Voyage with the Labrador Eskimos, 1880-1881 (softcover)


Voyage with the Labrador Eskimos, 1880-1881
2nd edition (released 2019-12-01)
Original manuscript by Johan Adrian Jacobsen
English translation by Hartmut Lutz and Dieter Riedel
300 pages, 54 illustrations/photographs
ISBN 978-1-7750815-3-1

In August 1880, Norwegian Johan Adrian Jacobsen recruited two Labrador Inuit families to become the latest attraction in a European ethnographical exhibit, now known as a 'human zoo.' The eight individuals, aged nine months to 50 years, were exhibited in Hamburg, Berlin, Prague, and Frankfurt before they suddenly started dying. One died in Darmstadt, two in Crefeld, the remaining five in Paris.

Should I be indirectly responsible for their death? Did I just have to lead these poor honest people from their home to find their graves here on foreign soil? Oh, how everything became so totally different than I had thought. (J. A. Jacobsen, January 16, 1881)

Discover the moods, thoughts and qualms of this 27-year-old man; from his unsuccessful attempt to recruit 'Eskimos' in Greenland, his despair to see that Moravian missionaries in Labrador also opposed his project, his jubilation when Abraham agreed to accompany him with his family, to his shock of facing the first two deaths after doctors had told him there was no reason to be alarmed, the heartbreaking moment when Abraham had to hand over his three-year-old daughter to a hospital in Germany, and finally, the horror of being admitted to the smallpox unit of a Paris hospital where the 'Eskimos' as well as Europeans suffered and died around him.

"When I saw to Ulrike shortly after midnight, I noticed that she too would end her struggle soon. I tried to comfort her, but she waved me off with her hand, as if she did not want to see me at all. That was no surprise, because she knew that all the others had gone before her. I felt guilty to a certain degree for the death of these unfortunate people, even if unintentionally. Had I not come to Labrador, they would still be alive like all their relatives." (Johan Adrian Jacobsen, January 16, 1881)

This second edition of Voyage with the Labrador Eskimos, 1880-1881, has been expanded from 86 to 300 pages. It includes the English translation of a larger extract of Jacobsen’s diary, new findings, and additional information such as correspondence from family, friends, and business partners, plus 54 photos and illustrations.

What they said about Voyage with the Labrador Eskimos, 1880-1881

"... the research and translation work realized by France Rivet, Hartmut Lutz, Dieter Riedel, and all others involved in this project is an outstanding example of how Jacobsen’s archive can be fruitful for matters of the past, present, and future."

Christine Chávez and Barbara Plankensteiner, Museum am Rothenbaum - World Cultures and Arts (MARKK), Hamburg, Germany.

"I read the book Voyage With the Labrador Eskimos, 1880-1881 all in one go.  What a sad story and all this because they neglected to administer a vaccine which was available. This book, a particular and a slightly repetitive journal, is a valuable addition to the Diary of Abraham Ulrikab. Both illustrate the Europeans’ exploitation attitude for commercial purposes and the curiosity of the Inuit who want to see the wonders of a country they cannot imagine." (Translation of the original text in French)

Dr. Denis Saint-Onge, O.C., Emeritus Professor, Department of Geography, University of Ottawa, ON

"WOW! What a great book. I read it in one go. It is really exciting and gives a wonderful view of the times."

Marianne Stenbaek, professor of Cultural Studies, English Department, McGill University, Montréal, QC

"I loved it very much!!! Like Johan Adrian started his journey, I slowly began my reading then I really got into it, carefully following the events. I was moved and saddened by the death of the 'Eskimos.' This diary is like a thriller we know the ending to, but we seek to understand the circumstances that led to their death." (Translation of the original text in French)

Sylvie Pinsonneault, Montréal, QC

Click here to read more testimonials.

This book can be read as a stand-alone but it is important to understand that it is being published as part of an endeavour that ultimately aims to repatriate to Canada the Inuit's human remains. Voyage With the Labrador Eskimos, 1880-1881 is therefore being published as a complement to the book In the Footsteps of Abraham Ulrikab: The Events of 1880-1881 which provides the full account of the Inuit's story based on the primary source documents we were able to uncover by the time the book had to go to press.

This book can be ordered from your favorite bookstore or several online retailers. The English version also available in the EPUB format through online retailers.

For more information or to see the press coverage Abraham's story has received: