Friday, March 4, 2011

Canoe Enthusiast to Speak at Bernardsville Library

Ted Behne, a bark canoe enthusiast who lives in Berkeley Heights, will speak about his new book, The Travel Journals of Tappan Adney: 1887-1890, at Bernardsville Public Library on Tuesday, March 22 at 7:00 pm. With this book, Mr. Behne has edited the first published version of Tappan Adney’s first two journals which provide an insightful and well-written chronicle of a young American's first wilderness adventures, dating from more than 120 years ago. This talk will appeal to people who love history, the natural world, and the opportunity to vicariously share the author's experiences.

Tappan Adney is best known to canoeists who revere his monumental book, The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America, and to Klondike gold rush history buffs, who acclaim his other book, The Klondike Stampede—the only well-known book on the gold rush written by someone who was actually there. Mr. Behne will discuss Adney’s long and colorful life, and listeners will meet Adney as a young man just setting out on the path he would follow for the rest of his life. The book also offers a trip back in time to experience the wilderness of New Brunswick, Canada as Adney saw it.

Adney was an American teenager in 1887, whose summer vacation turned into a lifelong love affair with Canada. He was a writer, artist and early photojournalist, who covered the Klondike gold rush for Harper's Weekly in 1897-98, as well as the Nome, Alaska gold rush in 1900. His book, The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America, published by the Smithsonian in 1964, is credited with saving the birch bark canoe from oblivion and with sparking a renaissance in Native canoe building that continues to this day. Ted Behne’s interest in Adney began when he attended a birch bark canoe-building class in 1992, where Adney’s canoe book was mandatory reading.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing. There is no charge to attend the program, but advance sign-up is requested. Register online at and follow the link under Adult Programs, or call the library at 908-766-0118 to sign up.

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