While the source is listed as “Unknown,” this basket, 36 cm. long, 22 cm. wide and 21 cm. high, is believed to have been the property of Maude (Caughey) Hetherington (1866 – 1949), a resident of Victoria and Carleton Counties. A notation, apparently affixed incorrectly to #76.899, a round utility-type basket, states “Donor’s suitcase when she went to Normal School 1884.”
Gaby Pelletier: “I have never seen a basket like this. It is very rare and in excellent condition. The weaving is fine, the shape is wonderful and indicates great craftsmanship. Be careful not to pick it up by the handle as it has no doubt become too brittle for the weight of the basket. In each generation there are exceptional basket makers who are able to create anything with basket splints. It may also be a basket type that had a brief popularity due to social or economic factors, or it may have been made as a special order for a client or it may have been made for personal use.
It is made of black ash and has a thick layer of dirt and if there was dye on this basket it would need to be opened to find out. On May 10th , when I saw it, the leather straps were so brittle that it was decided not to open it.
At a guess and that’s all it is, this basket appears to be a mid to late 19th century small traveling trunk like a present day overnight case. It has two wooden base supports which seem to confirm this theory. If it had been placed on top of a stage coach, this would explain the excessive dirt. It may well be Maliseet but it is difficult to be certain of the maker.”