magazine long before this one, I know the importance of maintaining volume and number sequences when back issues are available. (Have you ever tried to find the Traveling Wilburys second album?)

J-A 2020The May-June issue was not only late in delivery from the printer, but then it was late being delivered by the post office, which threw my schedule for the digital issue off. I’d planned on releasing the issue digitally on July 25th, but because the issues were not mailed until the 24th I have rescheduled the May-June digital edition for July 30th, and the July-August digital edition will be released on August 10th. The September-October digital issue will be uploaded on September 1st and the November-December issue November 1st. (Still with me?)

There will be some changes to the magazine beginning with the July-August issue – check out the new cover – but it will still be 48 pages, full color, ad-free, and available in print for $10.00 (postage paid, first class) from this website, my Northern Light Media website, or Amazon. I will accept advance orders for the print edition of the July-August issue, more on that later.

Thanks for reading!



To Stay the Course

supposing a treeThe Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ‘stay the course’ as “to continue with a process, effort, etc., even though it is difficult. ” 

Wikipedia: “”Stay the course” is a phrase used in the context of a war or battle meaning to pursue a goal regardless of any obstacles or criticism.”

The Free Dictionary: “To persevere with as much determination, energy, or fortitude as one can….”

When the Covid-19 pandemic unceremoniously and without warning stopped all subscriptions and single issue orders to Alaskan History Magazine, I was certain there was no way I could continue publishing. With zero income, it would be impossible to print issues and buy postage for mailing. It took a few weeks of considering the situation and weighing my options, but I think I’ve found a workable solution: Digital magazines.

Alaskan History Magazine has been digital from the beginning; the first three issues were uploaded to issuu and are still available there to read free. The subsequent issues are available for $2.50 each, or $12.00 for an annual subscription. I will be focusing on how to utilize the digital publishing platform issuu to the best advantage, and to provide for downloading, sharing, and optimizing the digital magazine, online and offline.

May-June 2020 coverWith the singular exception of libraries, printed copies of the magazine will no longer be available by subscription, but they can still be ordered as single issues; more on that later. The long-awaited May-June issue will be in the mail by July 20th, several weeks late but hopefully worth the delay. It will be the final issue mailed to subscribers, and a letter will be included offering options for ending the current subscriptions.

I will be uploading the May-June magazine to the issuu website on July 25th, after the print version has reached subscribers, and I will upload the July-August issue on August 1st. After that each issue will be back on schedule to upload bimonthly, i.e., on September 1st, November 1st, January 1st, etc.

I hope this new publishing plan will prove workable and allow Alaskan History Magazine to continue providing outstanding articles, photographs, and other content on the north country for many years to come.




Suspension of Publication

I am suspending publication of Alaskan History Magazine for an indeterminate length of time.

With only one year of publication, Alaskan History Magazine has been too fragile to survive the catastrophic impact of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. When the economy shut down, so did subscriptions, single issue orders, and even book orders for the magazine’s parent company, Northern Light Media. The last order of any type was received in early March, and without orders the business simply cannot survive. In addition to the cessation of orders, the printing of the May-June issue has been delayed by several weeks, and as of this writing it still has not left the printer (the order, which normally takes 10 days to 2 weeks, was placed in April).

This is hard, but I know there are many other, more important businesses having a much harder time right now, and they need your support and encouragement, and your business if possible, much more than this magazine does. If possible, I will resume publication at some point, but if not…

Suspending publication was not an easy decision to make, and it has taken me about three weeks to reconcile the idea. I am very proud of the magazine I created, and I have been extremely fortunate to receive the support of an outstanding artist and some superb writers. Close to a dozen libraries have subscribed, and many bookstores, gift shops, and other venues have expressed interest in selling the magazine. This summer was going to be an exciting time of expanding and developing the business, but then the bottom fell out of everything, for everyone.

I will be mailing a letter to subscribers offering options for prorating their remaining subscriptions. The back issues will remain available on my Northern Light Media website and at Amazon, but no new issues will be produced in the foreseeable future.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Alaskan History Magazine. Wherever the road ahead takes us, remember that we are writing tomorrow’s history every day.

TJ quote


Delayed M/J Issue

MJ 2020 page 1The May-June, 2020 issue of Alaskan History Magazine is currently at the printer, but with delays in production and potential delays in delivery, the issue will possibly not arrive until around the first of June.

The digital edition will be available at issuu by May 10th. If you are a subscriber or have purchased a single issue and would like to access the digital magazine, simply send me an email and I will return the access code to read or download that issue.

The May-June, 2020 issue of Alaskan History Magazine features articles on the Matanuska Colony Project, the 1918 influenza epidemic, an unusual stone storehouse built in 1896 in Hyder, a pioneering packhorse trip to the upper reaches of Kluane Lake, Stephen Birch and the Kennecott Copper Company, and the wide-ranging travels of Archdeacon Hudson Stuck, who ministered via dog team and riverboat across the northern reaches of the Alaska territory.

Production of the July-August issue is underway, and my plan is to have publication and mailing back on schedule to arrive in mailboxes the first week of July.

MJ 2020 ToC


Digital Editions

Digital sub formDigital subscriptions to Alaskan History Magazine are available at Issuu, the digital magazine electronic publishing platform which was named one of Time magazine’s 50 Best Websites.

Single issues are $2.50, a digital subscription is $12.00 for one year (6 issues). All digital issues are free to print subscribers (contact for access code).

The first three issues of Alaskan History Magazine are available to read online, download, or share via email, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. The first three digital issues are free to view; issues after Sept-Oct, 2019 are available only to print or digital subscribers, and those who purchase the digital or corresponding print issue of the magazine.


3 Digital issues