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Nancy Mendenhall came to Alaska in 1961 from Washington, working as a teacher and commercial fisherman in southeastern Alaska. She moved to western Alaska in 1971, continuing her work as an educator and administrator. She settled in Nome, Alaska in 1973. Now retired, she pursues her interest in writing and fishes for subsistence. She has written Beachlines: A Pocket History of Nome, Alaska (1997). In 1996, she coordinated the original Communities of Memory project storytelling events in Nome.