Alaska Our Last Frontier by “Slim” Williams [cover title].
Slim Williams, Alaska sourdough and pioneer and promoter of the Alaska Highway
Clyde “Slim” Williams, “International Trail Blazer” made his fame hitching his team of sled dogs to a wheeled chariot and then traveling from Alaska to Washington, D.C. in 1933.
Williams had arrived in Alaska in 1900 and earned a reputation as a trapper, dog breeder and trail blazer. In 1933, Slim Williams was anxious to promote the building of the Alaska Highway. So Slim hooked up his wolf-bred dogs and his dogsled and headed down the proposed route. With Spring, and muddy passages, Slim jerry-rigged his dogsled with Ford Model-T wheels and continued on his way.
Slim was anxious to arrive to the Chicago’s World Fair and as he traveled down the Pacific Coast he began to attract minor-celebrity status. Williams made it to the World’s Fair. When the World’s Fair closed in Chicago, Williams did the next logical thing and hitched his dogsled-on-wheels and jaunted to Washington, D.C. to speak with Congress and President Roosevelt. The whole journey has been over 5,500 miles. The Alaska Highway had to be built, and “Slim” Williams was determined to make his point.
Slim’s quest for the Alaska Highway to be built in the 1930s did not succeed; the Alaska Highway was built in the 1940s using a route different than Slim’s. Undeterred, Williams continued to promote the wonders and vastness of the Alaskan frontier. He became a popular lecturer on such topics.
This autographed pamphlet suggests it was printed in Washington, D.C. while Slim was meeting with legislators while he camped in a city park over the winter months pursuing his campaign. Pages 14–19 is an autobiographical narrative of when Williams got the “Gold Bug” and tried being a gold miner. Other sections discuss Williams and his wolf dogs and the benefits of Alaska. The pamphlet is rare.
The two real photo postcards show “Slim” Williams: on his famed ride to Washington, D.C., outside of his Alaska cabin. On both he is identified as an “International Trail Blazer.”
Williams later co-authored two children’s books. The Friend of the Singing One in 1968 and1973 children’s book on Eskimo children called The Long Hungry Night. He was profiled by Richard Morenus in the 1956 book Alaska Sourdough, the story of Slim Williams.
Description: Alaska Our Last Frontier by “Slim” Williams [cover title].
[Np. “Washington, D.C.” 1934]. First Edition. 23, pp., self-wraps. 7½ x 5 inches, stapled binding. Soft vertical crease, tiny binding defects, very good. Half-tone illustration from original photograph to front wrap. Rear wrap autographed by the author.[With:] Two Real Photo Postcards of “Slim” Williams and his sled dogs.
OCLC, 2 copies in Alaska; Yale, University of Washington, Whitman College (Washington State), Wisconsin Historical Society.