Archeologist, historian to speak about 20th century Arctic fur trade

Lecture and book signing with John R. Bockstoce on October 25

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – John R. Bockstoce, arctic historian, archaeologist, and author of White Fox and Icy Seas in the Western Arctic will discuss the 20th century history of the Western Arctic fur trade and sign copies of his book at the New Bedford Whaling Museum on October 25. Bockstoce’s presentation will show how the period leading up to the outbreak of World War II brought profound changes to Native peoples of the North, many of whom once thrived on the fox fur trade and relied on their energy, training, discipline, and skills to survive at a time when government services and social support were minimal or nonexistent. Bockstoce is a leading scholar in this field and the author of numerous books, monographs, and articles. His lecture begins at 7 p.m., preceded by a reception at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $15, or $10 for Whaling Museum members, and can be reserved online at or by calling 508-997-0046. The Whaling Museum is located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill in New Bedford, Mass. 

In the early 20th century, northerners lived and trapped in one of the world’s harshest environments. In White Fox and Icy Seas in the Western Arctic, Bockstoce, covers an immense region from Chukotka, Russia, to Arctic Alaska, and the Western Canadian Arctic. To show the dramatic changes that occurred in the 20th century, and their enormous impact, the Bockstoce draws on interviews with trappers and traders, oral and written archival accounts, research in newspapers and periodicals, and his own field notes from 1969 to the present.

Bockstoce has been traveling and working in the North since 1962. He has carried out a series of excavations at Bering Strait and served for ten seasons as a member of an Eskimo whaling crew at Point Hope, Alaska. In the 1970s he descended the Tanana and Yukon rivers by canoe from Fairbanks to Nome and traveled along the coast from there to Barrow Strait in arctic Canada. Later he twice traversed the Northwest Passage by boat. He is the author of many books, monographs, and articles, including Arctic Passages: A Unique Small Boat Voyage through the Great Northern Waterway (1991, 1992), Arctic Discoveries: Images from Voyages of Four Decades in the North (2000), High Latitude, North Atlantic: 30,000 Miles through Cold Seas and History (2003), and the award-winning Whales, Ice and Men: The History of Whaling in the Western Arctic (1986, 1995). The University of Alaska recently conferred on him an honorary Doctor of Science in recognition of his contributions to Arctic studies.


For high resolution image contact:
Tina Malott
Director of Marketing and Public Relations
New Bedford Whaling Museum


White Fox book cover

man with white fox furs

About the New Bedford Whaling Museum
The New Bedford Whaling Museum is the world's most comprehensive museum devoted to the global story of human interaction with whales through time, and the history and culture of the South Coast region. The cornerstone of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, the Museum is located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill in the heart of the city's historic downtown. Museum hours: April through December, daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. January through March, Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Museum is open until 8 p.m. every second Thursday of the month. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.  Admission is: Free for Museum members and children aged three and under; adults $17, seniors (65+) $15, students (19+) $10, child and youth $7. For more information, visit