Introduction: Adventures of a Scrap Artist

  • Antoinette LaFargeEmail author


The Progressive Era designer and social activist Louise Brigham spent a pivotal summer on the far-northern island of Spitsbergen in the early 1900s developing her system for building box furniture out of recycled packing crates. This chapter considers how a young, well-to-do Boston woman came to be in this remote spot in 1906 (then known to Europeans mainly as a jumping-off point for polar exploration), what life was like in the Arctic Coal Company mining camp where she stayed, and how she went about her work there. Following this is an examination of how women like Brigham came to be largely written out of standard histories of design through a combination of gender bias and devaluation of the social aspects of design that were prominent in Brigham’s box furniture project.


Louise Brigham Spitsbergen Box furniture Arctic Coal Company 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of California, IrvineIrvineUSA

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