WICKERSHAM, James

WICKERSHAM, James

Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives

1857–1939

Biography

WICKERSHAM, James, A Delegate from the Territory of Alaska; born in Patoka, Marion County, Ill., August 24, 1857; attended the common schools; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1880 and commenced practice in Springfield, Sangamon County, Ill.; served in the Governor's guards, Springfield Militia; moved to Washington Territory in 1883; probate judge of Pierce County, Wash., 1884-1888; city attorney of Tacoma, Wash., in 1894; member of the State house of representatives in 1898; moved to Eagle, Alaska, when appointed United States district judge for the Territory of Alaska in 1900; moved to Nome in 1901, to Valdez in 1902, and to Fairbanks in 1903; served as district judge until January 1908, when he resigned to run for Congress; elected as a Republican to the Sixty-first and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1909-March 3, 1917); successfully contested the election of Charles A. Sulzer to the Sixty-fifth Congress and served from January 7 to March 3, 1919; successfully contested the election of Charles A. Sulzer to the Sixty-sixth Congress and served from March 1, to March 3, 1921, succeeding George B. Grigsby, who had qualified on credentials of a special election held to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Mr. Sulzer, which occurred while the contest was pending; was not a candidate for renomination in 1920; moved to Juneau, Alaska, in 1921 and resumed the practice of law; elected to the Seventy-second Congress (March 4, 1931-March 3, 1933); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1932 to the Seventy-third Congress; continued the practice of law in Juneau, Alaska; writer on ethnological and historical subjects; editor of Alaska Territory Law Reports, and of Old Yukon and Alaskan literature; died in Juneau, Alaska, October 24, 1939; remains were cremated and the ashes deposited in Old Tacoma Cemetery, Tacoma, Wash.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Alaska Historical Collections
Alaska Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums

Juneau, AK
Papers: 1857-1939, 24 feet. The James Wickersham Papers contain correspondence, letterpress books, diaries, subject files, business records, writings, research files, and scrapbooks, relating primarily to Wickersham's work and life in Alaska (1900-1939), with lesser amount of material relating to his law practice and other activities in Washington (1884-1900). Includes court-related letters during his tenure as U.S. district judge at Eagle and Fairbanks, Alaska; subject files relating to his legislative work as delegate to Congress; mss. of his ethnological and other writings; and family papers, including records of Ruth Allman, his niece by marriage, and her husband, Jack Allman. A finding aid is available in the repository.
Papers: James Wickersham family papers, 1884-1970's. 24 feet, 58 boxes, and 18 albums. In Wickersham State Historic Site collection. Includes Wickersham's diaries (47 volumes, 1880-1939); correspondence relating to personal, business, and congressional matters and reflecting Alaska's development; photographs; portraits; scrapbooks; printed matter; and memorabilia. Finding aid in repository.

University of Alaska-Fairbanks
Elmer E. Rasmuson Library Alaska and Polar Regions Department

Fairbanks, AK
Papers: 1880-1939, amount unknown. The James Wickersham Papers contain personal and congressional papers and correspondence. Also included are 11 reels of microfilm of his diaries (1900-1939). A finding aid is available in the repository.
Papers: In the Charles Sheldon Papers, 1867-1928, 3 cubic feet. Persons represented include James Wickersham.
Papers: In the Donald A. Sutherland Papers, 1908-1931, approximately 1 foot. The papers include correspondence with James Wickersham and reports.
Oral History: In the John Butrovich Interview, 1981, 1 audio cassette. Subjects discussed include James Wickersham.
Oral History: In the Edby Davis talks to the Tanana Yukon Historical Society meeting about the town of Chena on October 24, 1970, 1 sound tape reel. Subjects discussed include James Wickersham.
Oral History: In the Woodrow Johansen Interview, 1985, 1 sound cassette. Subjects discussed include James Wickersham.
Oral History: In the Florence Knox Interview, 1982, 1 sound cassette. Subjects discussed include James Wickersham.
Oral History: In the James "Sim" MacKinnon and Hazel MacKinnon Interviews, 1974, 3 sound tape reels. Subjects discussed include James Wickersham.
Oral History: In the Laura Olsen Interview, 1995, 1 sound cassette. Subjects discussed include James Wickersham.
Oral History: In the Clara Rust Interview, 1974, 1 sound cassette. Subjects discussed include James Wickersham.
Oral History: In the Judge Tom Stewart Interview, 2003, 6 sound cassettes. Subjects discussed include James Wickersham.
Oral History: In the William G. Stroecker Interview, 1996, 1 sound cassette. Subjects discussed include James Wickersham.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Atwood, Evangeline. Frontier Politics: Alaska's James Wickersham. Portland, Oreg.: Binford and Mort, 1979.

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