Travel Journals of Tappan Adney, 1887-1890


In 1887, at the age of just 18, intellectually and artistically gifted American Tappan Adney embarked on his first trip to New Brunswick. He had plans to enrol at Columbia University in the fall, primed for a meteoric rise in academia — but fate intervened. He fell under the spell of the wilderness of Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, and the local Maliseet people. Nothing escaped his curiosity, Adney embarked on hunting, fishing, and camping trips with Humboldt (Hum) Sharp, his future brother-in-law; Peter Joseph, who would become his Maliseet mentor; and Purps, Hum's hunting dog. Adney recorded his wilderness adventures in his journals through evocative sketches and memorable prose, including the detail of a caribou hunt decades before their extinction in this area of the country. Tappan Adney's writings, illustrations, and photographs were published in Harper's Magazine. His models of aboriginal canoes, now in many museum collections, helped save the birchbark canoe from oblivion.