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Keith Matthews (1938-1984), historian and author, was born in Plympton-St. Mary, near Plymouth, South Devon in 1938 and received his BA (Hons) from Oxford in 1965. In 1967, he accepted a position as lecturer in the Department of History, Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN). He completed his D. Phil in 1968 with a thesis on the West of England/Newfoundland fisheries, becoming a full professor at MUN in 1975. Matthews died in 1984.
In 1971, with David Alexander and Gerald Panting, Matthews established the Maritime History Group, as a centre for the study of maritime history. The mandate of the Maritime History Group included the development of a maritime history archive to support research in all aspects of sea-based activity. He was chair of the Maritime History Group from 1971 until his death.
Matthews is noted for his seminal contributions to the study of maritime history in Newfoundland, particularly the historic links with the West of England, and for his research and publications on merchants engaged in the Newfoundland cod trade. He was responsible for the identification, acquisition, and reproduction of many documents from British repositories, including the Public Record Office, now housed in the Maritime History Archive at MUN. From these he compiled extensive name files related to individuals involved in the early fishery and settlement of Newfoundland.
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