All regular Lectures are at the Marine Institute at Ridge Road.

Hampton Hall is through the main front door at the Marine Institute and to the left. All lectures start at 7:30 pm. Free parking is available in front and to the west of the building.

Lectures are held on the last Thursday of the months of September, October, November, January, February, March and April. Please contact the office for symposia venues.

Please check the NEXT SYMPOSIUM page on this site for symposia information.



Jan 31 Researching the Story of Spanish Flu in Labrador

The Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918 killed millions of people but nowhere on earth was the devastation greater than in Labrador. Seventy per cent of the Inuit in Okak and Hebron and twenty per cent of the residents of Sandwich Bay died. During the disaster, a few people kept journals; government records and newspaper accounts noted the occurrence of mass death in Labrador. In the years following, survivors were interviewed, especially by staff of Labrador’s oral history quarterly, Them Days. For her new book, We All Expected To Die: Spanish Influenza in Labrador, 1918-1919, Anne Budgell examined these information sources, and along with the story of hardship and suffering, found discrepancies, contradictions, and fabrications. In her lecture, she will discuss the challenges of reconstructing a story from a hundred years ago. The audience will also see the National Film Board documentary from 1985, The Last Days of Okak.

Click player below to hear the lecture. Audio only available.

Anne Budgell
Feb 28 "Wordsworth's Nephew in Labrador 1853-1867: Part II"

Last year, Marie Wadden introduced us to Rev. George Hutchinson and his famous English family, including the poet William Wordsworth. It is thanks to his "uncle Wordsworth" that we know heartbreak (the mysterious Miss R.) may have driven Hutchinson across the Atlantic. But what happened when he got here? What happened after Bishop Edward Feild sailed away on his Mission ship "The Hawk" in July 1853, having dropped the young Englishman off at Battle Harbour and a way of life unlike anything Hutchinson ever imagined?

Author Marie Wadden has been able to piece together Hutchinson's life from cradle to grave. His letters home make him an important witness to mid-19th century Labrador in particular. His admiration for the strength and resilience of his parishioners kept him on the job in southern Labrador far longer than his bishop thought possible, especially for a young man accustomed to much privilege.

Marie Wadden
Mar 7 The Grenfell Medical Mission

The Grenfell Medical Mission and American Support in Newfoundland and Labrador, 1890s to 1940s, a new collection of essays by eleven authors co-edited by Jennifer J. Connor and Katherine Side of Memorial University, explores the American personnel, supplies, and money that sustained the organization that became the International Grenfell Association. (For more information click here) Short presentations about their chapters will be given by authors. Details of topics will follow.
Mar 28


“ An Eighty-Five Year Odyssey: The Voter and Newfoundland’s Rocky Road to Confederation, 1864–1949"

This paper considers the issue of Confederation in Newfoundland politics from the early 1860s when, like the other British North American colonies, it too seriously turned its focus to union, to 1949, when it became a province of Canada. Building upon the existing historiography, it moves the interpretation on union with Canada away from notions of conspiracy to focus on the Newfoundland voter. It views democracy as a competitive process where politicians weave competing narratives, and it argues that Newfoundlanders should not be seen as ill-informed, illiterate, and easily swayed by prejudice and hysteria or by the emotional appeal of demagogues, not in 1869 and not in 1948. It challenges the idea that Confederation was rejected in 1869 and accepted in 1948 because of the stupidity and ignorance of the voter or because the electorate was uneducated and poor and, hence, did not really understand the issues and easily misled. It argues that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians made informed and rational choices both in rejecting Confederation in 1869 and in choosing Canada in 1948. Moreover, by 1948, the appeal to political citizenship and nationalism that had been instrumental in the first debate over Confederation in 1869 was replaced by an appeal to social citizenship, and that, combined with the votes of women, contributed to the union of Newfoundland and Canada.

Click player below to hear the lecture. Audio only available.

Raymond B. Blake
Apr 25


Shane O’Dea will talk about the George Story he knew and about George’s central role in the development of the Newfoundland preservation movement. The lecture will reach from the first glimmerings of concern for our built heritage up through the trials and triumphs of the sixties and seventies into the present. The Newfoundland and Labrador Historical Society (NHS) George Story Lecture is in honour of George Morley Story (1927-1994), past president of the Society and winner of the NHS’s Heritage Award for 1982-1983. Dr. Story joined Memorial University’s Department of English Language and Literature in 1954, where he established an international reputation as a lexicographer and Renaissance scholar, and pioneered the study of Newfoundland history, culture, language and literature. Dr. Story was very active in the public promotion and preservation of Newfoundland’s cultural and historical heritage.
Shane O'Dea