Monday, August 27, 2012

A "Cool" Picture for Summer's End

Photo taken by Capt. Comer ca. 1907-1909, at Cape Fullerton or Repulse Bay, Hudson Bay. Depicts Inuit group traveling with sled, snow house in background. Identified by Comer as "Native family starting on their return home, having come to the vessel to trade." The museum has a large collection of glass negative images taken by Comer in his travels to Hudson Bay. (Accession number 1983.25.47)
    A few years ago Fred Calabretta, Curator of Collections and Oral Historian at Mystic Seaport, orchestrated an exhibit entitled FROZEN IN after spending years researching the life of George Comer. The following text is from that exhibit:

    "Captain George Comer [1858-1937] experienced a life of adventure, discovery and success. He traveled the oceans in search of seals, sea elephants and whales. Although a sailor by trade, his life is best defined by his remarkable relationship with people he encountered in the far North.

    Young George and his widowed mother endured a life of poverty and wandering until he was placed with a foster family in East Haddam, Connecticut in 1869. Six years later, at the age of 17, he sailed on a New London whaleship bound for the Arctic. This cold and challenging land became his second home. Over a period of 44 years, he returned 13 times.

    He possessed a fascination with the natural world, recording detailed observations of remote regions and collecting animals, birds, and plants. As he came to know the Arctic, something more captured his imagination. He was drawn to the Inuit - the native people of Hudson Bay. He marveled at their ingenuity and skills. Among these people he found friendship and a purpose. With little education or formal training, George Comer dedicated himself to the documentation of Inuit life ways and traditional culture."

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