Apr 13, 2023 - Sale 2633

Sale 2633 - Lot 3

Price Realized: $ 8,125
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 12,000 - $ 18,000
(ALASKA.) Suzanne Rognon Bernardi. The Story of a Whale Hunt. 28 photographs, various sizes, mounted in an album with extensive manuscript text. [25] leaves. Oblong 8vo, original plain cloth, minor wear and light staining; lacking two tissue guards; partial label of the notebook manufacturer and early owner's inscription on rear pastedown. Wales, AK, circa 1906

Additional Details

Suzanne Rognon Bernardi (1870-1953) came to Alaska in 1901 to work as a teacher and missionary, and remained there through 1912. She compiled several of these albums, all of them titled "Story of a Whale Hunt," but each with different text and different arrangements of photographs. Some of the photographs were taken by her brother Jack Rognon. This album describes a whale hunting season, as a narrative of Iñupiaq life in the village of Wales, at the westernmost tip of the Alaskan coast. The first image in the book is of Mrs. Bernardi wearing traditional Iñupiaq garb. Another shows hunters in a sweat lodge, captioned "The men dance, and feast, and sweat, and fast for days before their first hunt. The women may only go to the entrance of the dance house to carry material for work or food." Another shows a man chest-deep in a half-submerged whale carcass on the shore. One of the captions mentions a whaling ship which had been trapped in the ice in August 1906.

Reference: Susan Fair, "Story of a Whale Hunt: Suzanne Rognon Bernardi's Photographs and Observations of Iñupiaq Whaling, Wales, Alaska, 1901–1902," in Indigenous Ways to the Present: Native Whaling in the Western Arctic, pages 357-386.

Provenance: inscribed by Edna Allison Van Clowes Crowley (1888-1946), who was born and raised in Butte, Montana, and removed to Danvers, Massachusetts after her marriage. Her brother Theodore M. Clowes practiced as an attorney in Nome, Alaska in 1910, and may have given this album as a gift. Thence by descent to her great-grandchild, the consignor.