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Home  >  Digital Archives  >  Land Sea Air  >  Ships and Boats
Capt. Michael Healy and the Revenue Cutter Bear  -  Related Materials
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Visit the Library for More Information:

Alaska's libraries include plenty of audio, visual, and written material about Michael Healy and the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service. Visit your local library or go online to see what's available in holdings all over the state. Take these simple steps:

  1. Access SLED (State Library Electronic Doorway) at .
  2. Click on the listing for ALNCat (the Alaska Library Network Catalog) to view the Basic Search window. Go to the Keyword field, and type in MICHAEL HEALY or CUTTER BEAR

More Reading:

Bixby, William. Track of the Bear. New York: D. McKay Co., 1965.

Report of the Cruise of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear and the Overland Expedition for the Relief of the Whalers in the Arctic Ocean, from November 27, 1897, to September 13, 1898. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1899.

Unalaska Pride. The Cutter BEAR, Unalaska, and the Bering Sea Patrol. Unalaska, Alaska: Unalaska Pride, 1990.

For Juvenile Readers:

Rankin, Robert H. and H. R. Kaplan. Immortal Bear, the Stoutest Polar Ship. New York: Putnam, 1970. A biography of the polar ship Bear covering her birth in a Scottish shipyard, her long years as a Coast Guard cutter, and her part in Admiral Byrd's second expedition to the Antarctic.


The Odyssey of Captain Healy. Maria Brooks, Russ Holcomb, Jason Martineau, Robert W. Cherny, Joe Johnson, Dennis L. Noble, Gerald O. Williams, Douglas Henry Daniels, Johnetta Richards, James O'Toole, Clay Healy Young, Knud Andersen, Nick Wongittilin, and Larry McGee. DVD video, 57 minutes. Waterfront Soundings Productions, 1999. Mike Healy, born a slave on a Georgia plantation, ran away to sea, winding up on San Francisco's Barbary Coast. With the purchase of the Alaska Territory, Healy's career took off. Passing as a white man on board the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service's Bear, he represented the U.S. government and its justice in the Arctic. He charted and patrolled the treacherous waters of the Bering Sea, confronted the rum-runners and poachers, and foresaw the extermination of marine animals caused by unrestrained harvesting. He contended with the devastation wreaked upon the Eskimos and was instrumental in bringing reindeer to the Arctic. Film includes extensive rare archival footage of Arctic conditions and history.

Archival Materials:

Papers, Michael A. Healy, 1865-1895. Alaska State Library and University of Alaska Anchorage, Library and Archives. This collection on microfilm consists of papers, diaries, scrapbooks, and photographs relative to Healy's activities in Alaska. The first part contains Healy's oath of office, letters and reports to the Secretary of the Treasury, letters and documents he received, and other records. The second part contains the diary and notes of Healy's adopted son, Fred, on a voyage in the Aleutians (1883), Michael Healy's letterbook (1885-1887), letters of testimony and commendation, scrapbooks, and photographs.

Diaries of Mary Jane and Fred Healy during their travels in Alaska, 1884-1891. Alaska State Library. Includes diaries of Mary Jane and Fred Healy while accompanying husband and father Michael A. (sometimes Michael J.) Healy of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service during their travels in Alaska.

Diaries, Mary Healy, 1883-1891. University of Alaska Anchorage. This collection on microfilm consists of Mary Healy's diaries, which were written on her voyages to Alaska with her husband on the Revenue Steamer Bear, and other ships (1883-1884, 1890, 1891). In her diaries, she records events of her trips, the names of other travelers, and her impressions of the various places she visited.

Frank C. Nichols Photograph Collection, 1898-1902. Alaska State Library. Collection includes 91 black-and-white photographs collected and/or taken by Nichols during his trip to and time in Alaska. Included are images of the Cutter Bear, Alaska Natives, camps and boats, sailing ships, steamers, the Yukon and Kobuk Rivers, placer mining activities, individuals, and a hand-drawn map of the Koowak [Kobuk] River showing the winter trail of the natives and the prospecting area.

U.S. Revenue Cutter Service Photograph Collection, 1905-1923. Alaska State Library. Collection includes 130 black-and-white photoprints. Bio/History: The 190.4' barkentine Bear, built in Scotland in 1873, was purchased by the U.S. Government in 1884 for the Greely Relief Expedition. Transferred in 1885 to the United States Revenue Cutter Service, the Bear was active in Alaska waters from 1886-1924. From her home port in San Francisco, the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear usually made annual trips to Alaska with many ports of call, and served on the Bering Sea Patrol for protection of the seal fisheries. In 1905 the Bear, under Captain Oscar C. Hamlet, visited Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, Nome, Teller, Diomede Island, Siberia, Kivalina, Kodiak, Sitka and other locations. A letter by Captain Hamlet on this trip describes the diversity of duty, including transport of law officers to handle legal matters, school officials to inspect buildings and reindeer herds, carrying passengers, investigating complaints, landing mail, etc. One of the passengers was an Eskimo man looking for a wife. The Bear was decommissioned in 1944, sold in 1948, and sank in 1963 while under tow. [From: Bixby, William. Track of the Bear, p. 194-199, N.Y., David McKay Co., 1965.].

Logbooks of Rev. Cutter Bear, 1976. Archives, University of Alaska. Logbooks of the Bear and the Corwin, two ships in the employ of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service and early U.S. Coast Guard in the Alaska area.

Samuel J. Call Photograph Collection, 1892-1908.
Alaska State Library. Collection of 76 black-and-white photoprints depicts early Aleutian scenics, Eskimos and Eskimo art, tools, villages, graves, a game of blanket toss, lip ornaments, whaling vessels, Chernofski, Oomnak, and Sanak Stations, fur seals, Plover Bay, Siberia, "Tar-Tar'-ock" (guide and interpreter), sled dogs, "Rufe's Place" (barabara, Unalaska). Bio/History: Dr. Samuel Johnson Call was born in Missouri in 1858 and lived most of his early years in California. He went to work for the Alaska Commercial Company (headquartered in San Francisco) in 1880 and was sent to Unalaska, where he worked for about 5 years. In 1890 he left the Alaska Commercial Company went to work as a company surgeon aboard the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear. He played an active role in the 1892 reindeer acquisition program in Siberia. The Bear was based in San Francisco but traveled to Sitka and Kodiak, and spent summers and early falls in the Arctic. In August of 1899, Dr. Call resigned from the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service and sometime later went to Nome. There he practiced medicine and served as Quarantine Officer for the Marine Hospital Service and later as City Health Officer of Nome. In 1902 he became Collector and Inspector at the subport of Nome. He left Nome in August 1903 to go back to sea as surgeon on the U.S. Revenue Service Cutter Thetis and, in 1905, on the McCulloch. That year he received a gold medal for his "heroic service" in the whalers' relief expedition to the Arctic. He was forced to retire for health reasons during 1908 and died in Hollister, California, on February 6, 1909, five days before his 51st birthday. [From: "Dr Samuel J. Call," by Albert Cocke. Alaska Journal, v. 4, no. 3, 1974, pp. 181-188.].

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Captain Michael Healy

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