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Kodiak mirror. [volume] : (Kodiak, Alaska) 1940-1976
Alternative Titles:
  • Kodiak daily mirror May 29, 1967-Jan. 26, 1976
Place of publication:
Kodiak, Alaska
Geographic coverage:
  • Kodiak, Alaska  |  View more titles from this: City State
Kodiak Pub. Co.
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (June 15, 1940)-v. 36, no. 149 (Jan. 26, 1976).
Daily May 29, 1967-Jan. 26, 1976
  • English
  • Alaska--Kodiak.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01209935
  • Kodiak (Alaska)--Newspapers.
  • Includes occasional special issues.
  • Issue for Nov. 19, 1960 includes insert: Mailboat monitor.
  • Issue numbering irregular.
sn 83045298
Succeeding Titles:
Related Titles:
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Kodiak mirror. [volume] June 15, 1940 , Image 1


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Kodiak mirror

The first issue of the Kodiak mirror was published on June 15, 1940 by Gene Dawson, a newcomer to Kodiak, who used a mimeograph machine at the Kodiak U.S. naval station to print his new 12-page weekly paper. Dawson advocated for more defenses around Kodiak, citing the threat of a Soviet airbase in construction on Diomede Island. He also pushed for incorporation of Kodiak as a city so that it would qualify for more funding. He began printing on a flatbed press in January 1941, when the circulation was nearing 2,000. Dawson sold the mirror on December 6, 1941 to Bill and Lillian Lamme, whose first issue was an extra the next day saying that the U.S. had declared war.

The paper traded hands several times after the Lammes sold it in 1948. In 1955 the new owners, Sig and Bertha Digree, improved the printing plant and added a linotype machine. Under the Digrees, the mirror took a position against statehood, arguing that Alaska was not ready for it. In 1964, the massive Good Friday earthquake in Alaska triggered a tsunami that wiped out the mirror plant along with much of Kodiak. The first issue after the wave hit was printed on an elementary school's mimeograph machine. Afterwards, the mirror arranged to use the press of The Kenai Peninsula cheechako news in Soldotna and have it transported to Kodiak by boat, while their plant was being rebuilt. After several months of rebuilding efforts, the Digrees gave up and sold the plant to Wayne and Nancy Kotula, who ran it for the next 12 years.

The mirror's most famous editor was Karl Armstrong, an Alaska Native (Alutiiq). During his time as editor, 1963–1975, Armstrong made use of exaggerated headlines and tongue-in-cheek editorials, advocating in one editorial that Kodiak become a separate state and then in another that Kodiak should become an independent republic. Armstrong supported various developments and infrastructure improvements and fought to prevent the closure of the military base at Kodiak, even controversially advocating for the storage of nerve gas at the facility. Armstrong was also a strong advocate for the Alaskan Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 and made multiple trips to Washington D.C. to lobby for it.

The November 19, 1960, issue of the Kodiak Mirror was combined with another paper published by the Digrees, The mailboat monitor, a small publication that reported on Kodiak, the Kenai Peninsula, and the Aleutian islands. Although the combination of the two papers was described as a "new phase" in the life of the monitor, it is the only known issue of them both together. The mirror was turned into a daily in 1976 and became the Kodiak Daily Mirror, the name it is still published under today.

Provided by: Alaska State Library Historical Collections