Laurel Bill is a third-generation Alaskan and has published five books about Alaska’s history. Her aunt, Phyllis Downing Carlson, for whom the series is named, was the Alaska reference librarian for the ZJ Loussac Library when it was located in downtown Anchorage. She wrote many articles about Anchorage and Alaska for national magazines and newspapers, and she won many national awards for her work.
Laurel inherited her body of work following her death in 1993. When she saw the quality and extent of what her aunt Phil had done, she knew I had to share the stories. That’s what motivated her to return to college at age 48, as she knew she needed to gain the literary tools necessary to do the job right.
Laurel earned her degree in journalism, with a minor in history, from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2003, took an internship with Alaska Newspapers, became one of its main reporters and started an Alaska history column titled Aunt Phil’s Trunk. The column continues to be printed in the Senior Voice monthly newspaper.