Scott C. Bone manuscript, correspondence, and other materials

Portrait of Alaska Territorial Governor Scott C. Bone
Portrait of Alaska Territorial Governor Scott C. Bone

Recent additions to the University of Washington Special Collections include .21 cubic feet of materials relating to Scott C. (Cardelle) Bone, 1860-1936, a past editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and governor of Alaska Territory from 1921-25.  Nellie L. Bruce of Tehachapi, California made the gift in August of this year;  it supplements an earlier donation of Scott C. Bone items, dating 1909-1920.

According to the New York City American Press [December 1920], Scott C. Bone was, first and foremost, a newspaperman who firmly believed in government using paid newspaper advertising to talk to the people.  He was “a curious chap [with] a mild, genial personality,” and his enigmatic smile was likened to that of da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.”  Bone was further described as a man who could not easily be disturbed, but someone who could stand in the middle of a furor and calmly read his home town newspaper as if nothing else were transpiring.  A staunch and active Republican, Scott C. Bone professed that “fairness in handling political matter, in both news and editorial columns, is a prerequisite to the influence of any newspaper.”

In addition to serving as editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Scott C. Bone served as editor for the Washington Post and founded the Washington Herald, in which he wrote a tribute dated March 5, 1909 to Theodore Roosevelt after the end of his presidential term.  It was during Bone’s tenure with the P.I. that he became interested in Alaska, particularly after taking the Alaska Tour of 1913, sponsored by the Alaska Bureau of Commerce.

Newly elected Governor Bone and his family reported to Juneau and were all quite surprised to find a stately three-story New England colonial mansion among rugged surroundings.  President Harding told once told Bone:  “Why Governor, your ‘White House of the North’ is finer than my own” [Marguerite Bone Wilcox, “Memories of the Mansion:  A Governor’s Daughter Remembers Her Life in Juneau,” Alaska Journal, 1986 16: 42-47].  While in office, Scott C. Bone ordered a relay of dog teams to transport diphtheria antitoxin to Nome in order to fend off an epidemic during an outbreak of the deadly disease.  This mission is now commemorated as the popular Iditarod sled dog race.

In his later years, Scott C. Bone wrote various accounts of his Alaskan experiences, some of which are also available at Special Collections.  Well-meaning friends offered advice on Bone’s health after observing the aging newspaper mogul’s persistent sweet tooth and expanding waistline.  “You are adding weight and consuming much candy,” one wrote to him in April 1932, advising that Bone cut meats and all sugar from his diet unless he wished to meet his demise.  Four years later, Scott C. Bone died from a heart attack in Santa Barbara, California, apparently not heedful of his good friend’s advice.

Highlights of the most recent addition (1923-1932) to the Scott C. Bone collection include a manuscript:  “Hugh Hamilton:  A Tale of Two Capitals” (ca. 1930?), as well as personal and business correspondence, a brochure for a 1932 Alaska Tour, a newsletter and memorial service program for the Alaska Elks Lodge No.420, and a program, with seating chart, for a dinner held at the Gridiron Club of Washington D.C. on December 12, 1931.

Scott C Bone papers finding aid

Submitted by Chery

Image credit: Alaska State Library – Historical Collections. Alaska Territorial Governors. Photographs. ASL-PCA-274

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