Tag Archives: Grenfell

Happy (150th) Birthday, Sir Wilfred Grenfell

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

February 28, 1865

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives. IGA 13-62  Wilfred Grenfell Painting.

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives. IGA 13-62 Wilfred Grenfell Painting.

Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, was born February 28, 1865. He was an English physician and missionary, famous for his work among Labrador fishermen. Dr. Grenfell came to Labrador in 1892.

During more than 40 years of service in Labrador and in Newfoundland, he built hospitals and nursing stations, established cooperative stores, agricultural centers, schools, libraries, and orphanages, and opened the King George V Seamen’s Institute in St. John’s, in 1912. Grenfell cruised annually in the hospital steamer Strathcona II, keeping in touch with his centers of missionary work.

Over the years Grenfell received many awards from universities and other institutions. In 1907 he was appointed a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George; in that year Oxford University awarded him the first Honorary Doctorate of Medicine ever granted by that University and in 1928 he was chosen as Fifth Honorary Knight for Life of the Loyal Knights of the Round Table.

Grenfell’s health failed during the 1920’s and he suffered a heart attack in 1926 and in 1929. He retired in Vermont, U.S.A.  in 1935 at the age of 70. He made his last trip to Labrador in 1939 after his wife died from cancer. He brought her ashes to be interred on Fox Farm Hill overlooking St. Anthony. Grenfell died two years later at his home in Vermont and his ashes were brought to Labrador and placed next to his wife’s.

Recommended Archival Collection: The records of the International Grenfell Association (IGA) were donated to the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL) by IGA representatives in June 1985. The IGA magic lantern slides form the most colourful pieces of the IGA fonds. These records are  now available at the Rooms  Provincial Archives. http://www.tcr.gov.nl.ca/panl/exhibits/

Rooms Exhibit:  The Rooms, home to the largest collection of IGA material in Canada is marking the 100th Anniversary of the incorporation of the IGA in Canada with the exhibition: Mission Trips to Scholarships (1914 – 2014).

Recommended Reading: Grenfell of Labrador: A Biography. Ronald Rompkey. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991.

A summer in Labrador: The Diary of James Craig Potter, MD.

Presentation: Thursday, February 26, 2015

Photo Credit: MG 158-170.1. Mary Sophie Stevens, Dr. James Craig Potter, and Philip Hodges

Photo Credit: MG 158-170.1. Mary Sophie Stevens, Dr. James Craig Potter, and Philip Hodges

The International Grenfell Association (IGA) actively advertised for volunteers to work with Dr. Wilfred Grenfell’s Mission on the Labrador – Newfoundland coast. One of the young volunteers that responded was James Craig Potter one of the many qualified volunteers (called “workers without pay” or “wops”).

James Craig Potter, MD, volunteered with the International Grenfell Association at Battle Harbour during the summer of 1920. As a young man he maintained a diary that is now in the collection of the Rooms Provincial Archives.

His diary is a bound copy of the letters he sent to his mother, women’s rights activist and physician Marion Craig Potter.

Archives technician Beverly Bennett from the Rooms Provincial Archives presents the story of his first impressions of Newfoundland and Labrador and his early medical experiences.

This FREE presentation is open to the PUBLIC.

Thursday, February 26, 2015 (TODAY)

The Rooms Theatre

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Have you got a case of “Grenfellitis”

Archival Moment

June 16, 2014

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives . IGA 13-62 Sir Wilfred Grenfell

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives . IGA 13-62 Sir Wilfred Grenfell

In an interview with a Grenfell worker in St. Anthony in 1934 the worker was asked if she had found Labrador a healthful climate. She replied:

“Yes, BUT there is one thing that we all get, something incurable, which gets into your system and keeps returning , but it is never fatal. It is called “GRENFELLITIS” and its most dangerous symptoms is lasting enthusiasm for the North.”

There has been a number of episodes of “Grenfelltitis” that have overtaken  individuals over the past number of years and the only cure for “Grenfelltitis”   is a good exhibit to speak to the history of the work of Grenfell in our North.

There is a cure at The Rooms, take some time to explore “Mission Trips to Scholarships.” Read more: http://www.therooms.ca/archives/

Recommended Archival Collection: The records of the International Grenfell Association (IGA) were donated to the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL) by IGA representatives in June 1985. The IGA magic lantern slides form the most colourful pieces of the IGA fonds. These records are now available at the Rooms Provincial Archives. http://www.tcr.gov.nl.ca/panl/exhibits/

New Exhibit Opening at the Rooms: The Rooms, home to the largest collection of IGA material in Canada – will mark the 100th Anniversary of the incorporation of the IGA in Canada with the exhibition: Mission Trips to Scholarships (1914 – 2014).

Recommended Reading: The Grenfell Obsession an anthology [edited by] Patricia O’Brien St. John’s, Nfld.  Creative Publishers, 1992.

