New Brunswick

Chocolate Museum displays treasured romantic keepsake

A sweet, century-old love story now has a permanent home in St. Stephen’s Chocolate Museum.

Hundred-year-old chocolate box is a testament to a couple's love, life together

On Aug. 24, the Chocolate Museum marked what would have been Bartlett’s 100th anniversary by unveiling an exhibit featuring the keepsake. (Provided by Frances Bartlett Steeves)

A sweet, century-old love story now has a permanent home in St. Stephen's Chocolate Museum.

In 1914, young E. Hollis Bartlett met Georgie Lawrence at a community supper in Bayside, near St Andrews.

As a token of his love, he gave her a box of New Brunswick-made chocolates, tied up in a ribbon, with a vibrant picture of a sailboat on the lid. 

The couple married two years later on Aug, 2, 1916, and settled into their home in Bartletts Mills. 

Georgie held on to the chocolate box as a reminder of their courtship.

A family keepsake 

The box of New Brunswick-made chocolates features a vibrant picture of a sailboat on the lid, tied with a ribbon. Georgie Bartlett held on to the box as a memento of her husband. (Provided by Frances Bartlett Steeves)
"Mom kept [the box] in the top bureau drawer my whole lifetime," says Frances Bartlett Steeves, one of the nine children the Bartletts raised together.

"I inherited the bureau, so I inherited the box."

Recently, she donated it to the Chocolate Museum.

On Aug. 24, the museum marked what would have been the couple's 100th anniversary by unveiling an exhibit featuring the keepsake.

Daughter Francis Bartlett-Steeves, 92, donated a 102-year-old chocolate box, a family heirloom, to the Ganong Chocolate Museuem. Sarah Goulding is museum manager and director. 8:22

"I was so impressed," said museum manager Sarah Goulding.

"It was a beautiful, quality box for 102 years old, but I was even more impressed by the love story behind it, and how excited the family was about sharing this story."

The exhibition also includes a 1914 photograph of Georgie Bartlett in a horse-drawn carriage, holding the box.

"It would have been a very, very high-end chocolate box at the time," said Goulding.

"He certainly was picking out the best for her, wanting to impress her."

Their daughter, Bartlett Steeves, agrees.

"It was a wonderful courtship, and they seemed to be made for each other," she said.

She said her parents remained very much in love until her father's death in 1974.

A piece of New Brunswick history

As she nears 93 years old, Steeves said it was time for the box to be passed on to posterity.

 "As far as I can remember, that box was always in mom's dress drawer," said Steeves.

"She certainly did treasure it."

"I think it's wonderful that this will be preserved for people to know of the devotion my parents had for each other and their family."

The box will be displayed at The Chocolate Museum in St. Stephen until the end of September.

with files from Information Morning Saint John