M7426.1-2 | Cigar or cigarette case

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Cigar or cigarette case
Anonyme - Anonymous
Eastern Woodlands
Aboriginal: Huron-Wendat
1899, 19th century
Birchbark, moosehair, cotton thread, dyes
2.4 x 6.7 x 10.2 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Case (40)
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Keys to History

During the Victorian era it was the custom to leave your calling card at the home of people you wished to meet. And tourists were always searching for something exotic to take home as a reminder of their travels. In response, Huron-Wendat women began producing hand-made novelty objects that would meet this market demand.

Lorette was also producing other types of goods. The 1898 Rapport ethnologique du Canada states that 140,000 pairs of moccasins and 7,000 pairs of snowshoes were made there that year, while 20,000 animal hides were treated for future use. The Huron-Wendat community even had to hire French Canadians from the nearby parish of Saint-Ambroise to meet the demand.

  • What

    This case was used to store calling cards. Inside is an inscription in ink that reads: "City of Quebec, visited Augst. 11 to 14 - 1899."

  • Where

    Calling card cases and birchbark trays magnificently embroidered with moosehair were made in Wendake for sale to wealthy visitors. They were also sold in Quebec City.

  • When

    The inscription "1899," written in ink on the inside of the case, provides the date of its creation.

  • Who

    Huron-Wendat women took the initiative in adapting traditional artisanal techniques to the production of objects highly appreciated by tourists of the era.