A lavishly illustrated exploration of furniture made by immigrant settlers and professional artisans from diverse ethnic backgrounds in the St John River Valley of New Brunswick.
Unique nuances and styles often develop because of interactions between groups of people. By studying furniture produced and decorated by Mi'kmaq, Acadians, French Canadians, Americans, English, Scots, and Irish, Jane Cook shows that their diverse styles merged to create two distinct traditions of furniture making in different parts of the St John River Valley.
From the mid-eighteenth century on, cultural life in the northern valley of the St John River blended the traditions of Acadian and French Canadian settlers with those of American immigrants. In the southern valley, Mi'kmaq interacted with American newcomers and Loyalist settlers, while the later influx of Scottish and Irish immigrants introduced more layers of cultural traditions.
Using an impressively diverse combination of artifacts, artwork, maps, and primary literature from over sixty museum collections and archives, Cook addresses the experiences of immigrants and artisans and their influence on the cultural boundaries along one of eastern North America's most important rivers. She moves beyond a mere catalogue of objects to provide an important comparative analysis of material heritage, showing how furniture embodied the lifestyles of differing groups of settlers.