Tappan Adney

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Loading gold on pack horses, Bonanza, YT, 1898 by Edwin Tappan Adney

Edwin Tappan Adney (July 13, 1868 in Athens, Ohio - October 10, 1950) was an artist, a writer, a photographer and the man credited with saving the art of birchbark canoe construction. He built more than 100 models of different types, which are now housed at the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Virginia. He authored a book, The Klondike Stampede about the Klondike Gold Rush. His photos of the Klondike Gold rush c. 1899 are available online via the McCord Museum.[1]

He was one of the first photojournalists to pass safely through British Columbia. As a writer for Harper's Weekly, he was sent with his camera to the Yukon from 1897 to 1898. His classic illustrated book concerns his experiences in the Yukon, of which numerous editions have been printed. He returned there to briefly report on the Nome Gold Rush in 1900. He retired first to Montreal, then to New Brunswick, the place where his wife was born.

He married Minnie Bell Sharp of Woodstock, New Brunswick in 1899. She was the subject of a trial when she refused to pay her School Taxes.

In 1916, he joined the Royal Canadian Engineers. He became a Canadian citizen in 1917. He spent his World War I career as an engineering officer at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario (1916 - 1919) constructing scale models of fortifications for training purposes. After the war, he created a set of three-dimensional shields of the Canadian provinces that adorn Currie Hall at Royal Military College of Canada.

In Montreal, Quebec he created heraldic art, worked for the Museum of McGill University as a consultant on aboriginal lore, and consulted to McCord Museum on canoes 1920-33.

The lobby of the Hudson's Bay Company store on the corner of Portage Avenue and Memorial Boulevard in Winnipeg, Manitoba c. 1925 was decorated with immense murals depicting scenes of the Company's early history by Edward Tappan Adney. Although one mural was removed and "The Pioneer" at Fort Garry, 1861 - remains to this day.[2]

His photos of rural Ontario c. 1930 are available online via the McCord Museum.[1] He then moved to Montreal, Quebec 1920-33 where he created heraldic art, worked for the Museum of McGill University as a consultant on aboriginal lore, and consulted to McCord Museum on canoes.

He is buried in the Upper Woodstock Cemetery, Woodstock, New Brunswick.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bark Canoes, The Art and Obsession of Tappan Adney Jennings, John. A Firefly Book, 2004. ISBN 1-55297-733-1
  • The Klondike Stampede, by Tappan Adney, Special Correspondent of Harper’s Weekly in the Klondike (New York: Harpers, 1900).
  • The Sharp Family, 1908
  • The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America, Bulletin of the United States National Museum, with Howard I. Chappelle, 1964

References[edit]