The Selkie and the Fur Trade: Eliza Keary’s ‘Little Seal-skin’, by John Miller

An 1889 article in Bow Bells articulated a common sentiment in the late nineteenth century: ‘There is nothing […] so luxurious as a fur garment [and] nothing quite so lovely as a sealskin.’ Sealskin’s pre-eminence in Victorian fashion was built on the bodies of northern fur seals, a species resident mainly in the North Pacific with the majority of the population concentrated in the Bering Strait. It was America’s purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867 that made the remains of these creatures available to the European fur trade in unprecedented numbers: in…continue reading →