Seward’s Folly


Sir, – I read Wesley Boyd’s article on Andrew Johnson, held to be among one of the worst holders of the office of US president, with interest (An Irishman’s Diary, January 2nd).

Johnson’s secretary of state was William Seward, not Steward, as stated. His purchase of Alaska from the Russians was known at the time as Seward’s Folly. Few appreciated the merits of acquiring Alaska.

While on a J1 visa in the late 1980s, I worked as a part-time caretaker for William Seward’s great-grandson and his wife on their holiday home on Nantucket Island. Their home was called Seward’s Wisdom.

Alaska proved to be a profitable acquisition for the US after all. – Yours, etc,


Turners Cross,