Past Lectures

2015

29 Jan Two Episodes in the Parliamentary History of Newfoundland and Labrador: The Rise and Fall of the House of Assembly, 1832 and 1933.

The Parliament of Newfoundland is unique in the history of parliaments in the Westminster tradition in that it was both created and abolished within a century. Based on the author's forthcoming history of the House of Assembly of Newfoundland, this illustrated lecture will explore the circumstances surrounding the creation and the early days of the House of Assembly, and the remarkable circumstances which led to its demise in the era before confederation with Canada.

 John E. FitzGerald. 
26 Feb

Death of the National Dream: Fred Alderdice and his default plan

In October 1932, the newly elected Prime Minister of Newfoundland made a dramatic plan known to the British government. Fred Alderdice told the Secretary of State for the Dominions that the government had little choice but partially default on more than $5 million a year in debt payments. Britain reacted angrily. Its subsequent offer of a lifeline to pay a share of the year end interest on the debt, and the appointment of a royal commission to examine the future of Newfoundland and its financial situation and prospects, put the Dominion on a path that would see its constitutional status irreversibly changed.

Could Alderdice have played his cards differently? Could he have preserved Newfoundland’s constitutional independence? Did Newfoundlanders let down the dream and promise of a nation?

Author Doug Letto poses those questions and challenges a common view of how Newfoundand went from Dominion status to province of Canada.

Click player below to hear the lecture. Audio only available.


 

Doug Letto.
26 Mar

Trading and Raiding: Understanding Early French/Inuit Relationships in in Southern Labrador

Between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries the social and economic life of the Labrador Inuit was increasingly entwined with French fishermen and settlers.  While crew on French fishing ships traveled annually to southern Labrador to make use of good harbours, French settlers from Quebec began to develop large concessions of land for the purposes of sealing, furring and trading.  As a result of these activities, French-Inuit interactions became increasingly commonplace.  The Inuit had settled in southern Labrador by the sixteenth century, likely as a deliberate strategy to obtain European materials, which they re-purposed to suit their own cultural needs.  This presentation elaborates on recent archaeological findings that illuminate the nature and extent of these complex interactions

Lisa Rankin
30 Apr

2015 George Story Lecture

“The Pirate Who Never Was? Eric Cobham and Invention in History” 

 

Those who ventured into the Newfoundland fishery and trade during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were confronted by many risks – hazards of navigation, uncertain conditions in the fishery, unpredictable markets. The frequent wars of the period could bring attacks on shipping and shore stations by hostile warships and privateers, while piracy could become a problem in peacetime. Unfortunately, piracy is one of those topics which generates a truly enormous volume of poor (if not outrightly bad) history. Too much of the literature is driven by sensational and fanciful, even outrageously erroneous, works which pander to readers whose understanding of piracy is governed by works of entertainment. This is as true for piracy in Newfoundland waters as it is for piracy in the Caribbean and elsewhere. I will explore this theme by examining one particular period in Newfoundland history – the twenty or so years immediately following the conclusion of the War of the Spanish Succession in 1713 – when piracy did flare up in Newfoundland waters, yet I shall also argue that one of the more notorious pirates of the period – Eric Cobham – probably never existed. In short, while piracy was real, the same cannot be said of all pirates.

OLAF JANZEN (PhD, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON) is Professor of History at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University in Corner Brook. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and member of several organizations, including the Navy Records Society, the International Maritime Economic History Association, the Canadian Nautical Research Society, the Society for Nautical Research, and the Newfoundland Historical Society. Dr. Janzen’s research specialization is the trade, society and defence of eighteenth-century Newfoundland, and he has published frequently on those themes in peer-reviewed journals, including Newfoundland & Labrador Studies. He contributed the chapter on the eighteenth century to A Short History of Newfoundland and Labrador (St. John’s, 2008). In 2013, a collection of many of his previously published articles was released by the International Maritime Economic History Association under the title War and Trade in Eighteenth-Century Newfoundland as No. 52 in the Association’s series, “Research in Maritime History.” He is the author of an on-line “A Reader’s Guide to the History of Newfoundland and Labrador to 1869" at http://www2.swgc.mun.ca/nfld_history/index.htm

Click player below to hear the lecture. Audio only available.


 

Olaf Janzen

 

2014

30 Jan

'The Silver Highway - a brief history of the exploration of Labrador's Grand (Churchill) River'

Click player below to hear the lecture. Audio only available.


