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Philipp Schorch and Conal McCarthy

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526118196

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526118196.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 24 July 2021

Joining the club: a Tongan ‘akau in New England

Joining the club: a Tongan ‘akau in New England

Chapter:
(p.176) 11 Joining the club: a Tongan ‘akau in New England
Source:
Curatopia
Author(s):

Ivan Gaskell

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526118196.003.0012

This chapter examines the place of Oceanic clubs in New England collections. During the nineteenth century, they occupied an equivocal position in the New England mental repertory as indices of savage sophistication, and as souvenirs of colonial childhood or travel. Focusing on a Tongan ‘akau tau in the collection of the Chatham Historical Society on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, this chapter traces what can be known of its history as a highly regarded prestige gift item among New Englanders from the middle of the nineteenth century until its entry into the museum. As a thing that an early owner could alienate legitimately, its presence in Chatham is not unethical, yet it nonetheless imposes stewardship responsibilities—consultation with the originating community—that such a small institution is poorly placed to meet. This requires understanding and patience rather than disapprobation.

Keywords:   Chatham Historical Society, club ‘akau tau, Darius E. Hammond, Hawai‘i, Peabody Essex Museum, Stephen Willard Phillips, Tonga, Frederick S. Wight

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