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Coffee & Collections: The Sesquicentennial of Seward’s Folly

January 2016


Signing the Treaty for the Purchase of Alaska, 1867, from the painting by Emanuel Leutze, ASL-P62-061.

On this Saturday morning, Wayne Jensen will present a history of the state legislator, governor and US Senator from New York, William H. Seward, who was appointed Secretary of State by Abraham Lincoln and was instrumental as Lincoln’s “right hand man” during the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. Seward also negotiated the Treaty of Cession with Russia which brought Alaska, then known as Russian America, into the United States. The year 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of the 1867 Treaty, and efforts are being made to erect a statue of Seward in the Court Plaza. Jensen's presentation includes the process of creating the statue, an introduction of the Ketchikan artists Dave and Judy Rubin and the events leading to the dedication on July 3rd 2017. To dig deeper into the topic of the treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska, click on the link below to access a Library of Congress Web Guide containing many links to primary documents, curriculum materials and bibliographies.

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