Grenfell of Labrador: A Biography

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At first an evangelical missionary of the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fisherman, Grenfell became part of philanthropic movements on both sides of the Atlantic. Raising funds in Canada and the United States, he founded a network of hospitals, nursing stations, schools, and home industries that exists in a modified form to this day. In 1908, the story of his survival after a night marooned on a drifting patch of ice transformed him into a popular hero. He eventually became one of the most successful lecturers of his time.

Ronald Rompkey tells the story of Grenfell's education, his Anglo-Saxonism, and his devotion to broader issues of hygiene and public health. Above all, Rompkey shows that Grenfell went beyond being a doctor or a missionary to become a cultural politician who intervened in a colonial culture. Grenfell of Labrador provides a vivid picture of the man himself and the social movements through which he worked.

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Editorial Reviews

Grenfell began his career as a doctor in Newfoundland in 1892 and proceeded to found a network of hospitals, nursing stations, schools, and home industries that exists in a modified form to this day. His life and the cultural and political context of his accomplishments are Rompkey's subjects. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780773535312
  • Publisher: McGill-Queens University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald Rompkey is University Research Professor, Department of English, Memorial University of Newfoundland. He is the author or editor of eleven books, including three others on Labrador.

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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Deep Sea Missionary
1 Mostyn House School, 1865-1882 3
2 The London Hospital Medical College, 1883-1889 15
3 The Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen, 1889-1892 31
4 The Voyages of the Albert, 1892-1893 48
5 The Voyage of the Princess May, 1893-94 60
Pt. 2 Social Reformer
6 Hard Times in Newfoundland, 1894-1897 77
7 Exile in England, 1897-1899 92
8 The Hero Ascendant, 1900-1905 107
9 Grand Almoner, 1905-1908 125
10 The Hero Confirmed, 1908-1910 141
Pt. 3 Living Legend
11 Running a Railroad Accident, 1910-1914 159
12 Coping with War, 1914-1918 178
13 Promoting the Mission, 1918-1920 197
14 The Lecture Circuit, 1918-1923 208
15 Public Figure, 1923-1927 223
Pt. 4 Spent Runner
16 The New Mission, 1928-1931 239
17 The Death of Democracy, 1931-1934 256
18 Resignation, 1934-1937 270
19 The Last Lap, 1937-1940 284
Epilogue 297
Notes 303
Bibliography 335
Index 345
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