Charles Sydney Frost


Colonial Building

The Colonial Building, St John's, NL


The Manuels River

Great view of the Falls on the Manuels River.


Delegation to Ottawa 1948

These folks are the delegation to Ottawa to discuss the Terms of Union, Newfoundland and Canada. Can you recognize anyone?


Ayre's Department Store

Ayre's Department Store on Water Street.
Ayre, Charles Robert (1819-1889). Businessman; politician. Born Exeter. Ayre arrived in Newfoundland in 1832 to work in the business of Benjamin Bowring in St. John's. Later he left the Bowring Company to establish a business with John Steer, the resulting partnership lasting until 1858. One year later he opened a store on Water Street with a second partner, Alexander Marshall. When the latter resigned in 1884 Ayre engaged three of his sons to enter into business with him, thus creating Ayre and Sons. As well, Ayre served as a Member of the House of Assembly for the District of Burin from 1873 to 1878, as a member of the Executive Council in Robert Thorburn's administration of 1885 to 1888, and as Member of the Legislative Council from 1979 to Ayre's death in 1889. Active in the Methodist Church as well, Ayre is remembered also for having donated $15,000 toward the building of a Methodist orphanage in St. John's.
H.Y. Mott (1894), A.B. Perlin (1958?), D.W. Prowse (1896), Evening Mercury (Apr. 12, 1889), JHA (1874-1879), JLC (1879-1889). (Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador)


William Pearce Moss diaries

This collection consists of two diaries written by William Pearce Moss of Twillingate. The first and smaller diary is from April 1, 1854 to December 31, 1854. The second diary covers the period from August 24, 1875 to December 13, 1876. Both diaries are a daily record of the weather, births and deaths, along with accounts of arrivals and departures of shipping vessels at Twillingate.

William Pearce Moss was born in 1838 in Twillingate, Newfoundland. We do not know any more about him then what is contained in these two diaries. The first of his diaries was written when he was 16 years old and the second, when he was 37. During these years, Twillingate was the major mercantile centre for Notre Dame Bay, and a fishing centre. It was ofter referred to as " the capital of the north." Fishing and merchant vessels were entering and exiting the harbor daily and Moss records the names of some of these ships in his diaries. Provisions were brought to Twillingate on schooners, many of which were owned by the Slades, an English family running their mercantile business from Poole, England, to Newfoundland.

The end of the 1800's marked an end to the boom. Sailing ships made way for steamers. The Bank Crash of 1894 and the Labrador fishing crisis saw an end to Twillingate's prosperity

William Pearce Moss Diary 1854

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Pearson's Peak

In 1948 the Government of Canada initiated legislation to provide for a highway to be built across Canada from East to West.
Newfoundland entered into an agreement with the Government of Canada in 1950 for the construction of its section of the highway. The original agreement provided for fifty-fifty cost sharing between the two Governments and the project was to be completed by 1956. This, however, became only one of four agreements before the highway was completed.The final agreement was signed in 1964 and the Government of Canada agreed to pay ninety per cent of the cost.
The slogan "We'll finish the Drive in '65 thanks to Mr. Pearson" was adopted.
It was completed in 1965 at a cost of $120,000,000.
The highway was 565 miles long, running from St. John's to Port aux Basques.
It contained eighty-five bridges and overpasses.
The highway was officially opened by Premier Smallwood with a motor cavalcade from St. John's to Port au Basques. Half-way across the Island he was met by the Prime Minister of Canada, Lester B. Pearson who officially opened the road. A memorial was unveiled at Grand Falls by Pearson and named in his honour "Pearson's Peak."


First World War Nurses

Ruby Ayre with her fellow nurses at the Ascot Auxiliary Military Hospital c. 1916

To see more about Ruby Ayre, check the finding aid to this Collection, Coll-322
To view the Photograph Album click here.


Port aux Basques?

This photo is from the Geography Collection of Historical Photographs. The photos were copied from glass negatives through a special project done in the 1970s by the Geography Department at Memorial University. There are 1109 black and white photographs. These photographs depict views of Newfoundland and Labrador communities, buildings, houses, churches, public buildings, ships, railways, and special events. The creation of these photographs was primarily the work of three prominent photographers: Robert Holloway, S.H. Parsons and James Vey.

To view this collection click here. To learn more about the collection, please see the Finding Aid for Coll-137


Bowring's Department Store

(02 01 018)  Mercantile and Manufacturing, St. John's. Bowrings Store interior view
Another view of Bowring's department store, on Water Street, St. John's.
This photo is just one of over 1000 online. To view click here.


Bowring's Department Store!

(02 01 020)  Mercantile and Manufacturing, St. John's. Bowrings Store interior view
Rare interior view of a department store on Water Street, St. John's.


