Ralph Julian Rivers

Ralph Julian Rivers
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alaska's at-large district
In office
January 3, 1959  December 30, 1966
Preceded by Bob Bartlett (Delegate)
Succeeded by Howard W. Pollock
Personal details
Born (1903-05-23)May 23, 1903
Seattle, Washington
Died August 14, 1976(1976-08-14) (aged 73)
Chehalis, Washington
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Washington

Ralph Julian Rivers (May 23, 1903 – August 14, 1976) was a Democratic United States Representative from Alaska.


Born in Seattle, Washington, Rivers attended grammar school in Flat, Alaska, and Franklin High School in Seattle. He worked as a gold miner in Flat from 1921 to 1923, and then earned an LL.B. from the University of Washington in 1929. He then worked as a lawyer in private practice for several years.

Rivers, at bottom left, celebrating Alaska becoming a state on January 3, 1959. Behind Rivers is Bob Atwood. To his left are Fred Seaton, Ernest Gruening, Bob Bartlett, Mike Stepovich and Waino Hendrickson.

Rivers was a lifelong civil servant, working in a number of public positions throughout his life. He served as United States district attorney for the fourth judicial division, district of Alaska, from 1933 to 1944. He was then elected as the attorney general of Alaska, serving from 1945 to 1949. He was the chair of the Employment Security Commission of Alaska from 1950 to 1952, and then became the mayor of Fairbanks, Alaska from 1952 to 1954. In 1954 he was also president of the League of Alaskan Cities. He was a member of the Alaska Territorial Senate in 1955, and was the second vice president of the Alaska Constitutional Convention at College, Alaska in 1955 and 1956. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1960, 1964, and 1968.

U.S. House of Representatives

In 1957 and 1958, Rivers was a United States Representative-elect under the Alaska-Tennessee Plan in Washington, D.C., on a provisional basis, pending statehood. Upon the admission of Alaska as a State into the Union, he was elected as a Democrat to the Eighty-sixth and to the three succeeding Congresses and served from January 3, 1959 until December 30, 1966. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the Ninetieth Congress in 1966, resigning days before the end of his term.

Rivers died in Chehalis, Washington, and his remains were cremated. His ashes were interred at Sunset Memorial Gardens.

Electoral history

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Alaska's at-large congressional district: Results 1958–1966[1]

Year Republican Votes Pct Democrat Votes Pct
1958 Henry A. Benson 20,699 42.5% Ralph J. Rivers 27,948 57.5%
1960 R. L. Rettig 25,517 43.2% Ralph J. Rivers (inc.) 33,546 56.8%
1962 Lowell Thomas, Jr. 26,638 44% Ralph J. Rivers (inc.) 33,953 56%
1964 Lowell Thomas, Jr. 32,556 48.5% Ralph J. Rivers (inc.) 34,590 51.5%
1966 Howard W. Pollock 34,040 51.6% Ralph J. Rivers (inc.) 31,867 48.4%


  1. "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bob Bartlett (Non-voting delegate)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alaska's at-large congressional district

January 3, 1959 – December 30, 1966
Succeeded by
Howard Wallace Pollock
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