Alaska State Library’s Historical Collections has a new online exhibit to honor the 2011 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which was won in record time by John Baker. Baker, an Inupiaq, drove a team of dogs born and trained on the coast near his hometown of Kotzebue.
The new exhibit, titled Working Dogs to Racing Dogs, shows images of some of the many dogs brought to Alaska during the gold rushes, with the earliest images from 1898. The first official sled dog race was the All Alaska Sweepstakes, organized by the kennel club of Nome in 1908. The first “ladies race” was in 1914, held between the mining towns of Iditarod and Flat. Following in a long and colorful tradition, the Iditarod race today commemorates all the early mushers who are a part of Alaska’s heritage. The exhibit can be found at http://library.state.ak.us/hist/exhibits/WorkingDogs.html