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Labrador Odyssey Labrador Odyssey
The Journal and Photographs of Eliot Curwen on the Second Voyage of Wilfred Grenfell, 1893

Edited by Ronald Rompkey

Price: CDN$34.95

(Not Currently Available for Purchase)
In 1892, after receiving complaints about working conditions in the Labrador fishery, the London-based Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen sent an expedition led by Wilfred Grenfell to distribute food and clothing to residents of the Labrador coast and to treat sick and disabled fishermen. This expedition unofficially marked the beginning of what would become known as the Grenfell Mission. Eliot Curwen, a young medical doctor, joined Grenfell on the second Labrador voyage. His journal and photographs provide a unique record of the expedition and of social conditions in Newfoundland and Labrador a century ago.

A religious, well-educated Victorian, Curwen takes us into the heart of the colonial society he encountered. He reveals the pervasive sectarianism, the tawdry political world of St John's, the rudimentary conditions aboard the fishing schooners, and the poverty of the Labrador "livyers," the permanent white settlers who had intermarried with the Inuit. He provides fresh details of the lives of the Moravian Brethren, the first missionaries to the Native population, and comments on the wildlife, the natural environment, and the general disposition of the countryside. Curwen's candid remarks about Grenfell reveal facets of the young missionary and social reformer not found elsewhere.

The introduction and annotations by Ronald Rompkey, Grenfell's biographer, establish the historical, political, and social contexts of the journal. Rompkey has supplemented Curwen's private account with official letters and reports from Grenfell and other members of the expedition as well as numerous photographs taken by both Curwen and Grenfell to publicize their work.

"Labrador Odyssey provides an appealing portrait of the idealistic and energetic young men who pioneered the establishment of the Grenfell Mission and offers rare insights into the mission's early days."
Dorothy Harley Eber, author of When the Whalers Were Up North.

"The journal throws some very interesting light on what was happening in Labrador and Newfoundland in 1893, and the magnificent photographs represent a treasure of information. Labrador Odyssey constitutes a valuable contribution to the rather scanty literature on this sector of northern Canada. I strongly recommend it."
Philip Smith, Département d'anthropologie, Université de Montréal.

Ronald Rompkey is professor of English and director of the J.R. Smallwood Centre for Newfoundland Studies, Memorial University.
Published 1996 272 pp 8½ x 8½ 48 illustrations
Cloth ISBN 0-7735-1366-3 $34.95

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