Mary Antisarlook, popularly known as Sinrock Mary, was at one point the wealthiest woman in Alaska. She made her fortune by controlling a herd of approximately 1,500 reindeer, which she inherited after her second husband’s death in 1900. Mary was able to keep the herd together despite numerous legal challenges to her ownership, including those filed by a Swedish schemer who alleged to be her third husband, a conniving mail carrier, and even her own nephews, who argued that Inupiat inheritance traditions always favored males. Yet Mary was also the rare tycoon who did not pay mere lip service to the notion of personal asceticism, as recounted in a definitive 1984 article from Pacific Northwest Quarterly:
The income from her reindeer permitted her to adopt 11 children and to care for countless others…Despite her wealth and success in a rather sedentary occupation that was for eign to Eskimos, who usually changed their abodes with the seasons, Mary remained in outlook an Eskimo woman who fished for salmon and tomcod, dried seal meat and fish for the winter, picked berries and greens, and prepared skins for sewing.
I am trying to picture Marissa Mayer drying seal meat, but the image just isn’t coalescing for me.
Teaser for a Sinrock Mary documentary here.