Keith Matthews Collection
Dr. Keith Matthews, a founding member and former chair of the Maritime History Group,
during his tenure at Memorial, amassed and created a huge collection of documents and papers
relating the early fisheries and settlement of Newfoundland and the individuals who were involved
in its economic and political life. The basis of the collection was data assembled during research
for his doctoral thesis on the Newfoundland/West of England fisheries, and
later research projects. The collection has been organized into four main
series reflecting each of the areas of Matthews' research.
For many years Matthews collected information on the overseas commerce of Devon and Dorset,
whose ports were so dependent on the Newfoundland fishery. The data on the personnel involved
in this trade became so large that the `Name Files' collection was formed, expanding from
persons who participated in the fishery to include data on other trades and information about
persons outside the West Country, especially London, Bristol, Scotland, the Channel Islands and
Ireland, who were connected with Newfoundland. The 'Name Files'
collection is a unique and invaluable source of information on
Newfoundland settlement, containing information on 7,300 surnames,
occupying 20 filing cabinets. The data were collected from a wide variety
of sources and covers
the years of early settlement to the mid 19th century.
Early modern Newfoundland
This series consists of over 1,100 photocopies or transcripts of documents relating to early
modern Newfoundland (1500-1800) collected by Matthews from British archives. For the period
to 1700, this unique collection is a fairly complete sample of the documents relating to
Newfoundland in the repositories concerned, representing 80% of the relevant extant documents.
Coverage for the 18th century is much less complete. In 1989 Peter Pope, a PhD. candidate with
the department of history, completed a systematic itemized description of this material and
created a machine readable inventory and retrieval system for the collection, Finding
Information for Newfoundland Documents, (F.I.N.D.), which gives access to the collection
through a number of fields and allows key word searches.
A collection of photocopies of single documents from a variety of sources
which contains information on the Newfoundland fisheries, politics and
government in the 19th and 20th centuries. The major sources are British
government records, Colonial records relating
to Newfoundland and the papers of Newfoundland Governors and Prime Ministers.
This series consists of research material collected for Matthews'
doctoral thesis on the Newfoundland/West of England fisheries consisting
of annotated references, notes, extracts and transcripts,
from a wide variety of record series and subjects which have bearing on the development of
Newfoundland, its trade, settlement and fisheries, in the 16th - 19th centuries. There are also
many sub-series which refer directly to the West of England ports which were involved in the
Newfoundland trade, including statistics from customs and other shipping records.