The Old World in the New

Snuff Box


Snuff Box
Norwegian
Maker attributed to Gude, Norwegian sculptor, c.1800
Wood
Gift of Nancy Pearson
MHAHS 1978.004.0001

For Norwegian immigrant Arne Kulterstad, a settler in the Mount Horeb area, this snuff box was more than just a gift from one of Norway’s greatest authors. It was a gift from the man who had saved his life.  Before leaving Norway, Kulterstad had been found guilty of murdering his landlord when the author Børnstjerne Bjørnson heard of the case.  Without Bjørnson’s public appeal for leniency, Arne Kulterstad would have been executed.  Instead, he served time in jail before starting a new life in the United States.  This delicately-carved snuff box, once a practical item for storing tobacco, became a sentimental object with a story to tell subsequent generations.

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