This album of photographs appears to be the work of Simeon H. Parsons (1844-1908), one of Newfoundland's earliest professional, self-taught and award-winning photographers. The photographs are very much in the style for which Parsons was noted and cover a wide geographic area, including the Burin Peninsula and coastal Labrador, in addition to more easily accessible areas such as St.John's and eastern Newfoundland communities. Internal evidence dates some of the images to around 1884 - 1885, and given that the recipient of the album, Joseph Laurence, died in October 1886, it would appear safe to assume that the album was compiled during those middle years of the 1880's. Some of the images may date earlier, possibly from stock photographs Parsons may have had on hand.
The album contains some rare images of St. John's streets and buildings that were later destroyed in the 1892 fire that ravaged most of the downtown of the city. It also contains images of people at work in the fishery, particularly on the coast of Labrador; various communities on the Burin Peninsula and on the east coast of Newfoundland; rural scenes, including rivers, lakes and waterfalls; icebergs; groups of people, particularly several gatherings of Methodist clergy, some of whom Laurence was probably responsible for sending to Newfoundland.
The album should prove beneficial to researchers interested in architectural and municipal development, the development of Methodism, the history of photography, the work of Simeon Parsons, and a variety of other subjects pertaining to Newfoundland in the latter half of the Nineteenth Century.
This digital collection was produced under contract to the
SchoolNet Digital Collections Program, Industry Canada.