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Alaska Purchase: Topics in Chronicling America

In 1867, the U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia. This guide provides access to materials related to the “Alaska Purchase” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


Map of Alaska. September 12, 1903. The Minneapolis Journal (Minneapolis, MN), Image 11. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Senators called it “reckless and wasteful,” the American people scoffed at the frozen wasteland- Secretary of State Seward’s purchase of Alaska from Russia was condemned and mocked by many Americans. However, Alaska would become a hub of natural resources and an important strategic position. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


March 30, 1867 America signs a treaty with Russia, purchasing the Russian American territories for $7.2 million.
October 18, 1867 Alaska is formally transferred from Russian to American control at Sitka, Alaska.
July 14, 1868 The House of Representatives approves funding for the purchase of Russia by a vote of 113-48.
Spring 1899 The Nome Gold Rush begins, producing enough gold to vindicate Seward’s push to purchase Alaska.