Fonds - Edmund J. and Nora Ryan fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Edmund J. and Nora Ryan fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record

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Previously known as Estate Papers of Edmund J. Ryan [1946-1951]

Title statements of responsibility

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of the fonds

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Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1946-1951 (Creation)
    Ryan, Edmund Joseph

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Physical description

1.5 cm of textual records

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Edmund Joseph Ryan (1863-1949), bookkeeper, business manager, and merchant, was born at Bonavista, son of Michael and Ellen (Fleming) Ryan. He was a brother of James and Daniel Ryan, two prominent fish merchants. Edmund was educated at St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He married Nora Bourke (1888-1951), an Irish nurse from Kildimo, Limerick. They had no children. Edmund Ryan died at St. John's on 8 January 1949. Nora Ryan died at St. John's on 16 January 1951.

Edmund J. Ryan spent most of his working life in the employ of his brothers James and David. He initially worked as a bookkeeper for the Ryan firm at King's Cove. During the summer months he usually went to manage the Ryan branch stores on the coast of Labrador at Batteau and Webbers Harbour. At one stage he was manager of the Ryan whaling station in Hawke's Harbour, Labrador.

In 1906 Edmund Ryan was manager of Ryan Bros. Ltd at Trinity, a newly established firm owned in half shares by James and Daniel. James was also the sole owner of James Ryan of Bonavista and owned half of the firm known as Daniel Ryan & Co. (or Ryan & Co.) of King's Cove. Ryan Bros. Ltd purchased the former Garland premises (previously the Lester premises) in Trinity, primarily as a base to service the Labrador floater fishery, supplying schooners going to Labrador and processing, storing and exporting Labrador-produced salted cod. The firm also took advantage of its location and facilities in Trinity to conduct trade with local inshore fishermen and to operate a large general store. Edmund Ryan managed these operations. When James Ryan died in 1917, his portion of Ryan Bros. Ltd. was inherited by his two sons. When Daniel Ryan died in 1934, he left one-third of his half share to Edmund.

In 1935 Ryan Bros. was reincorporated under new shareholders and remained that way until it closed in 1952. From 1936 onward, Edmund was assisted by his nephew Walter N. White. By the time Edmund died in 1949, Ryan Bros. had completely withdrawn from the saltfish trade and operated only a general store. Edmund J. Ryan had an impressive array of investments and left a considerable estate.

Nora Ryan served as a nurse in World War I. Afterwards she emigrated to Savannah, Georgia in the USA where she met and married Edmund Ryan. She was noted for her philanthropy and during World War II she was in charge of the volunteer Red Cross work in Trinity, making bandages and garments. She contributed much to the restoration and upkeep of the Roman Catholic Church and priest's house at Trinity. As the main heir of her husband, Nora Ryan was able to dispense a very significant estate to her beneficiaries, including relatives in Ireland, the Roman Catholic Church, and sundry other relatives and friends.

Custodial history

Brian Maloney was executor of the estate of Edmund and Nora Ryan. Records remained in his possession until they were acquired by MHA in 1989.

Scope and content

Fonds consist of papers relating to the estate of Edmund J. Ryan and his wife Nora Ryan. The fonds includes wills, share certificates, correspondence, inventories and receipts, and a detailed list of the total assets of Nora Ryan.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Acquired from Brian Maloney in 1989.


Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

No restrictions

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Users should be aware that copyright rules and regulations may apply to some parts of this fonds.

Finding aids

Associated materials

Ryan Brothers (Trinity) fonds

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created - April 25, 2013

Language of description

  • English

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