Beyond This Site

A great many books were written about the Klondike Gold Rush both at the time it was occurring, and after. One of the best contemporary sources for the rush is the annual reports of the North-West Mounted Police; those for the gold rush period are available online at Early Canadiana Online, though unfortunately for those wondering who discovered the gold, the police reports are not very helpful. They do, however, put the episode in a fascinating context.

Rather surprisingly perhaps, there was not a tremendous amount of interest in the gold rush in Canada until the publication fifty years ago of the late Pierre Berton’s book Klondike: The Life and Death of the Last Great Gold Rush, a book which sold many thousands of copies, defined the episode for several generations of readers, and is still in print. Anyone who wants information on the rush should read this book first. Other good books on the rush and the Yukon generally are these:

Berton, Laura. I Married the Klondike. Toronto: Little, Brown, 1954. Laura Berton was Pierre Berton’s mother.

She went to the Klondike to teach school in the years after the gold rush, and her autobiography is one of the best first-person accounts of the era.

Coates, K.S. and W.R. Morrison. Land of the Midnight Sun: A History of the Yukon. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s

University Press, second edition, 2005. This is a general history of the Yukon.

Coates, K.S. and W.R. Morrison. Strange Things Done: Murder in Yukon History. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s

University Press, 2005. A history and social analysis of Yukon murder cases, including two from the gold rush era.

Coates, K.S. Best Left as Indians: Native-White Relations in the Yukon Territory, 1840-1973. Montreal:

McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1973. A study of the relations between First Nations and newcomers.

Cruikshank, Julie. Life Lived Like a Story: Life Stories of Three Yukon Native Elders. Vancouver: University of

British Columbia Press, 1990. First-person accounts from Yukon First Nations.

McClellan, Catharine. Part of the Land, Part of the Water: A History of the Yukon Indians. Vancouver:

Douglas & McIntyre, 1987. A beautifully illustrated history of Yukon First Nations.

Morrison, W.R. Showing the Flag: The Mounted Police and Canadian Sovereignty in the North, 1894-1925. Vancouver:

University of Northern British Columbia Press, 1985. A history of law and authority in the Yukon.

Whyard, Flo, ed. Martha Louise Black. Anchorage: Alaska Northwest Publishing, 1986.

An edited autobiography of a woman who came north with the gold rush and stayed for sixty years.

Wright, A.A. Prelude to Bonanza: The Discovery and Exploration of the Yukon. Whitehorse: Arctic Start

Printing, 1980. A history of the Yukon before the gold rush.

Interesting and useful websites on the gold rush can be found at: (an American one)


There is a great collection of photographs, some of which have been used on this site, at: