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French folklore collection receives national grant

By Janet Harron

The Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive’s collection of French Newfoundland folklore is now easier for students, faculty and the general public to access.

The Centre D’Études Franco-Terreneuviennes (CEFT) collection was donated to MUNFLA in 1997 upon the retirement of the late Dr. Gerald Thomas. Thanks to the $4,646.90 National Archival Development Program grant from the Canadian Council of Archives, basic conservation treatment has been undertaken on the materials that are now completely catalogued, and fonds (archive-speak for “the collection”) and series descriptions will appear on the national database

Dr. Gerald Thomas was a doctoral student in 1975 when he founded the Centre D’Études Franco-Terreneuviennes. Attracted to the study of folklore by department founder Dr. Herbert Halpert, Dr. Thomas designed CEFT to provide a specialized archive of data concerned with the Francophone minority of Newfoundland.

Dr. Thomas went on to complete both an MA and PhD in folklore and focused on the folklore, language and dialect of Newfoundland’s French minority. The collection is comprised of multimedia folklore fieldwork, course assignments and materials related to CEFT’s administration and operation and to Dr. Thomas’ professional career.

The collection consists of textual records, photographs and audio recordings.
“We are very pleased to receive this NADP grant as it means that French Newfoundlanders will have better representation worldwide, and they, scholars, and the Canadian public will have better access to these cultural resources,” said archivist Patricia Fulton.

She acknowledges Mary Ellen Wright of the Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Archives for her assistance and Lisa Machin, a MA graduate of Memorial’s folklore department who worked with Ms. Fulton on the project.

The Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive is located on the fourth floor of the education building and is Canada’s foremost repository for recorded and collected items of Newfoundland and Labrador folklore, folklife, language, oral history and popular culture.

The archive is open to members of the university community and to the general public from Monday to Friday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Those planning on extensive research are encouraged to contact MUNFLA to arrange an appointment. See for further details.

The archive gratefully acknowledges the support of the NADP which is funded by the Government of Canada through Library and Archives Canada and administered by the Canadian Council of Archives.