BALTO'S TRUE STORY

History of the 1925 Nome Serum Run

A Little Blurb About Me

I created this website, as well as the forums associated with it (and linked to it) because of my passionate interest in the events of the 1925 Nome Serum Run.  My research has shown me that there is very little on the internet, let alone in print, which is reliable for those interested in learning about those events, and the people and dogs associated with them.

To make matters worse, so much of what people assume they know about the serum run is based on the events shown in the cartoon movie Balto (© 1995 Universal Pictures/Amblimation).  I don't mean to speak ill of the movie - it's very entertaining.  And very well-produced.  However, the events portrayed in it are only vaguely reminiscient of those of the actual 1925 Nome Serum Run.  Also, there are many completely fictional characters in it.  And, most troubling of all, Balto is reimagined, in the movie, as a wolf-dog hybrid (presumably to give the character's personal history, and his interactions with the other characters, more drama and angst).  To date, there are people who will far more readily believe that Balto really was a wolf-dog hybrid than the purebred Siberian husky he really was!  All because of this one movie, and the poorly-researched websites and children's books which have done nothing to dispel the fantasies created by this movie.

I have been interested in history since I was a kid.  My parents dragged my brother, sister and I around from one historical site to another in hopes of getting us interested in them, and in history in general.  My father especially, who is a big history buff (most specifically for military history, having served in both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps).  While I was still in college (Duquesne University, BA 1992), I got involved in American Civil War re-enacting, and my father joined up as well.  For sixteen consecutive years, we both enjoyed our experiences in the pastime, making countless friends and going places we might never have otherwise (though we are now both essentially retired from that activity).  And learning a great deal about the American Civil War...more than anyone can learn in school or by walking through a museum.  In time, this activity fostered in me an even stronger interest in learning about and preserving history.  My historical interests grew...out of an abiding interest in the American Revolution, the American Civil War, and World War II, to the events of the Titanic disaster, the "Golden Age" of piracy, and to the 1925 Nome Serum Run. 

In 1992, my father and I both became involved with the production of the movie Gettysburg (© 1993 Turner Pictures), spending much time working as film extras (including some great close-camera time I got during the film sequences involving the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment), and subsequently (in 2002) with the production of the movie Gods And Generals (© 2003 Turner Pictures).  The stories I could tell, of my experiences on both movies (and especially Gettysburg) would fill a website (or book) by themselves!  But they were truly amazing, and certainly memorable!

In these, and so many other historical events, are stories which most people never hear.  Dramas play out that are never imagined.  And people (and, in the case of events like the Nome Serum Run, animals too) who were once POWERFULLY alive, have their own stories to be discovered.  It's a shame that so many people (especially younger people) tend to look at history as a boring and bland exercise in facts, figures and dates.  They only see the very tip of the iceberg in ANY historical study...and miss so much.  That is why I re-enacted for so long, and that is why I created this site.  To keep those stories alive...to bring them out for people to SEE.  Those "boring" and "bland" events can become so much more dramatic and powerful when you know where to look, and take the time to learn about it.  They almost become entirely different from the cursory introductions you get in a history class, or a museum, or a movie or television show, or a website...or even some books. 

When I "connect" with some era of history which interests me, I connect with it very deeply..."spiritually" if you will.  And so it becomes very important to me that the stories associated with it are told correctly.  I consider it a great privilege to be able to make such a strong bond with history, and to feel such a sense of duty and dedication to it.  The people (and, as I said, the animals in some cases) who were there, and immersed in it, deserve that.  I hope that has come across in my work on this site, and in the forums I created to accompany it!

Historically Yours,

Earl J. Aversano
"BaltoSeppala"


(A picture of yours truly, taken in 2002 at the 140th Anniversary re-enactment of the
Battle of Antietam, held in Boonsboro, Maryland.  This was taken by collodion
photographer Robert Szabo with his special Civil War-era equipment and reproductions,
using the techniques of photography practiced in the 1860s.)