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Archives

Memorial University’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences is home to a number of research and archival spaces which contain unique collections reflecting the history, language, oral culture, folkways and popular culture of Newfoundland and Labrador, the North Atlantic, and the wider world. Each has its own mini-showcase page listed below with projects associated with the archive. Check back often as more projects and researchers will be added to the Showcase.

The faculty’s archives work closely with Memorial’s University library and archives, which includes the Centre for Newfoundland Studies, and the Digital Archives Initiative which contains over 212,000 digitized records in a ContentDM collection management system.

Folklore and Languages Archive

The MUN Folklore Archives (MUNFLA) is recognized as one of Canada’s foremost repositories for recorded and collected items of folklore in all its various genres: custom, language, oral history, song, and popular culture. Its holdings include 160,000 folklore survey cards; nearly 50,000 audio and video recordings; 21,200 images; over 170 metres of manuscripts and questionnaires; as well as papers and folklore reference materials. MUNFLA comprises extensive collections of Newfoundland and Labrador folksongs and music (See MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada), folk narratives of many kinds, oral history, folk customs, beliefs and practices, childlore and descriptions of material culture, and Newfoundland popular culture. It is also now home to Memorial’s English Language Research Centre’s collection, (ELRC) has over 100,000 lexical files compiled for the Dictionary of Newfoundland English, as well as files and maps of local toponymy (place names), a collection of Newfoundland and Labrador proverbs and proverbial speech, a collection of family names (approximately a third of which appeared in Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, 1976; corr. edition 1998), and unique and extensive audio recordings, including Harold Paddock’s (Linguistics, retired) lexical Atlas interview recordings (representing some 130 traditional speakers from both the island and Labrador.

Maritime History Archives

The Maritime History Archive (MHA) contains extensive records on commercial, ocean, and maritime history related to the history of maritime activities in Newfoundland and Labrador and throughout the North Atlantic world in the 19th through 20th centuries. Its vast collections, which are used by international as well as local and student researchers, include 4,762 linear metres of records pertaining to crew records from across the British Empire (obtained mid-20th century from the British Library); as well as 553 metres of business records; 32 meters of images; 180m of papers; and 1700 charts. They are used by researchers in many fields: medical history, legal history, maritime history, labour and family history, documentary films, and web-based projects.