Collection APL 027 - Monsignor Edward O'Brien collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Monsignor Edward O'Brien collection

General material designation

  • Textual record

Parallel title

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of collection

Level of description


Reference code

CA Them Days APL 027

Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1920 - 1963 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

6 cm textual record

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

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Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Monsignor Joseph Edward O'Brien (1884-1986) was born in Carbonear to John and Ellen (Cahill) O'Brien. He was educated at St. Bonaventure's College and All Hallow's College, Ireland. O'Brien studied for the Roman Catholic priesthood in Dublin and was ordained in 1910. Upon his return to Newfoundland, O'Brien took up parish duties at Tilting on Fogo Island. In 1914 he was transferred to the parish of Northern Bay, which was then responsible for Labrador. He made his first visit to North West River/Sheshatshiu in 1921, and thereafter spent more than 20 summers with the Innu of Sheshatshiu and Davis Inlet, to whom he was affectionately known as Father Whitehead because of his prematurely gray hair. His priesthood in Labrador was marked by tireless work for the poor. With financial assistance from the Knights of Columbus in St. John's he provided clothing and supplies. He also arranged for the Hudson's Bay Company to give food to families on government account. In 1946, Labrador was separated from the diocese in Harbour Grace, but O'Brien continued to serve at Northern Bay, retiring in 1970. He was a keen photographer, and his pictures of Innu life were donated to the National Film Archives. O'Brien died at the age of 101, being the oldest Roman Catholic priest in Canada at the time.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Collection consists of correspondence, receipts, invoices, telegrams, questionnaire results, petition, and newspaper clippings between 1920 and 1963. The correspondence is written to and by Father O'Brien during the years he served as a Missionary to the Innu in North West River and Davis Inlet regarding the establishment and maintenance of the Mission.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by the family of monsignor O'Brien, circa 1982


Language of material

Script of material

Location of originals

Photocopies and typewritten copies at THEM DAYS. Originals stored elsewhere.

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

No restrictions

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Much material in THEM DAYS Archives has copyright protection. Researchers must obtain permission from copyright holders before publication in any form

Finding aids

File lists and subject indexes are available

Associated materials

THEM DAYS Vol.10.3; photograph collection

Related materials


No further accruals are expected

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

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Control area

Description record identifier

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Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion


Language of description

  • English

Script of description


Accession area