Posting vignettes based on great postcards found in my mail box and elsewhere.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Tossed Alaskans

This is a postcard photo of the Inuit (Eskimo) people of Kotzebue, Alaska, from the sixties or seventies (1960-70's). It seems here they are just having fun showing some tourists in stuffed shirts and ties how to cut loose. Like the previous pictures of the blanket toss posted on this blog, this "blanket" is made from walrus skins.

This card was produced for Wien Alaska Airlines of Fairbanks. The company was the first airlines in Alaska (1927) and the second in the nation until its demise (a victim of a corporate raider, according to the son's founder, Merrill Wien) in 1985. This was unfortunate not only for the family business, the loss of job and service to remote Alaska, but it was a blow to the those who document Alaska's traditional heritage. The company produced many postcards showing the simple live and traditions in the remote villages of Alaska, such as this one.

This postcard photo was taken by Frank Whaley. Many of his photos were used by Wien air to celebrate the unique cultural communities served by the airline. Whaley took many photos of rural Alaskan native scenes from the fifties (1950's) until this decade. See a great blanket toss photo here and other fine Whaley photos in the Alaska Digital Archives.


  1. I wouldn't be so quick to call them stuffed shirts; back then people dressed up just to get on an airplane.

  2. It wasn't so much their clothes that set them apart but their expressions. A blanket toss is a hoot. I'm sure you would yep and yell beneath a blanket tossed flyer even if you wore a nonconforming suit and tie.
    I have a card coming your way, Chris.

  3. I love those blanket tossing postcards. I have never heard of Wien Alaska Airlines.

  4. They are a hoot, aren't they. There is a lot of stuff on line on Wien. It is a prominent name in Fairbanks.
    Congrats on the Festival feature. It is very helpful to us novices. I'm sure I'll refer to it often when attempting to date my cards. Thanks, Lynne.