 

The French fishermen in Labrador and Grenfell

Archival Moment

January 13, 1938

Newfoundland Postage stamp, 1941 issue, showing Wilfred Grenfell (1865-1940), a medical missionary to Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland Postage stamp, 1941 issue, showing Wilfred Grenfell (1865-1940), a medical missionary to Newfoundland and Labrador

The Reverend Umberto Mozzoni, (later Cardinal Mozzoni) secretary of the apostolic delegation to Canada  wrote to Archbishop Edward Patrick Roche  of St. John’s on 13 January 1938  with concerns about the “The necessity of providing to the spiritual assistance of the fishermen who come every year from France to the coast of Labrador”

Rome was seeking information “about the number of these fishermen and what is done to protect them in their faith.”

Archbishop Roche responded to the Apostolic Nuncio’s secretary that “With regard to the French fishermen, he does not know their number, as Labrador is in the jurisdiction of Harbour Grace Diocese.”  (Now known as the diocese of Grand Falls)

Archbishop Roche also suggested in his letter that it may be the priests of St. Pierre and Miquelon who are providing to the spiritual assistance of the fishermen who come every year from France to the coast of Labrador and suggests he contact the Prefect Apostolic of St. Pierre and Miquelon, for more information.

Officials in Rome, Mozzoni noted were aware of the existence and the work of the Grenfell Institute in Labrador and the fact that the French fishermen are assisted “From the social point of view” by the Grenfell Institute. (later the International Grenfell Association. IGA)

He laments however that “the Greenfield [sic: Grenfell] Institute, is, unhappily, of Protestant inspiration.”

The International Grenfell Association (IGA) was incorporated in Canada on January 10, 1914, under the Companies Act of 1899. Sir Wilfred Grenfell, the founder of IGA, came to Newfoundland to attend to the needs of fishermen in northern Newfoundland and on the coast of Labrador. The IGA maintained hospitals, nursing stations, medical steamers, boarding schools, and an orphanage.

Recommended Archival Collection: The records of the International Grenfell Association (IGA) were donated to the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL) by IGA representatives in June 1985. The IGA magic lantern slides form the most colourful pieces of the IGA fonds. These records are now available at the Rooms Provincial Archives. http://www.tcr.gov.nl.ca/panl/exhibits/

Recommended  Reading: Grenfell, Wilfred T. FORTY YEARS FOR LABRADOR. Houghton Mifflin Company. 1932, Boston:

Internationally known architects have work in Newfoundland

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

December 14, 1924 

The New Palace – One of Several Buildings in Newfoundland by Internationally Celebrated Architects.  

The Palace, St. John’s, NL under construction in 1923.

The local St. John’s newspaper The Telegram on December 14, 1924 reported that::

The exterior work (of the New Palace) was constructed of bluestone taken from the quarries of Signal Hill. Freestone used in the construction was imported in the rough from the Wallace quarries in Nova Scotia. The architects of the new Palace were Delano and Aldrich of New York.”

The article was referring to the new home for the Catholic Archbishop of St. John’s, Edward Patrick Roche and the priests on the staff of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (now Basilica). They moved into their new home on December 14, 1924.  The new home referred to locally as “The New Palace”  replaced the “Old Palace’ that burned to the ground in 1921. Palace was the name given to the official residence of a Catholic bishop.

The Palace located at 200 Military Road, on  the corner of Military Road and Bonaventure Avenue, (across the street from The Rooms)  is now the home of the Offices of the Archdiocese of St. John’s and is officially known as the Archdiocesan Pastoral Centre.

Although it was the official residence, Archbishop Roche never did live in the Palace.  He opted to make his home at Beaconsfield located on Topsail Road.  He commuted by car to the Palace every day.

The firm of Delano & Aldrich were no strangers to Newfoundland and occupied a central place in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century, substantially shaping the architectural climate of the period. The grand country estates, striking townhouses and club buildings, churches, schools, and public buildings designed by William Adams Delano (1874–1960) and Chester Holmes Aldrich (1871–1940) are exceptional examples of architectural creativity and originality.

The New York Firm designed the American Embassy in Paris, France in 1929; construction began in 1931 and was completed in 1932. The Chancery of the Embassy is remarkably similar to the  St. John’s, Palace.  It has been suggested that the American Embassy in Parish is a larger scale version of the Palace in St. John’s.

Archbishop Roche became quite good friends with Delano joining him for lunch at the prestigious Knickerbocker Club in New York whenever he visited.  The Club was designed by Delano and Aldrich and was considered one of the bastions of old-world society.

View of front facade and right side, King George V Building, 93 Water Street, St. John’s.

William Adams Delano was quite familiar with Newfoundland. He was a board member for the International Grenfell Association (IGA) and was responsible for donating a number of designs for several hospitals and orphanages to that organization.  In St. John’s two of his most recognized designs are St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital (1938-1939) LeMarchant Road and  King George V Building,Water Street, erected in 1911.

Recommended Archival Collection: Archives of the R.C. Archdiocese, St. John’s . The Delano and Aldrich archive is held by the Drawings and Archives Department in the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at ColumbiaUniversity.

Recommended Reading:  The Architecture of Delano & Aldrich (Norton) by Peter Pennoyer and Anne Walker, 2003. (Eighteen projects are examined in detail, and a catalogue of the firm’s complete oeuvre.)