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Elmer Rasmuson: A Life of Service

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"My interest in politics was the attainment of good government and I strongly believe that every citizen should spend some time and money thereon" (Cole and Rasmuson, Vol. 2, 105).

Elmer Rasmuson grew up in a family that was actively engaged in politics and community service. In 1932, Elmer's father became head of Alaska's Republican Party and served in this position until 1949. EER also became a Republican and while living in New York joined the Young Republicans Club. Over the course of his life, Rasmuson held a variety of political appointments and offices including Swedish Consul, Mayor of Anchorage, International North Pacific Fisheries Commissioner, and Chairperson of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation's Board of Directors.

Swedish Consul (1955-1977)

One of Rasmuson's earliest political appointments was to follow in his father's footsteps and serve as Consul of Sweden. Appointed in 1955, EER's duties included settling estates of Swedish nationals who died in Alaska, handling absentee ballots, and processing visas. In 1966, Swedish Consul General Per Anger presented Elmer Rasmuson with a Knighthood, First Class, Royal Order of Vasa. In 1977, he earned an even higher honor, the Royal Order of the Northern Star. When EER resigned in 1977, his son, Edward, received the consul appointment.

Mayor of Anchorage (1964-1967)

Following the 1964 earthquake, Rasmuson decided to run for Mayor of Anchorage. Elected that October, his most pressing concern was earthquake reconstruction and he directed his energies toward this goal. By 1965, Anchorage had recovered to such an extent that it received the "All-American City" award. Rasmuson also laid the groundwork for the merger of the city of Anchorage with the outlying borough of Anchorage, and he helped create the Anchorage Museum of History and Fine Art.

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Copyright 2006 - Archives, Alaska and Polar Regions Collections, Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks