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More from France Rivet on Voyage with the Labrador Eskimos 1880-81


In the spring of 2015, France Rivet told the CNS the story of the eight Labrador Inuit who were recruited by Norwegian Johan Adrian Jacobsen and brought to Europe to be exhibited in zoos. Many CNS members purchased a copy of her book on the subject. On December 1, 2019, she published the second edition of the diary Jacobsen kept during his travels with the Labrador Inuit. The book has gone from the original 86 pages to 300 pages! Dieter Riedel, husband of CNS member Doreen Riedel, assisted with this project.

Here is France’s own description of the new edition:

The first edition consisted of the English translation of the main portion of Johan Adrian Jacobsen’s 1880-1881 diary. It covered the period from June 28, 1880 (as he was sailing to Greenland to recruit Inuit to bring back to Europe) to January 20, 1881 (four days after the death of the last survivor of the group of eight Labrador Inuit). This portion of the diary was translated by Professor Hartmut Lutz from the University of Greifswald.

Thanks to Dieter Riedel, the husband of CNS Member Doreen Larsen-Riedel, we now have access to a larger extract of Jacobsen’s diary. It starts in October 1879, when Jacobsen, his brother Jacob Martin, and zoo owner Carl Hagenbeck had the idea of purchasing a ship to travel to the Arctic to recruit Inuit; and it goes until July 24, 1881, the day before Jacobsen headed on his next mission: collecting artifacts on the Northwest Coast of North America for the Berlin Ethnology Museum. But that’s not all, thanks to Dieter’s dedication, this new edition also includes the English translation of:


• Jacobsen’s letters with the Greenland Inspector in July 1880 when he was denied the permission to bring Greenlanders to Europe.

• Over 25 letters, Jacobsen received from family, friends, and business partners between November 9, 1880, and Dec 2, 1881, which mention the Labrador Inuit or give us insight into the world of 19th century “human zoos.”

• Excerpts from two publications by Jacobsen where he talks about his travels on the Eisbar.

• The 1880 registration documents for the ship Eisbar.


Other additions include a new foreword, a revised and expanded introduction, an afterword, and an index. The number of photos and illustrations has gone from 14 to 54.


France Rivet notes that:

The book can be obtained in paper and ebook format from various online retailers such as Amazon, Indigo/Kobo, etc. It can also be ordered from your favourite local bookstore or directly from Polar Horizons, the publisher. We sincerely hope that this new enlarged edition will prove to be worthwhile and meaningful to all who have an interest in better understanding the story of Abraham Ulrikab, his family, and companions who shared the last four months of their lives with Johan Adrian Jacobsen.


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