Meet Dee Longenbaugh, proprietor of The Observatory, ABAA.

Dee arrived in Alaska in 1963. Except for two years in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she has lived and worked in the state ever since. Dee opened The Observatory in Sitka, Alaska in 1977, to share her passion for Russian America, books, and antiquarian maps. 

Since long before the advent of the Internet, Dee has served customers all over the world by mail, telephone, and fax, not to mention those who drop in to her shop.

Long-time customers followed The Observatory’s move to the capital of Alaska in 1992, when Dee located the shop in the 1922 Alaska Electric Light and Power building, in Juneau’s downtown historic district. The shop’s comfortable, homey character reflects Dee’s focus on good reading, beautiful antique maps, and interesting conversation. 

As the only certified book appraiser in Alaska, Dee is frequently called upon to appraise books singly and in lots for individuals, libraries, and estates. She also appraises antiquarian maps.

The Observatory has long been a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, a national organization open only to experienced, ethical dealers. ABAA is affiliated with the International League of Antiquarian Bookdealers (ILAB).

For more than 20 years, Dee has traveled every autumn to Europe to find rare and interesting antiquarian maps and books for The Observatory. She usually combines this trip with the annual symposium of the International Map Collectors’ Society (IMCoS) and the semi-annual International Conference on the History of Cartography, where she has presented papers to other map historians.

In addition to her work at The Observatory, Dee is an historian and author of numerous articles on the history of Alaska. She is in demand as a lecturer to museum and school groups, and currently is writing a book about the history of mapping of Alaska.

In the decades since she opened The Observatory’s doors, Dee has amassed a stock of over three thousand books, many of them about Alaska and other polar regions. She has gained a reputation for extreme persistence in searching for those out-of-print books that the shop does not have on hand. Dee’s stock of antiquarian maps is also wide-ranging, and her prices, both for books and for maps, have always been hard to beat.

Contact Dee Longenbaugh

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