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The Story of Lillian Burke

The Story of Lillian Burke

by Edward M. Langille • Photos • 270 pages

TUTOR TO THE GRANDCHILDREN of Alexander and Mabel Bell, “Burkie” was instrumental in the development of the Chéticamp hooked-rug cottage industry in the 1920s and the tough years of the Great Depression. An American artist, her innovative rug designs in the soft colours of hand-dyed homespun yarn won commissions from elite decorators in New York and other major centres.

Burke had a multi-faceted career: an inspiring art teacher and accomplished artisan, she was a pioneer of occupational therapy, overseas during the First World War and, later, at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

With meticulous research, this award-winning historian brings to light the full biography of a woman who was instrumental in Cape Breton’s cultural history.