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Mary Louise Milligan Rasmuson 1911 - 2012

Mary Louise Milligan (Rasmuson)
served twenty years in the Women’s Army Corps.
In 1955, she became its director and was promoted to the rank of colonel.

We are sad to note the passing of Mary Louise Milligan Rasmuson, one of Alaska’s great philanthropists and pioneers. Mary Louise and her husband, Elmer Rasmuson, have left their legacy to Alaskans in many ways. Here at the Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, the family has shared their dedication to the pursuit of knowledge and to preserving the memories that have shaped Alaska’s heritage.

We are grateful for their vision and generosity. Here are a few of the many projects and programs they have supported over the years.

1969, upon Elmer’s retirement from the University of Alaska Board of Regents, the university library was renamed the Elmer E. Rasmuson Library

1970s, Elmer and Mary Louise purchased an exceptional collection of Alaskana for the library, forming the core of the Rare Book and Map Collection

Thanks to a substantial endowment to the Rasmuson Library, many historical objects have been preserved for the future, including:

  • Preserving and digitizing more than 1,000 endangered photographic negatives
  • A long-term project to digitize, catalog and preserve moving images from Alaska’s past
  • Indexing 893 photos documenting Charles Sheldon’s expeditions from 1906 to 1908 to the area that would become Denali National Park
  • Digitizing and preserving more than 3,000 oral history tapes, including interviews with dog mushers, judges and many others
  • The Rasmuson Library Historical Translation Series, translating books about Alaska’s history
  • The purchase of rare maps and books to add to our growing collection of historically significant maps of Alaska and the circumpolar north
  • Most recently, Mrs. Rasmuson’s gift in December 2011 to the Library Dean’s Fund enabled the construction of much-needed study rooms on the third level of the Library.


Above all, we will miss Mrs. Rasmuson’s warmth, sense of humor and graciousness. She was one of a kind.

From the Elmer E. Rasmuson Library:

From other websites:


This page was last modified on December 1, 2014