Archives - Digitized Collections
For information on Archives and Special Collections please visit our Finding Aid page.
100 Year Diary: A Chronology of Newfoundland History from 1879-1978.
This unique item was created in 1979 when the St. John's daily newspaper, The Telegram, celebrated its 100th anniversary. It is a timeline of events covering 100 years of Newfoundland history mixed with world events. The timeline appears to be a reprint of the "50 years Ago Today" and "25 years Ago Today" columns. Printed on a single piece of paper it measures 1 ½ inches wide by 36 ½ feet long.
The original document is held in the Michael Harrington Collection, Coll-307. Harrington was the editor of The Telegram from 1959 to 1982. For more information on this collection, click here.
Bonavista Methodist Church
Located on the northeastern tip of the Bonavista peninsula, the municipality of Bonavista is one of the oldest towns on the northeast coast of Newfoundland. On June 24th, 1497, John Cabot, an Italian explorer sailing under the British flag for King Henry VII, made landfall in the New World.
Methodism was founded in Newfoundland in 1766 with the arrival of Rev. Laurence Coughlan, a newly-ordained Church of England priest who had been converted to Methodism some 13 years previously.
The first Methodist Church in Bonavista was constructed in 1814 under the ministry of Rev. William Ellis. It served the people of Bonavista for 35 years when it was enlarged to house the growing population. However, on January 8, 1870 a severe storm destroyed the church. It was rebuilt within a year under the ministry of Rev. John S. Phimmey. The building could seat 800 people; however, with time the population grew and a larger building was needed, so on March 4, 1918 the church was taken down in order to build a new one. The fourth and present church was completed in 1921 under the leadership of Rev. Charles Lench. It is 65 feet wide and 124 feet long with a seating capacity of 1200 which makes it the largest wooden church in Eastern Canada. The design is "Classical Revival Style" which was widely popular at this time. It has an open scissor-brace rafter system, a timber balloon frame, and a combination stone-concrete foundation. The church was designed by architect Charles H. Lench, M.Arch. (Harvard). The Master Builder of the church was Ronald Strathie, who also built other structures in Bonavista. The tower clock was purchased from the Howard Clock Company in New York and was installed by Mr. Strathie and has long been a landmark for local fishermen returning to port.
A special ceremony was held for the laying of the cornerstone on October 31, 1921. The cornerstone contains a box filled with contemporary copies of newspapers, the "Methodist Monthly Greeting," circulating coins, and a list of the officials attending the ceremony.
The fine stained glass window in the facade was donated by the Swyers Family in memory of those who lost their lives in war; it portrays Christ as the Good Shepherd, and incorporates symbols appropriate to The United Church of Canada.
The building was dedicated on 28th January, 1923. Two years later, upon church union, the Methodist church became part of The United Church of Canada.
The church seats 1375 people and is filled to capacity when used for occasions of a special nature, such as ecumenical services, high school graduation ceremonies, and special performances such as Handel's "Messiah" given by the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and its Philharmonic Choir, an event held first held during the Christmas Season of 1996 and again in 2008.
The church has a thriving Sunday School, active adult groups - United Church Women and Men's Fellowship Group - as well as a Junior and Senior Choir, Mime Group, and Messenger Group. Weekly Prayer Services are held and there are Sunday evening "After Services" following the regular evening worship.
From Charles Lench, The Story of Methodism in Bonavista
Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador
Charles Sydney Frost Collection
The photographs in this album were collected by Charles Sydney Frost during his service with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in the First World War. Most of the photographs were taken between 1914 and 1918. They are snapshots of Regiment officers while in the United Kingdom and France. The majority of these men were from "B" Company and it is likely that the photos of these men were taken while C.S. Frost presided over that company as Captain. Also contained in the album are reproductions of the 12 Newfoundland stamps that were issued to honor the Regiment's service in World War One.
Frew and Tessier Photo Albums
Album 1, Album 2
These two photograph albums contain black and white photographs, mostly of St. John's and surrounding area, and were probably collected by the Frew family of St. John's. They appear to be taken around the turn of the century and contain several good images of St. John's after the Great Fire of 1892. On the inside back cover there is written "G.J. Tessier, Amateur photographer".
The albums were apparently also used as scrapbooks and contains paper images of, possibly, Africa.
The albums were given to the Archives and Special Collections in 2000 by Dr Tom Nemec.
