A Schoolteacher in Old Alaska

A Schoolteacher in Old Alaska

The Story of Hannah Breece

Book - 1995
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Over fifty years ago Hannah Breece bestowed upon her great niece, Jane Jacobs, her manuscript, roughly culled together from diaries and letters from when she was a school teacher in Alaska and the Yukon.  In the summer of 1994, Ms. Jacobs traveled to Alaska to do the research necessary to complete her great aunt's book. In 1904, Hannah Breece set off for Alaska, where she was sent by the American government to teach Aleuts, Dina'ina, Athabascans, and people of mixed-European and Native blood.  She remained in Alaska until 1918 and in this book tells her story.  Diary-like in is mingling of domestic matters, work, public events and chance encounters, Hannah Breece's narrative is spiced with litany of adventures, for she was a women who went anywhere and stood up to anybody. What Hannah Breece could never have guessed was just how relevant her story is today, both in its study of an independent woman and in its early clues to white North America's treatment of the Native populations.  In her introduction and comprehensive notes on the book, Jane Jacobs examines her great aunt's story and reveals and illuminates the mysteries behind this most unusual life.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [1995]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: �1995
ISBN: 9780679441342
0679441344
Branch Call Number: B B745
Characteristics: xxii, 302 pages : illustrations, maps ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Jacobs, Jane 1916-2006.
Alternative Title: School teacher in old Alaska

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JennyFS Jan 01, 2014

Despite some views about Native Americans and Russians that I find cringeworthy from the safety of the twenty-first century, this memoir by a middle-aged teacher in pioneer era Alaska made me feel a great deal of affection for Hannah Breece. Jane Jacobs' annotations and epilogue provide readers with even more respect for Hannah. When readers learn that Hannah risked her life and well-being for the benefit of Native Alaskans -- in one case, ostracizing herself from the majority of the White community in Fort Yukon -- it becomes harder to condemn her. Recommended for all teachers and readers curious about Alaskan life in the early twentieth century.

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