Fonds - E. R. Seary fonds

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E. R. Seary fonds

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  • Textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on creator and contents of fonds

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  • [196?]-1977 (Creation)
    Seary, E.R.

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Physical description

30 cm of textual records

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Edgar Ronald (Ron) Seary (1908-1984), World War II veteran, linguist, educator, researcher, author, was born in Sheffield, England, on 17 Jan. 1908, the son of Edith (Brunt) and Henry Seary. He married Agnes Gwendolen Crookes. Seary died in St. John's, Newfoundland, on 18 May 1984.

Seary was educated at Sheffield Univesity, where he received an honours degree, education diploma and PhD.

Following the war, he again taught English at Rhodes until his appointment as chair (1951-54). Seary came to Newfoundland in 1954 and for the next 16 years was head of Memorial University's department of English. He helped to develop the field of Newfoundland studies at Memorial and published several articles on Newfoundland toponymy and the derivation of names. With G.M. Story and W.J. Kirwin, he co-authored an ethno-linguistic study of the Avalon Peninsula in 1967. In 1970 he was named Henrietta Harvey Research professor. His Place Names of the Avalon Peninsula of the Island of Newfoundland was published in 1971 and became a standard reference work. Seary's second major work, Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, was published in 1976. It provided a comprehensive account of Newfoundland surnames from the earliest historical documents.

Seary was a founder and sometime president of the Canadian Linguistics Association and of the Association of Canadian Teachers of English. Among his honours were the Heritage Award of the Newfoundland Historical Society and honorary degrees from Memorial University and the University of Sheffield, as well as Fellowships in the Royal Society and of the Society of Antiquaries of London. After his death, he was commemorated in Seary's Peak, a hill 4 km west of Broad Lake in the district of Bellevue, NF. He was married to Agnes Gwendolen Crookes.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of the working papers of Professor Seary for his 1976 publication Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland. It includes an index of family names and information about different spellings of surnames, geographic distribution of surnames and particular information about persons with specific surnames culled from selected historical documents.

The fonds also includes correspondence, clippings about surnames, folklore survey cards pertaining to Newfoundland surnames, newspaper clippings about Seary's research and other subjects, correspondence between Seary and various individuals about family names and other academic subjects.

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Language of material

  • English

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An extensive collection of E.R. Seary papers is located in English Language Research Centre.

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Created - May 3, 2013

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  • English

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