From the mid-eighteenth century on, cultural life in the northern valley of the St John River blended the traditions of Acadian and French Canadian settlers with those of American immigrants. In the southern valley, Mi'kmaq interacted with American newcomers and Loyalist settlers, while the later influx of Scottish and Irish immigrants introduced more layers of cultural traditions. Using an impressively diverse combination of artifacts, artwork, maps, and primary literature from over sixty museum collections and archives, Cook addresses the experiences of immigrants and artisans and their influence on the cultural boundaries along one of eastern North America's most important rivers. She moves beyond a mere catalogue of objects to provide an important comparative analysis of material heritage, showing how furniture embodied the lifestyles of differing groups of settlers.
"A wealth of material. Cook has a thorough grasp of furniture connoisseurship. By carefully analysing both furniture items and the historical backgrounds of many of the craftsmen, she argues forcefully that regional furniture traditions are a blend of the various cultural groups that settled this part of New Brunswick." Gerald L. Pocius, Centre for Material Culture Studies, Memorial University of Newfoundland and author of A Place to Belong: Community Order and Everyday Space in Calvert, Newfoundland "Informative and thought-provoking. Jane Cook is to be commended for daring to strike out in a new direction, into an area in which there are few established roadmarkers." Barry Moody, Department of History, Acadia University