 

Anne Budgell
27 Feb

Habitants, Soldiers, Sailors, and Servants: The History and Archaeology of the French in Placentia Bay, 1662-1714

The French establishment of a colony in Newfoundland would fundamentally alter the nature of the French presence on the island. Prior to the colony's founding, the French presence in Newfoundland had been a seasonal one only, in which the French fishers who had come to the island's shores stayed for the summertime only. Any overwintering was likely unintentional. But with the advent of colonization, in Plaisance (now Placentia) in 1662, the French presence changed substantially. Colonization continued to bring seasonal fishermen to Plaisance, but they now shared space in the harbour with the permanently-resident owners of fishing plantations (or habitants). Colonization brought an administrative presence to the colony as well, and so Plaisance was home to the first garrisoned fortification in Newfoundland, as well as civilian colonial administrators. Plaisance quickly grew to be the largest settlement in French Newfoundland, as well as the most important administrative, economic, and military centre for the French on the island. Settlement outside of the colony grew after 1662, and we see the spread of small, family-based fishing settlements into Placentia Bay in particular after this time. Though small, and poorly documented, these settlements were nonetheless an important part of the French experience in Newfoundland. French permanent residence was more or less brought to an end with the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, as the French were subsequently prevented from living on the island permanently. This presentation will explore what we know of the history and archaeology of the resident French in Newfoundland-- the habitants, soldiers, sailors, and servants, who all made Placentia Bay their home-- and what happened to them after they were forced to leave.

Click player below to hear the lecture. Audio only available.


 

Amanda Crompton
27 Mar

"James Vey: photographic journalist/artist"

 Robert Edwards Holloway (1850-1904), Simeon Henry Parsons (1844-1908), and James Vey (1852?-1922) were all photographing life in Newfoundland at the turn of the last century.  Much has been written about Holloway and Parsons, but Vey's story is not as well known. Vey was very much a "journalistic photographer," a man of the streets; and, his work reflects a Newfoundland which existed from the 1890s to the 1920s. The talk will look at the work and life of a man whose photographs appeared in the Illustrated London News, McClure's Magazine, Scientific American, and Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, as well as in George Allan England's Vikings of the Ice.

Pictures from the lecture click here.

Click player below to hear the lecture. Audio only available..


 

Suzanne Sexty
1 May

The George Story Lecture:On Record: Toward A Social History of Audio Recording in Newfoundland and Labrador

(NOTE: this lecture was not recorded because of laws concerning permissions.)

Dr. Beverley Diamond
25 Sept No September lecture this year. Instead we are having our Symposium on October 2-4  
30 Oct "These ignorant and excited fishmongers": Popular Resistance to Bishop Feild in Transatlantic Newfoundland and Labrador. Calvin Hollett
27 Nov "An Irish-Nationalist resurgence in St.John’s? The Self- Determination for the Ireland League of Newfoundland, 1919-1922". Patrick Mannion

 

2013

31 Jan

 ‘A Calamity from which No Relief Can be Expected’:
Civilian Responses to the French Occupation of Newfoundland, June-September 1762

Mark Humphries
28 Feb

City Seen: Artists' Views of St. John's 1785-2010

Patricia Grattan
28 Mar “Patchwork Patient”: Among the Deep Sea Fishers – Promoting the Grenfell Mission, 1903-1981. Heidi
Coombs-Thorne
25 Apr

Annual General Meeting and George Storey Lecture: Natanael Illiniartitsijok – Inuk Composer

Tom Gordon
26 Sep "Thrift and the Good Child Citizen: The Junior Thrift Clubs
in Confederation-Era Newfoundland"
Karen Stanbridge
31 Oct "Ructions in Heart's Content: Dispute Resolution in a Newfoundland Outport" Ted Rowe
28 Nov The Gilbert Higgins Lecture: A Mesmerizing Miscellany of Marvelous and Majestic Mummers: The Marketing of a Newfoundland Christmas Tradition.

    This illustrated presentation explores the ways in which commodification of nostalgia has become the focus of some sectors of the market place.
The marketing of tradition is by no means a new phenomenon and it has been far more extensive than we perhaps realize.  This underestimation possibly stems from the fact that, while we perceive today that marketing is facilitated through some form of corporate broker or entrepreneur, in reality this is not always the case.  Instead performers have often taken on this role themselves.  Similarly, at the grass roots level local artists and crafts people seeing performances of traditions such, as mummers, have turn those experiences into marketable wares.
Paul Smith

2012

Jan 26 Newfoundland Modern: Architecture in the Smallwood Years, 1949-1972. Robert Mellin
Feb 23 Gilbert Higgins Lecture for 2011-2012:  Mirror Islands: The Colonial Histories of Tasmania and Newfoundland. Fiona Polack
Mar 29 The Trial of Catherine Snow. NHS Panel
Apr 26 George M Story and the Study of Newfoundland at Memorial
(AGM and  George Story lecture).
Jeff Webb
Oct 25

Gilbert Higgins Lecture for 2012-2013: Trinity’s John Clinch (1748/9-1819): Missionary, Medical Man, Magistrate and Much More.
Click player below to hear the lecture. Audio only available.

