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Elmer E. Rasmuson Library
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Elmer Rasmuson: A Life of Service: Government

Elmer Rasmuson: A Life of Service: The Papers of Elmer E. Rasmuson (1909-2000)

Elmer E. Rasmuson- A Life of Service - The Papers of Elmer E. Rasmuson (1909-2000)

Government

"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.

Elmer Rasmuson with President Reagan, ca. 1980

Photograph
Elmer Rasmuson with President Reagan, ca. 1980
Archives, Alaska and Polar Regions Collections
Elmer E. Rasmuson Papers 2001-128-15
Like his father, Elmer Rasmuson was a life-long Republican who generously supported his party.

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.

Portrait of Elmer Rasmuson as Swedish Consul, ca. 1967

Drawing
Portrait of Elmer Rasmuson as Swedish Consul, ca. 1967
Archives, Alaska and Polar Regions Collections
Elmer E. Rasmuson Papers 2001-128-37
Pencil drawing of Elmer Rasmuson as Swedish Consul by an unknown artist.

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.

Election Night, 1964

Photograph
"Election Night," 1964
Archives, Alaska and Polar Regions Collections
Elmer E. Rasmuson Papers 2001-128-16
Elmer and Mary Louise Rasmuson await the election results.

Swearing In, 1964

Photograph
Swearing In, 1964
Archives, Alaska and Polar Regions Collections
Elmer E. Rasmuson Papers 2001-128-17
Newly elected Mayor Elmer Rasmuson takes the oath of office.

 

City Council Meeting, 1964

Photograph
City Council Meeting, 1964
Archives, Alaska and Polar Regions Collections
Elmer E. Rasmuson Papers 2001-128-18
Mayor Elmer Rasmuson presides over a meeting of the Anchorage City Council.

"We're for Elmer" campaign sign, 1964

Printed Cardboard
"We're for Elmer" campaign sign, 1964
Archives, Alaska and Polar Regions Collections
Elmer E. Rasmuson Papers 2001-128-38

Senate Race (1968)

In 1967, following his term as mayor, EER announced his plans to run for the U.S. Senate. Rasmuson defeated Ted Stevens in the 1968 primary while Democrat Mike Gravel won a surprise victory over incumbent Senator Ernest Gruening, who then launched a write-in campaign. In November, Gravel won the general election with Rasmuson coming in second. EER accepted the defeat graciously and quickly moved on to other opportunities to serve.

Official Portrait, 1968

Photograph
Official Portrait, 1968
Archives, Alaska and Polar Regions Collections
Elmer E. Rasmuson Papers 2001-128-19
Official photograph of Elmer Rasmuson used in advertising for his 1968 U.S. Senate campaign.

Caravan for Rasmuson, 1968

Photograph
"Caravan for Rasmuson," 1968
Archives, Alaska and Polar Regions Collections
Elmer E. Rasmuson Papers 2001-128-20
Rasmuson visited many cities during his campaign for U.S. Senate. His supporters in Ketchikan, Alaska, organized a parade for him.

Campaigning in Rural Alaska, ca. 1968

Photograph
Campaigning in Rural Alaska, ca. 1968
Archives, Alaska and Polar Regions Collections
Elmer E. Rasmuson Papers 2001-128-21
Like many Alaskans, Elmer Rasmuson owned and operated his own plane. During his campaign, he visited several rural communities.

 

Rasmuson for U.S. Senator bumper sticker, ca. 1968

Sticker
"Rasmuson for U.S. Senator" bumper sticker, ca. 1968
Archives, Alaska and Polar Regions Collections
Elmer E. Rasmuson Papers 2001-128-39

 

Rasmuson for U.S. Senator bumper sticker, ca. 1968

Button
"Rasmuson for U.S. Senator" campaign button, ca. 1968
"Rasmuson for U.S. Senator" bumper sticker, ca. 1968
Archives, Alaska and Polar Regions Collections
Elmer E. Rasmuson Papers 2001-128-40
Rasmuson's supporters, the "Friends of Rasmuson" (FOR) managed his various campaign headquarters. They provided potential voters with items such as bumper stickers, pins, and balloons.

Elmer E. Rasmuson Library
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