Alaska's Early Days and History

Alaska Cruise 1909

Alaska Cruise 1909 book coverCruise Alaska aboard the Steamer Northwestern and discover what it was like to travel to Alaska in the early 1900s. These are the stories told by America’s writers and editors as they visited Alaska’s cities, glaciers, mines and farmlands at the end of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909.

The original story was written by Bertha Adele Penny, as she shared her personal experience of the trip with friends and family. Her story was shared decades later with Constance Taylor in 1977 and remained in a box of treasures for 42 years. When she rediscovered it in 2019, she knew it needed to be published.

The delightful story, told in the voice of turn-of-the-century America and full of humor as well as poignant beauty, has been compiled and comes to life with vintage photographs, newspaper clippings, and an appendix of articles written by others who shared the grand adventure.

See sample pages of Alaska Cruise 1909.


Kops-Fethererling Book Awards Gold: Alaska Cruise 1909

Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist Memoirs (Historical/Legacy)

Favorite Quotes from Alaska Cruise 1909

The brilliant mass of color lengthened out into rays, the rosy fingers stretching across the sky formed a luminous arch that spanned the heavens.

At that time there was always a group in the bow of the boat happily gazing at the ever-changing panorama, watching the sapphire water roll in symmetrical waves from either side of the Northwestern’s graceful bow and waiting, waiting for the strangeness and vagueness of an Alaskan twilight.

There is a subtle illusive, intangible something that grips the heart of the visitor to Alaska.


  • Constance Taylor was given a charming, witty description of a 1909 Alaska cruise aboard the Steamer Northwestern. In publishing that writing, she brought the travelogue vividly to life by adding about 50 photographs of the scenery and towns mentioned. The book is short enough to read once for the words, then again for the photos. Attractively assembled, Alaska Cruise 1909 also has footnotes to explain some terms, an index for easy reference, and an appendix of other writers’ descriptions of the same 1909 cruise.

  • I liked the entire presentation. The early photos of San Francisco, Seattle and Alaska are historic treasures not often seen in print. The historic content and writing style is refreshing as well as educational. The index makes the content easy to go to quickly, if one is interested in a certain aspect of the journey.

  • I was captivated from the moment I picked up this story. The writing style and voice is a delightful step back into early 1900's America, and the author has a fascinating blend of wit and poetic description as she writes about her experience travelling to Alaska. She captures the beauty and grandeur of Alaska so that I could almost picture in my mind's eye what she was describing. The vintage photographs and additional perspectives of the trip in the appendix were wonderful additions. This is a great short read, and I am ordering extra copies to send to friends and family.

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Early Alaska Images

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Sitka, Alaska, harbor with Three Sisters Mountains.
Front Street, Ketchikan, Alaska, in October 1905.
Seward, Alaska, from the bridge in the early 1900s.
Juneau, Alaska, and the surrounding mountain range.
Ketchikan, Alaska, waterfront in 1912.