Jim Connor
Nov 29 The Rise and Fall of the 20th Century Whaling Industry in Newfoundland and Labrador Anthony Dickinson

 

2011

Jan 27 Cancelled (Weather)  
Feb 24 Born on the Wrong Side of the Water: Newfoundland Nativism in the Nineteenth Century. Carolyn Lambert
Mar 31 George Story Lecture: 'Newfoundland's Material Culture and the Rise of Heritage'. Gerald Pocius
Apr 28 AGM and Lecture: From Uapamekushtu to Tshakashkue matshiteuieau: Place Names, History and the Labrador Innu. Peter Armitage
Sep 29 A Reflection of Ourselves: Nationalistic Theatre in Newfoundland, 1965-1983 Mekaela Mahoney
Oct 13 Some Day the Sun Will Shine: Oil and the End of Newfoundland History Jerry Bannister
Oct 27 ‘The History of Salmon Conservation in Newfoundland’. Don Hustins
Nov 24 Cancelled (Weather)

 

2010

Jan 28 The MacDermotts of Fortune Bay: Their Three Missions, 1904-1934 Garfield Fizzard
Feb 25 The Response of the FPU to the Sealing Disasters of 1914 – an Illustrated presentation Jessie Chisholm
Mar 25 The Grandchildren of Fogo: The Ripples of the Fogo Island Films of 1968 Susan Newhook
Apr 29 Tracing our Linguistic Roots: Mapping Regional Diversity in Newfoundland and Labrador English [George Story Lecture] Sandra Clarke
16 Jun "Bristol, Cabot and the New Found Land: 1496-1500."  Dr. Evan Jones University of Bristol
Oct 28 Buried Treasure: Newfoundland’s Pre-Confederation Mining History as Captured in Postage Stamps, Picture Postcards, Stock Certificates and Other Ephemera Bruce Ryan
Nov 25 Braving the Flag [Higgins Lecture] Christopher Pratt

 

2009

Feb 26 The First Gilbert Higgins Lecture: British Imperial Identity and the Newfoundland Irish Threat, 1740 - 1800 Allan Dwyer
Mar 26 "Smallwood, Pearson, and the Power Corridor Through Quebec." James Feehan
Apr 30 AGM and Story Lecture: Concise History Panel Several Speakers
Sep 24 Pre-Confederation Women Writers and Mythologies of Empir Heather O’Brien
Oct 29 Lee Wulff, Stanley Truman Brooks and the Newfoundland Tourist Development Board, 1925 to 1946 Allan Byrne
Nov 26 A.P. Low’s 1893-94 Expedition Through Labrador: A Tale of Iron and Irony [Gilbert Higgins Lecture] Derek Wilton

 

2008

Feb 28 "Nursery of Seamen: Naval Impressment and the British Newfoundland Fishery, 1699-1815" Keith Mercer
Mar 27 "A New Schooner for the Captain from Newfoundland" Raoul Andersen
Apr 24 AGM and Gorge Story Lecture. Neil Rosenberg
Sept 25 Oscar Lieber’s trips to Labrador and observations of the 1860 eclipse Derek Wilton
Oct 30 An Environment of Cooperation and Conflict: The Military Presence in Newfoundland and Labrador from the Cold War to the War on Terror Whitney Lackenbauer
Nov 27 The Voice of Newfoundland - a history of the Broadcasting Corporation of Newfoundland (book launch) Jeff Webb

 

2007

March 22 "Isolation and Degeneracy: Rethinking the study of Newfoundland Methodism". Calvin Hollett
Sept 27 "Nutakuanan – the parable of Herman J. Koehler and his 1931 disappearance". Peter Armitage
Oct 25 "A Postal History of Labrador Before Confederation" Kevin O'Reilly
Nov 29 "High Tech and High Times - Life at the Heart's Content Cable Station 1866 - 1885. Ted Rowe

 

2004

Jan 29 "Hesketh Prichard in Labrador" Larry Coady
Feb 26 "Rule of the Admirals: Law, Custom and the Naval Government, 1699-1832" Jerry Bannister