Photograph of postcard of US mail leaving Seward for Anchorage, Alaska
An unidentified mail contractor with his dog team posed in front of the Brown & Hawkins store in Seward, Alaska on this photographic postcard. As the title indicates, the contractor is preparing to leave Seward with the Anchorage mail. Dog sleds transported mail in some areas of the northern United States and the Alaskan Territory during winter months. Contract carriers used these sleds across Alaska from the late nineteenth century into the early 1920s. Isolated for much of the year, remote populations sometimes relied on dog sleds for contact with the outside world. Because weight was a critical factor for the dogs, mail traveling on sleds was usually restricted to first-class pieces unless room was available for newspapers, magazines, and packages. These items were otherwise left behind until spring, when they might be transported by steamboat or wagon.
National Postal Museum, Curatorial Photographic Collection