Collection APL 16 - Sir Wilfred Grenfell fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Sir Wilfred Grenfell fonds

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

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Reference code

CA Them Days APL 16

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1905 - 1938 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

1.5 cm textual records

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Sir Wilfred Grenfell (1865-1940) was born in Parkgate, England was the fourth son of a Church of England minister. Grenfell was educated at the University of London and Oxford University. In 1883 he joined the London Hospital to begin medical studies. Inspired by the American evangelist D.L. Moody, whose basic ideology was that religion was expressed through services rendered to mankind, Grenfell began his personal mission. After completing his medical training, Grenfell joined the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen. In 1892, Grenfell volunteered to go to Newfoundland and Labrador to determine the need for mission services there. While there he was astounded by the poverty and disease he saw and treated 900 people with whom he gained a good reputation. A local committee in St. John's was put in place to raise money for Grenfell's return, as well, Grenfell toured Europe to accumulate financial aid for medical facilities in Newfoundland and Labrador. Upon his return in 1893 a hospital was established in Battle Harbour and a second at Indian Harbour. Grenfell spent the next few years travelling the coast of Labrador aiding the residents, and touring Canada, the United States and England. He returned to the North Sea in 1896 at the request of the Mission and returned again to Labrador in 1899. Grenfell's work began to extend beyond medical services and he oversaw the construction of many hospitals, orphanages, nursing stations, and co-operative societies. As well, he recruited medical personnel and volunteer workers to come to Labrador. In 1909 Wilfred Grenfell married Anne McClanahan. In 1912 The International Grenfell Association was formed for better regulation of the Mission, Grenfell was made superintendent of this association. Following this appointment, Grenfell spent most of his time raising funds for Labrador in other countries. Grenfell's health began to fail in the 1920's and he retired to Vermont in 1935. He made his last trip to Labrador in 1939, following his wife's death to spread her ashes on Fox Farm Hill overlooking St. Anthony. Grenfell died two years later, in 1941. His ashes were brought to Labrador and spread next to his wife's, a boulder nearby bears their names with the inscription "Life is a field of honor".

Custodial history

Scope and content

Collection consists of an excerpt of a published article entitled "Eclipse of the Sun" by Wilfred Grenfell (1905); Correspondence of Sir. Wilfred Grenfell (1935-1938); Correspondence about the desire of Grenfell to chart the Labrador coast (1908); Correspondence informing Grenfell on plane service to Labrador (1923)

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by Nigel Markham circa 1980 (file 1); Acquired directly by THEM DAYS from the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (file 2, 3, & 4).


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Location of originals

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 publications; photograph collection; “Among the Deep Sea Fishers” (PER 16); LIBRARY

Related materials


No further accruals are expected

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Language of description

  • English

Script of description


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