COLLECTION: Household Accessories

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Moosehair and Birch Bark Box by Unknown Maker

Origin: North America, possibly Canada
OH: 1 1/2", Diam.: 1 9/16", Circum.: 5 5/8"
Birch bark & moose hair
Gift of Beatrix T. Rumford
Acc. No. 2009-161
This is a small cylindrical box, of the type known as a pill box. It consists of embroidery in moose hair on birch bark. The box is made in three parts, with a top lid, bottom base, and inner tight fitting liner.
The decoration on the box consists of a pineapple, white "star" flower, and pair of leaves with scrolling tendril on the top; leaf with six buds on the side of the top; and six-leaf elements with two buds each on the side of the bottom.
An inscription on the base of the box reads: "C.M.F. CORNELL -/ PURCHASED/ AUG 11- 1856/ AT NIAGARA FALLS/ ON/ GOAT ISLAND."
Label:Popular Native American tourist souvenirs of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were often made of bark and fabric objects embroidered in dyed moose hair. The objects were usually small cases such as sewing boxes and pill boxes like this one. Much of this type of work has been attributed to the Huron and Mikmaq. An inscription on the base of the box indicates it was purchased on Goat Island at Niagara Falls in 1856. This was a popular tourist site.
Provenance:From the collection of Beatrix T. Rumford.
Mark(s):"C.M.F. CORNELL -/ PURCHASED/ AUG 11- 1856/ AT NIAGARA FALLS/ ON/ GOAT ISLAND."