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This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
1875-1900, 19th century
30 cm
Purchase from Howard Erb
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum

Keys to History:

While a sailor might put a ship in a bottle, lumberjacks were not to be outdone in their scrimshaw work. This wood, ivory, bead and wool structure derives from a religious impulse, as the bells and cross indicate. Priests and ministers rarely visited lumber camps, given their relative isolation. The creator of this sculpture obviously kept his faith alive.

Source : All in a Day's Work: Lumbering in New Brunswick [Web tour], by New Brunswick Museum (see Links)


Scrimshaw is the art or practice of drawing or carving on pieces of ivory, whalebone or wood.


When a priest or minister arrived in camp, the cookhouse served as a church since it was often the place with the most space.


An old logger once recalled that only once in his life had he seen a lumberjack reading a Bible in camp.


Apart from the French and some of the Irish, lumberjacks were not regarded as religious men.

© Musée McCord Museum