Sep 28, 2023 - Sale 2646

Sale 2646 - Lot 68

Price Realized: $ 10,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200
(CANADA.) Extensive photo album kept by a physician with the Grenfell Mission in remote parts of Labrador. Approximately 253 photographs laid down on 46 album leaves. Oblong 4to, original cloth gilt-stamped "Photographs", minor wear; a few photos reattached with tape, a portion of one leaf clipped out, minor wear to a few photos. Labrador, June to December 1915

Additional Details

The Grenfell Mission was a charitable organization which sent doctors to the remote coastal areas of Labrador on Canada's northern Atlantic coast. One of their northernmost stations was at Indian Harbour, on a small island at the mouth of Churchill River. This album was compiled by Dr. Harold Brooke Thomas (1887-1967) of Quincy, MA, a recent Harvard Medical School graduate who served with the Grenfell Mission at Indian Harbour and elsewhere from June through December 1915.

Many, although not most, of the photographs have short captions. They seem to be arranged chronologically, with the earliest depicting his journey northward, including views of the Bras d'Or lake in Nova Scotia, and St. John's, Newfoundland. Identified Labrador shots include Indian Harbour, Hawke Harbour, and North West River--all known Grenfell bases. One shows the Revillon Freres trading post at North West River.

Among the named sitters is Dr. Henry Locke "Harry" Paddon (1881-1939), a long-serving Grenfell physician at Indian Harbour and elsewhere, who later wrote the regional anthem "Ode to Labrador." Several of his nurses and patients are also identified. Several show a Labrador visit by the Governor-General of Canada, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught (uncle of King George V). One page shows a large bed of fish laid out to dry, and a substantial pile of fresh fish being fed to hungry working dogs.

Dr. Thomas did not sign this album. However, the volume was found with a tag reading "H.T. with the Grenfell Mission," and laid in are a 1925 postcard he wrote to his mother, as well as her calling card, "Mrs. George E. Thomas." His service was noted in the Boston Globe of 20 December 1915, and his 1916 article "A Summer at Indian Harbour Hospital" is held in the Grenfell Mission archives. Although he is not named in any of the photographs, several shots resemble the portrait of Thomas in his tree profile. A few of the photographs in the rear of the volume show the campus of Harvard Medical School where he attended, and one final group shot seems to show Dr. Thomas in uniform during World War One.