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  • Writer's pictureLynn Lovegreen

Alaska History: Flying Nell Scott

fuzzy black and white photo of Nell Scott's face
Photo of Nell Scott courtesy of

Lots of important events in Alaska history happened in January. For example, Alaska became a state on January 3, 1959. Another interesting but little-known event is that Nell Scott became our first female legislator on January 11, 1937.


Nell Scott grew up in Washington and moved to Anchorage with her husband in 1923, and worked as a legal secretary. She and her husband moved to Seldovia (a small town on Kachemak Bay across from Homer) when he was appointed Deputy United State Marshal in 1934. Nell and another woman (Juanita Anderson) ran for a seat in the 3rd District, which covered a huge area from the Aleutian Islands to the Copper River Valley. “Flying Nell Scott” campaigned by piloting her plane all over the district and speaking with people one-on-one. The unusual strategy worked, and she became the first woman to serve in the Alaska Territorial Legislature.


Nell Scott served for one term, and moved back to Washington. But her session accomplished several things, including creating the Alaska Aeronautics and Communications Commission, establishing compulsory educations for ages 7 to 16, and founding a Department of Public Welfare. I’m thankful for her service, and for starting a long line of women in our legislative body.

To learn more, check out these websites:

Seldovia Remembers Nell Scott:

Alaska Woman’s Hall of Fame Class of 2009 Nell (Chadwick) Scott:


13th Territorial Legislature:

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