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Lost Journal Unearthed


Sister & I in Alaska: An Illustrated Diary of a Trip to Alert Bay, Skagway, Juneau, and Sitka in 1907

Is there anything more thrilling than discovering a work long believed to be lost? Fans and scholars of Emily Carr – one of Canada’s foremost painters of the last century – knew that Carr had written a journal when she and her sister, Alice, travelled to Alaska in 1907, but nobody had seen it for decades and it was assumed gone forever.

More than half a century later this burgundy diary, fragile and bound together by tape, was found in an attic. Figure 1 published a slip-cased limited edition facsimile in October of 2013 that received national attention in the Globe & Mail.

To the dismay of many of Carr’s fans this edition sold out in less than forty-eight hours.

Now they can rejoice! The journal is now available in a beautiful hardcover edition.

The journal is a treasure. The trip is recorded in a playful manner in Carr’s text and colour illustrations. Carr appears to paint herself as a cantankerous companion while “sister” (as she refers to Alice throughout) is complacent. An old man is seemingly so impressed by Alice’s red hair and “gentle ways” that he takes the two out in a boat much to Emily Carr’s dismay. How can an account of having to drink brandy before crossing choppy waters not bring a smile to your face? The fact that this trip was a turning point for Carr in her life and her art makes this publication all the more special.

May 22, 2014
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