Galway as a Transatlantic Port by Richard J. Kelly, Barrister at Law, 1903
In 1903, Richard Kelly sent a copy of his book, Galway as a Transatlantic Port, to Sir Robert Bond, the Prime Minister of Newfoundland. The original is housed in the Bond Collection, Coll-237, file 11.01.008. The file also contains a letter from Kelly to Bond.
For more information on the Robert Bond collection, see the finding aid COLL-199. Series 11, in particular, consists of material related to Bond's interests and involvement in an all British trans-Atlantic shipping route which would include Newfoundland as a trans-shipment point.
Richard John Kelly (1856-1931)
Richard John Kelly, a newspaper editor and lawyer, was born January 20, 1856 and educated at Blackrock College and QCG and became a reporter and editorial writer for the Tuam Herald before assuming full control.
Kelly was called to the bar in 1886 and built up a successful practice on the Connacht circuit, becoming a king's counsel in 1914. He published numerous legal works. Kelly took a strong interest in local matters and lobbied for the development of Galway as an Atlantic port.
Richard John Kelly died 3 September 1931 in Dublin and was buried at Glasnevin cemetery. He married Edith Mackey of Southampton; they had one son, Richard Jasper and six daughters.
From the Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press.
The Job Kean Collection
In 1997 Janet Davis and Duke Kelloway, from Wesleyville, became the new owners of the old Job Kean premises in Brookfield, Bonavista Bay. Among the items purchased with the house were hundreds of Christmas cards dating from 1905 to 1926. The following year Ms Davis donated this wonderful collection to the Archives and Special Collections division of the Queen Elizabeth II Library.
Job Kean's family moved from Flower's Island, Bonavista Bay, to Norton's Cove in 1878. The Keans were seafaring people. Job's uncle, the famous Captain Abram Kean, (who subsequently renamed Norton's Cove to Brookfield) was the most successful sealing captain in Newfoundland history. Like his uncles and brothers, Job participated in the seal fishery in the spring of the year and in the cod fishery on the Labrador coast during the summer. He served as captain of the sealing ship the S.S. Erik for 12 years and was captain of the S.S. Leopard during the Greenland disaster of 1898.
Captain Job Kean (1863-1945) married Virtue Maria Hann (1858-1929) of Cape Cove. They built a three-storey Mansard-roofed house in Norton's Cove in 1884, and around 1890 opened a shop that supplied ships' provisions - groceries, clothing, salt - in essence, everything from "a needle to an anchor". Job and Virtue had eleven children: five sons: Hedley Walter (d.1892, 7 mos.) Baxter Wesley (1895-1976) who was to remain a bachelor and inherit the family property: Alexander Smith (d. 1905, 10 mos.) and Charles (1901-1975) who married Lydia Parsons of cat Harbour, and six daughters: Maggie Marcilla Hann (b.1884) who married Baxter Barbour from Newtown; Sophie who moved to New York and subsequently married there; Gladys Murray (d. 1891, 7 mos.); Mary Jane (d. 1897, 5 mos.); Daisy, who married Job Wornell of Greenspond and later Joseph Bartlett; and Carrie who graduated from the Friends Hospital in Philadelphia as a nurse. The Kean shop was the centre of commerce in the Brookfield area. Located near the harbour front, Kean's ships had easy access to the shop when they arrived in port for supplies and merchandise. Kean's also supplied other local sailing vessels. According to residents, Aunt Virtue and her son Baxter would usually be found behind the counter. In addition, Virtue ran the telegraph and post office from these premises.
Virtue Kean also became famous as a poet and a songwriter. According to tradition, she wrote the folk song "Lukey's Boat" and performed it one night at the Methodist Church Hall as a way of poking fun at local resident Luke Gaulton. As she sang verse after verse ridiculing both him and his boat, the audience roared with laughter. Gaulton later added a verse of his own, making fun of Virtue's well-known hypochondria.
Virtue died in 1929 and in 1945, after Job's death, Baxter was left to carry on alone. At his death, the business passed to his nephew Job Kean, son of Charlie Kean, who eventually closed up shop in the 1970s and moved to St. John's.
Today there is a new and thriving enterprise on the old Kean property. Janet Davis, after lovingly restoring the shop to its former glory, operates the Norton's Cove Studio from there in the award-winning heritage structure.
For more about Job Kean see the Archives finding aid COLL-339
Margaret (Mayo) Chancey Diary
This diary was kept by a young woman in her mid-twenties during the year 1897. It contains a brief entry for each day; nothing spectacular, just ordinary events in the life of a young woman living in St. John's as the end of a century approached. She records the weather, what she did each day, shopping expeditions, church services, tea parties, staying at home with her mother. But the physical diary tells as much about the young woman as what she writes. Her literacy and writing ability attest to a good education. On the cover of the diary she has written her name and address. The family home was located at 31 Cookstown Road, a street which was up over the hill from downtown, running north through LeMarchant Road.
