October 25, 2010

The Snow Baby

snow_baby_peary.jpg

Admiral Robert Peary's wife Josephine accompanied him on several of his early expeditions to Greenland, including the one where he pretty much swiped Ahnighto, the massive meteorite fragment which had been the Inuit's primary source of iron for centuries, and sold it to the American Museum of Natural History.

Anyway, in 1893, Josephine gave birth to the couple's daughter Marie Ahnighto Peary, who became famous locally for being pink--the Inuit called her Snow Baby--and who became famous internationally for being born in the friggin' frozen tundra of Greenland.

snow_baby_peary_cover.jpg

Snow Baby spawned a worldwide merchandising craze of mostly porcelain figurines, but in 1901 Mrs. Peary decided to get in on the action. She published a photo storybook of Marie's Inuit childhood titled, obviously, The Snow Baby: A True Story With True Pictures. If someone can guarantee that the photo up top of a slightly freaked out Snow Baby in a sealskin-covered high chair is in the book, I just might have to spring for the $100+ price tag.

Meanwhile, what's not in the book: Josephine's story of running into her husband's various Inuit baby mamas while her husband was out pretending to discover the North Pole or whatever. True Story!

Hmm. Since I first discovered this, someone haspublished a print-on-demand scanned version of The Snow Baby for just $14. [amazon]

The Real Snow Baby [zianet]
About Peary [pearyeagleisland.com]

1 Comment

loves loves love

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