Cole, Terrence. Fighting for the Forty-Ninth Star: C.W. Snedden and the Crusade for Alaska Statehood. Fairbanks, AK: University of Alaska Foundation, 2010.
This is the story of an independent newspaper publisher from Fairbanks who played a pivotal role in the making of modern Alaska. In the 1950s C.W. Snedden, the owner of the Fairbanks Daily News Miner, used his newspaper to crusade for statehood and the development of Alaska and its resources, particularly North Slope oil and gas.
Despite overwhelming popular support for Alaska to enter the Union, southern Democratic politicians, who feared Alaska would tip the balance of power in Congress in favor of civil rights legislation, had successfully blocked its admission for many years. As a confidant of Interior Secretary Fred A. Seaton, Snedden had unrivaled access to the top ranks of the Eisenhower Administration. With his protégé, Interior Department attorney Ted Stevens—who would go on to serve in the U.S. Senate longer than any Republican in American history—Snedden lobbied reluctant congressman and orchestrated a national press campaign to push through the statehood legislation. Snedden also collaborated with Seaton and Stevens to create the Arctic Wildlife Range—known today as the Alaska National Wildlife Range—which reserved part of the North Slope for conservation purposes, and opened much of the rest—including Prudhoe Bay—for oil development, which would play suck a crucial role in financing the young state.
When President Eisenhower signed the statehood proclamation on January 3, 1959, C.W. Snedden received one of the ten pens used in the ceremony, a fitting tribute to one of the unsung heroes of the statehood cause, and a man who did so much behind the headlines to fight for the forty-ninth state.