The moccasins assembled here represent three distinct forms – a Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot style in which a wide vamp (toe) is pucker stitched to the sole and the heel portion has a vertical seam up the back; an Iroquoian form in which the heel seams form an upside down “T”; and a Great Lakes type in which a center seam runs down the top of the moccasin.

Penobscot Moccasins

Penobscot Moccasins 

  This pair of moccasins is inscribed:
“Feb. 4th 1834 G. left for Bangor” and “P.F.G. Robie May 9, 1834.”

Maine Historical Society (1993.28)

Maliseet Moccasin Toes and Cuffs, c.1870

The large beaded design motifs (flowers and leaves) are delineated with paper patterns.

Maine State Museum (

Maliseet Moccasin Toes and Cuffs

Maliseet Baby Moccasins

Maliseet Baby Moccasins, c.1840

Nancy & Roger Prince (NTP 12)

Among the Penobscot, moccasins intended for use in the woods were generally made from moosehide and those for winter use were made from moose hocks. Unlike their rugged moosehide counterparts, deer skin moccasins were beaded. Designs for moccasin tops and cuffs were worked on wool or velvet. These fabric panels were bound with ribbons and sewn onto the completed hide moccasins.

Iroquois-style child’s moccasins, c.1900

These moccasins are decorated with a simple leaf design
and were commonly sold to tourists.

Nancy & Roger Prince (NTP 14)

Iroquois-style child's moccasins

Ojibway-style Moccasin

Ojibway-style Moccasin, c.1850

Nancy & Roger Prince (NTP 11)

Tuscarora-style Moccasin, c.1870

Nancy & Roger Prince (NTP 10)

Tuscarora-style Moccasin

As the decorative work was done on cloth and attached to hide moccasins, tops could be acquired from one tribe and sewn onto moccasins made by another tribe. Fannie Hardy Eckstrom, in The Handicrafts of the Modern Indians of Maine (1932) noted that in the 1870s, Penobscot moccasin makers acquired tops decorated with moosehair embroidery from the Huron and attached them to locally-made deerhide footwear.

Iroquois Moccasins

Irioquois Moccasins

Penobscot Moccasins

Penobscot Moccasins