This diary should prove to be of interest to social historians, students of autobiography and women's studies, and all who are curious about the writings of a young woman in the St. John's of 1897.
Margaret Jane Hill Mayo was born in St. John's in 1871 or 1872. She was the youngest of three children born to William Mayo (1829-1904) and Rebecca Butler (1833-1912). Her older sister, Mary, was born in 1861, married Eli Benson of Grate's Cove in 1885 and died in 1889 at the age of 28. Her brother, John Frederick, was born in 1869, married Rebecca Rogers, and died in 1944. William Mayo's grandfather, also William Mayo, came to Newfoundland from Great Britain with the Royal Newfoundland Company, a military force stationed in St. John's, in the 1790s. He married Frances King in St. John's in 1796 and they had four children, one of whom was James Mayo. James married Mary Dagwell of St. John's and they, too, had four children, the eldest of whom was William Mayo.
Very little is known of Margaret Mayo's life. The Mayo's attended Gower Street Methodist Church, so it would seem likely that Margaret and her siblings attended the Methodist Academy, on Long's Hill. While she may have worked after finishing school, there is no indication of this in the diary that she kept during 1897. Her days in that year were filled with shopping, visiting, and attending church services and church-related events.
On August 8, 1901 Margaret married Lloyd Tocque Chancey (1865-1931) of St. John's. The ceremony took place at Gower Street Methodist Church and was conducted by Rev. William Rice, the groom's mother's brother. Lloyd Chancey was the youngest son of William George Fletcher Chancey (1820-1895) and Eliza Chancey Rice. The Chancey family had been resident in Newfoundland since the late-1700s, when Lionel Chancey (c. 1751-1822) moved to Harbour Grace from Collompton, Devon; Lionel was Lloyd Chancey's great-grandfather. Lloyd's middle name, Tocque, is probably after the Rev. Philip Tocque (1814-1899), author and clergyman of Carbonear, who married Lloyd father's sister, Eliza.
Margaret Mayo and Lloyd Chancey had four children: one daughter, Pearl, and three sons, Victor, Reginald and Roy; only Roy married, to Blanche Adams. Lloyd Chancey was a barber by profession. The family lived first at Richmond Cottage on Freshwater Road, but sometime after William Mayo's death in 1904, they moved in with Margaret's mother, Rebecca, at 31 Cookstown Road. Records of their life together are scarce, but one can safely assume that Margaret spent her married life raising their children and being a homemaker. After her marriage she began attending her husband's church, the Queen's Road Congregational Church where she sang in the choir. Lloyd Chancey died on September 26, 1931. His wife survived him by ten years, dying September 19, 1941 after a lengthy illness.
For more about Margaret Chancey see the Archives finding aid MF-150
Newfoundland Scenery presented to Joseph Laurence
by The Members of the Newfoundland Conference
This album of photographs appears to be the work of Simeon H. Parsons (1844-1908), one of Newfoundland's earliest professional, self-taught and award-winning photographers. The photographs are very much in the style for which Parsons was noted and cover a wide geographic area, including the Burin Peninsula and coastal Labrador, in addition to more easily accessible areas such as St. John's and eastern Newfoundland communities. Internal evidence dates some of the images to around 1884-1885, and given that the recipient of the album, Joseph Laurence, died in October 1886, it would appear safe to assume that the album was compiled during those middle years of the 1880s. Some of the images may date earlier, possibly from stock photographs Parsons may have had on hand.The album contains some rare images of St. John's streets and buildings that were later destroyed in the 1892 fire that ravaged most of the downtown of the city. It also contains images of people at work in the fishery, particularly on the coast of Labrador; various communities on the Burin Peninsula and on the east coast of Newfoundland; rural scenes, including rivers, lakes and waterfalls; icebergs; groups of people, particularly several gatherings of Methodist clergy, some of whom Laurence was probably responsible for sending to Newfoundland.The album should prove beneficial to researchers interested in architectural and municipal development, the development of Methodism, the history of photography, the work of Simeon Parsons, and a variety of other subjects pertaining to Newfoundland in the latter half of the Nineteenth Century.
