Doris Marian Barnes

Doris Marian Barnes

Businesswoman and Politician

Doris Marian Barnes (1891-1977) was born in Portland, Oregon, Doris attended Portland Academy and the University of Oregon. She married her husband, Franklin, in 1912, and the couple settled in Wrangell, Alaska, the same year.

At a time when the Alaska Territory was dominated by men in industry and government, Doris established herself as a businesswoman and politician. She owned and operated her own business, Brown Insurance Agency, and served in several local and territorial positions, including Mayor of Wrangell (1946-1948, 1960-1962), member of the Territorial House of Representatives 1st District (1949-52), and member of the Alaska Territorial Senate 1st District (1953-1956). As a Republican representative, Doris also served as member of the Republican National Committee from Alaska Territory (1955-1957), Alternate Delegate to the Republican National Convention from Alaska (1960), Vice-Chair of the Alaska Republican Party (1960-1962), and Presidential Elector for Alaska (1968).

In November 1949, Doris gave a statement to the House of Representatives, Special Subcommittee on Alaskan Problems, regarding the elimination of salmon traps in Alaskan waters. Although not a fisherman herself, she had experience with the effects overharvesting: “I think conservation is the main thing to be interested in––after that, economy. It Is really conservation, because if there are no fish there is nothing.”

Doris passed in 1977 at the age of 85 in Everett, Washington.

Did you know Doris and have a story you’d like to share about her? We’d love to know more about her and about the powerful women in your life. Share your images and stories with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging us (@anchoragemuseum and #ExtraToughWomenAK) and we’ll add them to our ongoing digital curation project. Stay tuned for new posts and in the meantime, be sure to check out the exhibition, now open.

Photo credits: Anchorage Museum, Steve McCutcheon Collection, B1990.14.5.Pol.23.2 and B1990.14.5.Cent.23.1

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