Sabbat Candle Stick

Jewish Sabbat candlestick
Jewish Sabbat candlestick

 My grandfather, Melbourne Armstrong, grew up on a farm in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, Canada (born 1866).  He studied to be a doctor and because there were no medical schools in Atlantic Canada, attended New York University School of Medicine. He graduated in 1892. Part of his training included providing free care to poor, tenement dwellers. When he was helping during an epidemic of some deadly disease (there were many) a poor immigrant family felt his care had saved the life of their child.  They were very grateful and insisted he accept a gift that they considered valuable, in a household where there was little of monetary value. He was presented with a heavy brass candlestick. It was brought back to Nova Scotia where Dr Armstrong practiced medicine in the small town of Bridgetown until his death in 1931. The candlestick has always had a special place in our home, but with a vague sense that it really belonged to people we did not know.  Through the wonders of the internet I learn that the candlestick is one of a pair of Jewish Sabbat candlesticks, typical of those used in Eastern Europe in the mid nineteenth century. So we can imagine a little about our anonymous immigrants.  It is interesting that an object with Jewish religious significance had a treasured life with a Methodist doctor’s family in rural Nova Scotia. 

Place(s): New York, Eastern Europe, Nova Scotia

– Stephen Archibald

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant