Letter on birchbark



Length x width: 12.7 x 7.6 cm (5 x 3 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Birch bark, ink

Not On View

Letter on Birch bark, written on both sides. Text reads as follows: Hamilton’s Isles, August 18, 1870 Ma. Plus Chere Soeur, I have selected the thinnest piece of birch bark I can find - this specimen is the nearest approach to foreign note paper the island affords. I dearseay it will appear very foreign indeed the thought has just struck me that it would have been more apropos if I had said above India (n) note paper - all the young ladies (save Mark) of whom there are many down here for the “Land of Liberty” are busily employed just now in making autograph albums & all the young men are expected to inscribe their names?) - They are the most extraordinary race - they afford me great amusement in nothing their peculiarities - the other day I was sitting the “Loud sounding Shore” when a boat load of visitors to the American camp approached. A number of persons came down to greet them - as soon as one of the boars touched the shore an elderly young lady of about 30 summers skipped forth and was quickly locked in the maternal embrace and as soon as this touching greeting was concluded, the fair visitor took a sweeping view of the camp and then exclaimed in drawling nasal tones “Wal Mumah how nice you have got things fixed”. I am afraid this little anecdote has consumed all my room, so for the present must conclude. Ever your devoted. “Herbert”


Acquired through Willis Henry Auctions, Marshfield, MA, by John Molloy Gallery, New York; April 19, 1994, sold by Molloy Gallery to James Frank, LaJolla, CA; consigned by Frank to Molloy Gallery; 2013, sold by Molloy Gallery to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 26, 2013)

Credit Line

Partial gift of James Frank and the Frank B. Bemis Fund and Hilsinger Janson Fund for Native American Art