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From the turn of the twentieth century in interior
Alaska, dog team mail carriers were charged with
maintaining the trail systems and carrying the mail
until they were replaced in the late 1930s and
’40s by airplane mail service. With the advent and
widespread adoption of aviation, many of the trails
were abandoned, and a generation of rural Alaskans
has now grown up with few ties to the overland
trail system that supported their grandparents and
inspired modern traditions such as the world-famous
In addition to chronicling the history of this unique
postal service, On Time Delivery pays tribute to the
men who carried the mail and the families who
supported them, and considers the changing nature
of how people experience the country where they
live and how this is affected by the systems of
communication and transportation upon which they
William Schneider was the curator of oral history
at the University of Alaska Fairbanks from 1981 until
his retirement as professor emeritus in 2011. He is
the editor of many books and the author of So They
Understand: Cultural Issues in Oral History.
Illuminating. . . . On Time Delivery is a chronicle of records and memories of the sled dog era with historic photos and reports on the current status of some of the major routes.
—Anchorage Daily News
A compelling portrait, On Time Delivery delivers a big picture of Alaska’s early interior history in a nicely packaged cultural context, accented with earthy narratives and tough realism.