This pair of beautifully decorated boots intricately constructed by a coastal Alaskan Native skin sewer was donated to the Peabody Museum in 1925 by John Weare (Harvard Class of 1907) in memory of his father, Charles. Charles Ashley Weare, born September 7 1852 in Iowa, was one of six directors of the North American Transportation and Trading Company which provided tools, clothing, provisions, and transportation for miners in the gold fields of Alaska during the late nineteenth century. The company’s steamboats traveled from Seattle to St. Michael’s Island, by way of the Aleutian Islands, and then went on to mining points along the Yukon River. Charles Ashley Weare is known to have traveled to these regions numerous times during the 1890s, and it was during these trips that he became interested in the indigenous cultures and began to collect objects created by Alaskan Natives. After his father’s death, John Weare generously donated his father’s collection to the Peabody Museum.
The museum’s collection records identify the materials of the objects simply as “leather, fur, sinew, [and] wool yarn.” After examining the boots, there appeared to be at least nine different mammalian materials present. Four of these materials included those seen in the images above.