'Treadwell Gold' reading, book signing Saturday

Posted: Thursday, May 27, 2010

Author Sheila Kelly will release her new book "Treadwell Gold, An Alaska Saga of Riches and Ruin " with a reading and book signing during the Juneau-Douglas City Museum's Coffee & Collections program at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 29.

The book presents first-person accounts from sons and daughters of the miners, machinists, hoist operators and superintendents at Treadwell with historic photos of the industrial side and day-to-day lives that made up Treadwell's community.

"Treadwell embodied the issues of the time: the gold rush, mobilization of labor, the rights of Native people, the growth of tourism, and changing technology. The author's family and their neighbors experienced mine accidents, shipwrecks, fires, labor troubles, epidemics, and romance in the frontier town," said Eleanor Swent, from the regional oral history office at the UC-Berkeley Bancroft Library.

The author's grandfather, Willy Kelly, worked as a Treadwell machinist from 1899 to 1926. Her father Raymond, and aunts Marion and Honorah were born and raised in the company town, where their lives unfolded along with the children of the superintendents, the hoistman and the miners.

The 260-page book includes three maps and 100 historic photos from Alaska state archives, the Juneau-Douglas City Museum, and personal collections.

"The Museum enjoyed working with Sheila as she was writing this book. She has worked very hard to do the best job she could of framing a personal family story in the large scale mining industry of the Treadwell," said Museum Director Jane Lindsey. "It is a fascinating story."

A native of Washington, Kelly became a "certified" honorary Alaska citizen in 1958 while spending the summer in Ketchikan at the time statehood legislation was signed. She has written articles on Alaska and other stories on the power of place. Kelly currently lives in Seattle.

For more information on this free program contact the museum at 586-3572 or visit www.juneau.org/parkrec/museum . Coffee for this program is provided by Heritage Coffee Company.

The Juneau-Douglas City Museum is currently on summer hours: Weekdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and weekends from10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Admission is $4 for adults, and youth 12 and under are free. Annual passes are available for $20.

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