Come to know the true North
on loan from the National Archives
Treasury warrant for purchase of Alaska (Treasury draft 9759) [cancelled check], August 1, 1869.
General Records of the United States Government
Alaska Purchase Treaty, 1867, American Original Copy
Photo by Heritage Images. Courtesy of Getty Images, Hulton Archive.
Russia used stray dogs for space exploration during the Cold War when competition was fierce between the United States and the Soviet Union. Alaska and Siberia both claim iconic dog breeds, including huskies, malamutes and mixed breeds. Each has its famous members, like Balto, who led the 1925 serum run to Nome and Laika, the Soviet space dog who launched aboard the Soviet space craft Sputnik 2.
Photo by Bettmann. Courtesy Getty Images; year unknown.
Balto was a Siberian husky known for leading a sled dog relay team during the 1925 serum run to save Nome from a diphtheria epidemic. Alaska and Siberia both claim iconic dog breeds, including huskies, malamutes and mixed breeds. Each has its famous members, like Balto, who led the 1925 serum run to Nome and Laika, the Soviet space dog who launched aboard the Soviet space craft Sputnik 2.
Text on postcard reads: “International Geophysical Year 1957–1958” (© FUEL Publishing)
Laika (1954-1957) was a Soviet space dog. Laika is derived from a Russian word meaning mixed breed (like a husky). A stray dog from Moscow, Laika became the first animal to orbit the Earth when she was launched aboard the Soviet space craft Sputnik 2 in 1957. Laika died within hours of takeoff. The experiment aimed to prove that a living passenger could survive being launched into orbit and endure micro-gravity, paving the way for human spaceflight and providing scientists with some of the first data on how living organisms react to spaceflight environments.
Oil on canvas
From the collections of the Seward House Museum, Auburn NY
Emanuel Leutze, Signing of the Alaska Treaty1868 Oil on canvas, from the collections of the Seward House Museum, Auburn NY
At the end of his life, William Henry Seward was asked which of his public acts would live longest in the memory of the American people. Seward’s answer was the purchase of Alaska, but he recognized that it would take another generation to find it out.
The historic home of William H. Seward is now a museum in New York. The collection includes gifts that Seward received during his 1869 Alaska visit, including a kayak, slat armor, carvings and a scrapbook of pressed Alaska flowers and plants. Seward also brought back a bald eagle that lived in his Auburn house garden for a few years as well as an “Alaska dog.”
Seward had served as governor of New York for four years, a U.S. Senator from New York for 12 years, and the Secretary of State under President Lincoln. An ardent expansionist and fervent proponent of Manifest Destiny, Seward believed, “Our population is destined to roll its resistless waves to the icy barriers of the North.”
Illustrated are (left to right): American diplomat Robert Smith Chew (1811 - 1873); American Secretary of State William Henry Seward (1801 - 1872); American diplomat William Hunter Jr. (1805 - 1886); secretary of the Russian mission Waldemar de Bodisco (d. 1878); Russian ambassador Eduard de Stoeckl (1804 - 1892); American senator Charles Sumner (1811 - 1874); American Assistant Secretary of State and son of the Secretary of State, Frederick William Seward (1835 - 1915).