For more information on the collection please visit the finding aid by clicking COLL-199
Ruby Ayre Photograph Album, 1916-1918
Ruby Ayre was a nurse with a detachment of British Red Cross Society, from 1915-1918. She married Edward Emerson. This collection consists of a scrapbook with photographs kept during her wartime nursing service in the Ascot Auxiliary Military Hospital, a detachment of the British Red Cross Society. It includes photographs, clippings and mementos of Newfoundlanders in Europe and fellow nurses, Janet Ayre, Mary Rendell and Nell Job.
For more information on the collection please visit the finding aid by clicking COLL-322
Terms of Union of Newfoundland with Canada
In the summer of 1948 a seven-member delegation from Newfoundland traveled to Ottawa to discuss possible terms for the entry of Newfoundland into the Canadian Confederation. After several months of negotiations, agreement was finally reached and "Terms of Union" between Newfoundland and Canada were formally signed on December 11, 1948. Canadian Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent and Defence Minister Brooke Claxton joined six of the seven Newfoundland delegates - Sir Albert Walsh, F. Gordon Bradley, Philip Gruchy, John B. McEvoy, Joseph R. Smallwood and Gordon A. Winter (Chesley Crosbie refused to sign) - in appending their names to the document. Copies of the signed "Terms of Union" were given to each of the signatories. The copy seen here was Smallwood's. There are also photographs from Smallwood's personal collection of the signing ceremony.
For more about The Terms of Union see the J. R. Smallwood finding aid, Coll-075.
Trip to the Newfoundland Seal Hunt 1937 by P. Derrick Bowring
Trip to the Newfoundland Seal Hunt 1937 is a scrapbook compiled by P. Derrick Bowring in 1937 following a trip to the seal hunt, off the Newfoundland northeast coast, aboard the S.S. Imogene, a Bowring Brothers ship. It includes diary entries describing daily life onboard, photographs of sealers, stowaways, and seals. In addition there are original telegrams to Bowring Brothers head office from the front, and newspaper accounts of the voyage. There is also a detailed hand drawn chart of the ship's route. The Captain of the S.S. Imogene was Albert Blackwood.
The S.S Imogene was built at Southbank-on-Tees, England, by Smith's Stock Co. for Bowring Brothers of St. John's. The 715-ton ship, designed and powered to cope with Arctic ice, was the last vessel built specifically for sealing and participated in the seal hunt from 1929 to 1940. Captain Albert Blackwood was master of the Imogene from 1928 to 1936 during which time he averaged over 36,000 seals per year, a record in the industry.
P. Derrick Bowring
Derrick Bowring (1916-2009) was the eldest son of Cyril and Clara Bowring. Born in Liverpool, England, he came out to Newfoundland in 1935 to join Bowring Brothers Ltd. He rose through the management ranks, retiring in 1977 as Chair of the Board of Directors. He married Moira Gordon Baird, of St. John's, and they had four children: David, Paula, Vivian, and Norman.
In 1811 Benjamin Bowring of Exeter, England moved to St. John's, Newfoundland and set up a watch making company. The business soon diversified into importing and selling a wide variety of goods and before long it had expanded into the cod and seal oil trade. In 1834 Bowring returned to England to establish a European end of the export trade operating out of Liverpool, leaving the St. John's branch to be managed by his son.
Charles Tricks Bowring, Benjamin Bowring's eldest son, operated the business, Benjamin Bowring and Son, until 1841 when he returned to England to take over the management of the Liverpool establishment from his father and to establish C. T. Bowring and Company. Two of Benjamin Bowring's other sons, Henry Price and Edward, assumed responsibility for the St. John's firm which by then had become Bowring Brothers. In the 1850s both retired to England leaving the management to their youngest brother, John. The firm continued to be managed by Benjamin Bowring's descendants: Hon. Charles Bowring, Eric Bowring, Edgar Bowring, and Paul Derrick Bowring until 1977.
Bowring Brothers became a thriving business, outfitting fishermen and exporting fishery products. The firm became insurance agents and in the 1870s acquired the contract from the Newfoundland Government to provide a coastal steamer service. The firm also operated a passenger and cargo service between England and St. John's and to points along the eastern seaboard of the United States.
By 1980 Bowring Brothers was one of 160 subsidiaries controlled by C. T. Bowring and Company worldwide. In 1982 C.T. Bowring and Company, by now a public company, was taken over by March and Maclellan, and Bowring Brothers on Water Street, and the chain of shops across Canada and in the United States were sold.
The original scrapbook is located in the Michael Harrington collection, Coll-307.
For more about P. Derrick Bowring see the Bowring Family collection, Coll-157.
Memorial University - Archives and Special Collections