Bishop's Falls?

According to the description this is Bishop's Falls, in central Newfoundland. Is it? The people on the Bishop's Falls facebook page are divided. Many think it is Glenwood.

This is just one photo from over 1000 in the Geography Collection. Check it out online Click here


1836 Census Exploits River, Cape John and Fogo Island

"Fogo Harbour: Jos Oake, planter; Rich Elliott, planter .... " just some of the names in this unique 1836 census.
To view the Census click here: 1836 Census
This is a handwritten nominal census for the year 1836 for the area from Exploits River to Cape John and Fogo Island. This census is just one part of the collection which has been scanned and placed on this website.

The Peyton Family Collection consists of a variety of records deposited in the Archives and Special Collections division by Ernest Peyton of Gander, Newfoundland, as well as material concerning the Peyton family which was transferred from other collections in the Archives. Ernest Peyton is a direct descendant of John Peyton, Senior, the progenitor of a family which has played a prominent role in Newfoundland history: John Peyton, Senior (1747-1827), his son, John Peyton, Junior (1793 -1879), and his son, Thomas Peyton, residents of Exploits Island and Twillingate.

The material in this collection ranges from 1806 to 1908 and was mainly written by the Peytons mentioned above. There are a number of legal journals, wills, notary work for shipping wrecks, and writs issued for the Supreme Court. There are two voters lists for Twillingate district (1882 and 1889) which may be the only ones extant from before 1900. A valuable item is the 1836 nominal census for Twillingate and Fogo area which is probably the only one of its kind to have survived from before 1900. The register of fishing rooms (1806-1828) is a rare treasure which should be of interest to historians, demographers, geographers, and genealogists. Other material includes memorials of indentures generated through the Deputy Surveyor's Office, Twillingate, from 1851 to 1908; and, navigational aids for sailing from Newfoundland to a variety of places in Spain, Portugal, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States of America, and the West Indies.

For more information on the collection please visit the finding aid by clicking Coll-150


Christmas Cards and more!

In 1997 Janet Davis and Duke Kelloway, in Wesleyville, became the owners of the old Job Kean premises in Brookfield, Bonavista Bay. Among the items purchased with the house were hundreds of Christmas cards dating from 1905 to 1926. The following year Ms Davis donated this wonderful collection to the Archives and Special Collections division of the Queen Elizabeth II Library.
Job Kean's family moved from Flower's Island, Bonavista Bay, to Norton's Cove in 1878. The Keans were seafaring people. Job's uncle, the famous Captain Abram Kean, (who subsequently renamed Norton's Cove to Brookfield) was the most successful sealing captain in Newfoundland history. Like his uncles and brothers, Job participated in the seal fishery in the spring of the year and in the cod fishery on the Labrador coast during the summer. He served as captain of the sealing ship the S.S. Erik for 12 years and was captain of the S.S. Leopard during the Greenland disaster of 1898.

Captain Job Kean (1863-1945) married Virtue Maria Hann (1858-1929) of Cape Cove. They built a three-storey Mansard-roofed house in Norton's Cove in 1884, and around 1890 opened a shop that supplied ships' provisions - groceries, clothing, salt - in essence, everything from "a needle to an anchor". Job and Virtue had eleven children: five sons: Hedley Walter (d.1892, 7 mos.) Baxter Wesley (1895-1976) who was to remain a bachelor and inherit the family property: Alexander Smith (d. 1905, 10 mos.) and Charles (1901-1975) who married Lydia Parsons of cat Harbour, and six daughters: Maggie Marcilla Hann (b.1884) who married Baxter Barbour from Newtown; Sophie who moved to New York and subsequently married there; Gladys Murray (d. 1891, 7 mos.); Mary Jane (d. 1897, 5 mos.); Daisy, who married Job Wornell of Greenspond and later Joseph Bartlett; and Carrie who graduated from the Friends Hospital in Philadelphia as a nurse. The Kean shop was the centre of commerce in the Brookfield area. Located near the harbour front, Kean's ships had easy access to the shop when they arrived in port for supplies and merchandise. Kean's also supplied other local sailing vessels. According to residents, Aunt Virtue and her son Baxter would usually be found behind the counter. In addition, Virtue ran the telegraph and post office from these premises.

Virtue Kean also became famous as a poet and a songwriter. According to tradition, she wrote the folk song "Lukey's Boat" and performed it one night at the Methodist Church Hall as a way of poking fun at local resident Luke Gaulton. As she sang verse after verse ridiculing both him and his boat, the audience roared with laughter. Gaulton later added a verse of his own, making fun of Virtue's well-known hypochondria.

