Photo Credit: Frank Kovalchek

Women of the Kenai

Women of the Kenai

Swd Com Library

Seward Community Library

Too often, when thinking about the early days of the Kenai, men tend to dominate the landscape. Needless to say, although fewer in number, women fashioned huge contributions to this new land. Among these were Mary Lowell of Aluutiq and Russian descent– homesteader of Resurrection Bay, Nellie Lawing– nationally known entrepreneur, Syliva Sexton– local business woman, and others.


MARY LOWELL: HOMESTEADER

Slide4
SEWARD’S FIRST LADY: MARY LOWELL

Trails Across Time: Pg 72
Relevance: ***

Before there was a Seward, there was the Lowell homestead. Mary arrived, pregnant, to Resurrection Bay with her husband and her children in 1884. Although Frank would later abandon the family, Mary continued to raise her children and her grandchildren in this wilderness.

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MOUNT ALICE: Mary Lowell

This is Now and That was Then:  Episode 1:
Relevance: *

Although the focus of this episode is upon the development of Seward, this episode provides insight to the life of original homesteader: Mary Lowell, a Russian / Aluttiq native and two her daughters, Alice and Eva.

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NPS:  THE LOWELL FAMILY AND ALASKA’S FUR TRADE INDUSTRY

Relevance:  **

Provides insight into the role of women, specifically Native women, in the lives of men in the fur industry. The article pivots around the life of Frank Lowell and his wives.


ALASKA NELLIE: ENTREPRENEUR

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A MAGNIFICENT BEDLAM: ALASKA NELLIE

The Spaces Between:  Pgs 113-123
Relevance: ***

This story details the story of Nellie Lawings transformation into the beloved, cantankerous show woman– Alaska Nellie — living on the shores of Kenai Lake.

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ALASKA NELLIE: A PICTURE IS WORTH A 1000 WORDS

Inquiry Based Curriculum: Chapter 8
Relevance: ***

In this lesson students analyze photos of Alaska Nellie to interpret how she transformed through her life. The second half of lesson presents a photo of her for students to build a fictional, yet historically accurate, narrative.

Slide4
ALASKA NELLIE’S STORY

Trails Across Time: Pgs 68-69
Relevance: ***

This article describes Nellie Lawing: Business woman, homesteader, heroine, showman, and one hearty outdoors person.

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 ALASKA DIGITAL ARCHIVES

Relevance: ***

Photos: Provides a collection of primary source images of Alaska Nellie in Seward

 


OTHERS

Slide4
THE RICHES OF POLLY RENNER

Trails Across Time Pg 55
Relevance: **

Polly Kalashnikoff was of Dena’ina and Russian descent. She later married prospector John Renner and became partners (and name sake) in the lucrative Polly Mining Company (1890’s).

 Slide6
SYLVIA SEXTON

The Spaces Between Pgs 25-31
Relevance: ***

Sylvia Sexton lived most of her life in Seward, becoming not only a shrewd business woman, but also an important photographer within the territory of Alaska.

Slide6

MRS. HERRING PETE

The Spaces Between:  Pgs 197-207
Relevance: ***

Her name was Josephine Sather, but everyone knew her as Mrs. Herring Pete. For 40 years she lived on a remote island in the Gulf of Alaska. She loved the lifestyle, hardwork, and isolation so when her first husband died, she married Pete Sather, otherwise known as Herring Pete, so that she might continue to live her life in a land she loved.

Slide6
 SEWARD’S GOOD TIME GIRLS

The Space Between:  Pgs 38-59
Relevance: ***

This chapter takes an academic look at the social, political, and economic implications of the Seward Red Light District. The article explains how The Line was not only tolerated, but even respected by the general population. Pages 43-51 details Carol Erwin’s life as a self described hobo, madam, successful business woman, and painter.

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NPS: REDLIGHT DISTRICT ETHNOHISTORY OF SEWARD, AK

Relevance: ***

A detailed history of The Line including maps and individual womens’ stories. This source provides an alternative and colorful story of Seward’s history.