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Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 3 months ago

Elizabeth Miller Ricker


Elizabeth "Peg" Miller Ricker Nansen (b. 1900, d. 16 January 1991) was very much a "deb" of the 1920s. She was married to Edward Payson Ricker, Jr., a scion of the Hiram Ricker family who had built the massive and ornate Poland Spring House resort hotel in South Poland, Maine, when she met Leonhard Seppala, whose tour of the U.S.A. with 44 Siberian dogs and an Eskimo handler, Theodore Kingeak, terminated in the Rickers' dooryard (probably accompanied by Arthur Walden).

In the course of the famous 1927 challenge race between Seppala and Walden, Liz Ricker was a participant, driving a team of Walden Chinooks. She lost control of her team on the trail and got left behind. The loose team caught up with Seppala, who stopped to hold them while Ricker caught up with her dogs on foot. The experience must have impressed her, as soon thereafter she had formed a partnership with Seppala and the first historic Seppala Kennels became a reality at Poland Spring, Maine.

Ricker managed the kennel during Seppala's seasonal returns to Alaska between 1927 and 1931. In winter Sepp and Liz Ricker raced two teams in New England and Quebec competition. Seppala's ageing leader Togo was given to Ricker and became a family pet in the Ricker home until his death.

One New Year's Eve at the ski resort in St. Jovite Station, Quebec, Liz Ricker met Kaare Nansen, son of Norwegian Arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen. She divorced Ted Ricker and married Nansen after a whirlwind courtship and departed with him for Norway, apparently leaving Seppala with a hotel bill he could not pay, because [Harry R. Wheeler], owner of Grey Rocks Inn in St. Jovite, wound up with the key dogs from the Poland Spring kennel, including the three 1930 Siberia Imports Kree Vanka, Tserko and Volchok.

Elizabeth Nansen continued her involvement with Siberian dogs sporadically in later life, first as owner of Manawan Kennels and later as Sakonnet Kennels in Ottawa, Ontario. She purchased Ditko of Seppala from [JDMcFaul | Donnie McFaul as a gift to her daughter Bunty's Snow Ridge Kennels, as she said, "so she will have at least one Siberian like those that Seppala and I had in the 1920s." She was well known in Canadian dog circles and became a licensed C.K.C. show judge. She also authored several books, including Seppala, Alaskan Dog Driver and Togo's Fireside Reflections.


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