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Judges of Alaska Project Jukebox

The Alaska and Polar Regions Collections and Archives at Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska is pleased to announce completion of our latest multi-media oral history website: Judges of Alaska Project Jukebox (

This website tells the story of the formation of the Alaska Court System through first-hand accounts of what it means to be a judge or magistrate in Alaska. The judicial history of Alaska goes back to the territorial days when court may have been held in a roadhouse, aboard a revenue cutter or maybe even out on the trail. US Commissioners deciding these cases often did not have legal backgrounds. Starting with statehood in 1959, Alaska’s court system became more formalized and its judiciary more professional. The experiences of our state’s early judges shed light on the social, political, and cultural fabric of life in Alaska in a new way. It provides a slice of Alaskan history that few people have access to or understanding of. Knowing how Alaska’s justice system has developed can enlighten future decisions as our state faces continued social, political, cultural and economic change.

The Project Jukebox website features oral histories, historic film clips, and still photographs to highlight various aspects of the history of Alaska’s court system. Topics include: establishment and early days of the various aspects of the court system, the judiciary article, judicial selection and retention, the day to day life of being a judge, joys and challenges of being a judge, relationships with the community, and rural justice.

You can access the site at

For further information, contact Project Jukebox at (907) 474-6672.

This project is supported in whole or in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Alaska State Library. And was done in collaboration with the Alaska Court System and the Alaska Bar Association Historians Committee.

This page was last modified on January 3, 2013