Quirky Alaskana book collection lives on in Palmer shop

Stephen Nowers

Fans of the old Alaskana Books store in Anchorage who thought it was history might be surprised to learn that it lives on in Palmer.  The Anchorage Press updates the story of what it says might be Alaska's largest private collection of Alaska-themed books and talks to its current owner, Lori Kirker.


“You have to see this,” Kirker said, pulling a paperback from the top drawer of the desk. The paperback isn’t really a book. It’s more of a government-issued tract. There are a lot of those in the collection Kirker purchased from Eugene Short, the store’s original owner. Most are a bit wonky and unassuming. A report on which species of trout were found in a specific lake in 1956 might sell to the right fisherman. Geology reports sell faster, Kirker says, especially when they include information about gold.

This paperback, the one Kirker says we must see, has handwritten notes by James Wickersham, the famous judge and delegate to the U.S. Congress who historians credit for shaping Alaska during the first half of the 20th century. 

Read more at the Anchorage Press: Gifts between the covers