Convention Opening Ceremonies
Alaskan dignitaries open the Constitutional Convention with an invocation. From left to right: Delegate E.L. "Bob" Bartlett, Territorial Governor B. Frank Heintzleman, former Governor Ernest Gruening, UA President Ernest Patty, unknown, Fairbanks Mayor Douglas Preston, UA Student Body President Ken Carson, Fairbanks City Councilwoman Sylvia Ringstad, Reverend Roy Ahmoagak and unknown.
A group of Alaskans look over the newly signed constitution after the signing ceremonies on February 5, 1956. Standing on the far right is Delegate Jack Coghill.
Seated, from left to right: John Cross, Eldor Lee, Victor Fischer, Chairman John Rosswog, Victor Rivers, James Doogan and Maynard Londborg.
The Convention's Committee on Resources holds an open meeting in Constitution Hall. Seated at the front table are: Peter Reader (Nome), Barrie White (Anchorage), John Boswell (Fairbanks), Chairman W.O. "Bo" Smith (Ketchikan), Burke Riley (Haines), B.D. Stewart (Sitka), Leonard King (Haines) and Ada Wien (Fairbanks).
Front Row, from left to right: R.E. Robertson (Juneau), Committee Chair George McLaughlin (Anchorage), Maurice Johnson (Fairbanks). Back Row, from left to right: Thomas Harris (Valdez), Ralph Rivers (Fairbanks), Irwin Metcalf (Seward), Warren Taylor (Fairbanks).
Seated, from left to right: Irwin Metcalf (Seward), R.E. Robertson (Juneau), Maurice Johnson (Fairbanks), Committee Chair George McLaughlin (Anchorage), Convention Consultant Dr. Sheldon Elliot, Ralph Rivers (Fairbanks), Thomas Harris (Valdez), Non-Member Edward Davis (Anchorage).
Father Gleeson of the Society of Jesus offers the benediction at the signing ceremony of the Alaska Constitutional Convention on February 5, 1956. Standing to the right are Frank Peratrovich and Bill Egan.
The convention relied on the leadership of elected and appointed officials. The first day of the convention saw delegate Mildred Hermann (standing far left) elected Temporary President to oversee the establishment of rules and procedures. To the right of Hermann are the appointed convention staff: Librarian D.A. Bartlett, Secretary Thomas Stewart and Chief Clerk Katie Alexander (Hurley). Seated in the front row are the convention's elected leaders: First Vice President Frank Peratrovich, President William Egan and Second Vice President Ralph Rivers.
John Hellenthal (front) and Yule Kilcher (rear) shake hands with George Lehleitner before his Tennessee Plan speech to the convention. Convention President Bill Egan looks on.
Seated at podium is First Vice President Frank Peratrovich, the only Alaska Native elected to the convention. Standing to address the body is President William Egan.
Standing from left to right: Dorothy Awes (Anchorage), Ada Wien (Fairbanks), Dora Sweeney (Juneau), Katherine Nordale (Juneau). Seated: Mildred Hermann (Juneau) and Helen Fischer (Anchorage).
Former Territorial Governor Ernest Gruening stands to address the Committee on the Executive Branch during the convention. Prior to statehood, Alaska's governor had been appointed by the President. Gruening was a proponent of the "strong governor" system adopted by the convention. Seated at the table from left to right are Thomas Harris (Valdez), Chairman Victor Rivers (Anchorage), John Boswell (Fairbanks), Frank Barr (Fairbanks), Maynard Londborg (Unalakleet).
On November 28, 1955, the University of Alaska held a special convocation for the purpose of bestowing honorary doctorates on former Territorial Governor Ernest Gruening and California Senator William Knowland. The convocation was held in the Old Gym, now known as Signers' Hall. Knowland is walking beside Gruening, and the two are following UA President Ernest Patty. Knowland addressed the convention the next day. From the News Archive: Honors for Gruening - Anchorage Daily Times - 11-28-55.
Members of the UA Board of Regents flank former Governor Ernest Gruening, Senator William Knowland and UA President Ernest Patty during a special convocation on November 29, 1955 to bestow honorary degrees on the two Alaska statehood supporters. Knowland (R-CA) served as the Majority Leader of the US Senate. The convocation was held while the convention was in session, and Knowland addressed the delegates the next day. From the News Archive: Honors for Gruening - Anchorage Daily Times - 11-28-55.
Thomas Stewart, Secretary of the Alaska Constitutional Convention signs a copy of the document on February 5, 1956 in the Old Gym (now Signers' Hall) on the University of Alaska campus in Fairbanks. Seated behind him are First Vice President Frank Peratrovich, President William Egan (partially obscured) and Second Vice President Ralph Rivers.
Alex Miller (far left), Democratic National Committeeman and Walter Hickel (far right), Republican National Committeeman, flank George Lehleitner and William Egan in a show of support for Alaska Statehood.