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The Last of the Ice Hunters
An Oral History of the Newfoundland Seal Hunt
by Shannon Ryan

The Last of the Ice HuntersAn Oral History of the Newfoundland Seal Hunt by Shannon Ryan

ISBN-10: 1771173165
ISBN-13: 9781771173162
Paperback

Price: CDN$21.95

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Book Description
The Last of the Ice Hunters is a history of the seal hunt, an industry now in decline, but one which provided the few opportunities for employment to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians during the 1930s. Written in the words of the sealers themselves, the book is a compilation of interviews conducted by students who trained under Professor Shannon Ryan of Memorial University of Newfoundland. This study of the seal hunt begins with a chapter on the introduction, background, and overall development of the seal hunt up to 1950.

The majority of the interviews describe sealing practices and traditions as they existed during the Great Depression through to the Commission of Government period (1934–1949). The interviews show the lives of the men, young and old, who worked hard, under harsh conditions, to provide for their families. This book also recognizes and commemorates the end of Newfoundland’s traditional seal hunt. The Last of the Ice Hunters is intended to provide a resource for others to use in their pursuits of information on sealers, their dependants, and the social and economic circumstances of the first half of the twentieth century.

About the Author
Shannon Ryan was born in Riverhead, Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, in 1941 where he received his early schooling. He began teaching in 1956 and by 1968 had taught and/or served as school principal for nine years in Newfoundland and the Northwest Territories and had received a B.A. (Education) from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Ryan received a B. A. and M.A. (History) from MUN during the following three years and was hired by MUN in 1971, retiring as professor of history in August 2006. He received his Ph.D. from the University of London in 1982.

During his career, he published in Oral History, Maritime History and Newfoundland/Labrador History, including a monograph on the seal hunt (to 1914) and one on the saltfish industry (1814–1914). For several years, Ryan served as graduate coordinator of the History Department and as chair of the Newfoundland Studies Minor Program, both at MUN.

Outside the university, he served as president of the Newfoundland Historical Society, chairman of the Atlantic Oral History Association and as Newfoundland’s representative on the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), as well as a member of other heritage groups including the Cupids 400th anniversary committee and, most recently, the Elliston sealing memorial committee. Ryan was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and is an Honorary Research Professor of History, MUN.


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