This is a rare pair of mittens that were made at the Grenfell Mission of northern Newfoundland and Labrador - the mission also served Quebec’s Lower North Shore. The mission was established in 1892 by Dr Wilfred Grenfell to provide medical services to the impoverished population, consisting primarily of fishermen, their dependents, and the Inuit / native aboriginals. The mission established a “village industry department”, which had as an aim to provide employment and fund the mission. One of the endeavours, aside from the establishment of lumber mills and agriculture, was a handicraft industry that became famous for its hooked rugs. This pair of mittens would have been produced by the handicraft industry, I would think during the 1930s, maybe early 40s. They are made of embroidered rabbit skin and trimmed in white rabbit fur. The embroidery is made in a floral form, tightly stitched in tones of blue, green, brown and red. I’m wondering if this might have been produced by Inuit craftswomen, although I don’t know for sure. There is a cloth label affixed to the interior that reads “Grenfell Mission Industries Hand Made in Newfoundland & Labrador”. The mittens are fully lined in blue rayon acetate. They measure 9 1/2” around the opening and 3 3/4” across the palm, so should fit about a size 7 1/2. They have a length of 11 3/4”, including the fur trim. They are in very good condition - the rabbit skin has a “crinkly” texture, but I believe that this is normal for rabbit skin. In any case, these probably should be kept as collectibles rather than be worn - I haven’t been able to find a similar pair anywhere. I would think that probably not many of these were produced, or if there were a lot, they were used and discarded over the last 80 or so years. Wonderful artifacts from the Grenfell Mission, which was so instrumental in the history and development of Newfoundland and Labrador!
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