Virtue died in 1929 and in 1945, after Job's death, Baxter was left to carry on alone. At his death, the business passed to his nephew Job Kean, son of Charlie Kean, who eventually closed up shop in the 1970s and moved to St. John's.

Today there is a new and thriving enterprise on the old Kean property. Janet Davis, after lovingly restoring the shop to its former glory, operates the Norton's Cove Studio from there in the award-winning heritage structure.
To view the cards on line click here Christmas cards
For more about Job Kean see the Archives finding aid COLL-339


Fabulous Photo!

Here is a sample of the many great photos in the Archives.
This is Churchill Falls back when it was the Hamilton River and the Hamilton Falls.


1000 Photographs

This collection is actually called "The Geography Collection" because the photos were copied from glass negatives through a special project done in the 1970s by the Geography Department at Memorial University. There are 1109 black and white photographs. These photographs depict views of Newfoundland and Labrador houses, churches, public buildings, ships, railways, communities, and special events. The creation of these photographs was primarily the work of three prominent photographers: Robert Holloway, S.H. Parsons and James Vey.
To view this collection click here. To learn more about the collection, please see the Finding Aid for Coll-137
Anglican Church, Greenspond, c. 1900


Margaret Mayo Chancey Diary

This diary was kept by a young woman in her mid-twenties during the year 1897. It contains a brief entry for each day; nothing spectacular, just ordinary events in the life of a young woman living in St. John's as the end of a century approached. She records the weather, what she did each day, shopping expeditions, church services, tea parties, staying at home with her mother. On the cover of the diary she has written her name and address. The family home was located at 31 Cookstown Road, St. John's.
Margaret Jane Hill Mayo was born in St. John's in 1871 or 1872. She was the youngest of three children born to William Mayo (1829-1904) and Rebecca Butler (1833-1912). Her older sister, Mary, was born in 1861, married Eli Benson of Grate's Cove in 1885 and died in 1889 at the age of 28. Her brother, John Frederick, was born in 1869, married Rebecca Rogers, and died in 1944. William Mayo's grandfather, also William Mayo, came to Newfoundland from Great Britain with the Royal Newfoundland Company, a military force stationed in St. John's, in the 1790s. He married Frances King in St. John's in 1796 and they had four children, one of whom was James Mayo. James married Mary Dagwell of St. John's and they, too, had four children, the eldest of whom was William Mayo.

For more about Margaret Chancey see the Archives finding aid MF-150
To view the diary click here


Sir Richard Squires - European Tour 1920

Sir Richard Squires served as Prime Minister of Newfoundland from 1919 to 1923 and 1928 to 1932.
The photograph album shown here is part of a larger collection. It was donated to the Archives and Special Collections by Squires’s grandson Robert Squires, in March 2014. The photo album depicts Sir Richard Squires tour of Europe in 1920 and includes images of the Beaumont Hamel battleground. His wife, Lady Helena Squires, daughter, Elaine, and Sir William Coaker also accompanied him on the tour.
Richard Anderson Squires was born in Harbour Grace on January 18, 1880, the son of Alexander Squires and Sydney Anderson. He received his early education there at the Grammar School and at the Methodist Academy, Carbonear, before completing his schooling in St. John's at the Methodist College (later Prince of Wales College). He attended Dalhousie University, Halifax, where he studied law, graduating with an L.L.B. in 1901. He was first elected to the Newfoundland House of Assembly in the election of May 8, 1909. He served as Prime Minister and Colonial Secretary: 1919-1923, and Prime Minister, Minister of Justice and Attorney General: 1928-1932.

For more information on the Sir Richard Squires Collection, see finding aid Coll-250 here.

To view the Photograph Album click here
The photo below is the Cenotaph, London - 11/11/20


Frew and Tessier Photo Albums

These two photograph albums contain black and white photographs, mostly of St. John's and surrounding area, and were probably collected by the Frew family of St. John's. They appear to be taken around the turn of the century and contain several good images of St. John's after the Great Fire of 1892. On the inside back cover there is written "G.J. Tessier, Amateur photographer".

The albums were apparently also used as scrapbooks and contains paper images of, possibly, Africa.
Photograph Album 1
Photograph Album 2
For more information on this Frew and Tessier Collection, see the finding aid Coll-276

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Charles Sydney Frost Collection

The photographs in this album were collected by Charles Sydney Frost during his service with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in the First World War. Most of the photographs were taken between 1914 and 1918. They are snapshots of Regiment officers while in the United Kingdom and France. The majority of these men were from "B" Company and it is likely that the photos of these men were taken while C.S. Frost presided over that company as Captain. Also contained in the album are reproductions of the 12 Newfoundland stamps that were issued to honor the Regiment's service in World War One.
For more information on this collection, see the Frost Finding aid, COLL-346
Photograph Album