The IslandVoices project, with initial support from the Inukshuk Foundation, has digitized the vast oral history audio archive created by well-known Island historian and broadcaster Reg “Dutch” Thompson. Over the course of more then 20 years, Dutch has recorded nearly 1,000 hours-worth of interviews with older Islanders as they share their recollections of “the bygone days” (primarily the 1920s-1940s). This project has created digital back-ups made of all these recordings (which previously only existed in their original audiocassette format) and their content has been catalogued and described online in the Library’s IslandArchives.ca portal.
The Thompson archive is a unique treasure trove of stories, folklore, and song, as interviewees offer memories of rum-running, storms, natural disasters, and wartime, commingled with vivid evocations of everyday life and work in a world now hard to imagine. The Library is happy to share this amazing part of the island’s cultural memory with students, scholars, researchers, and others – near and far – with an interest in the past life of this remarkable place.
Over the next few years we will add additional stories to IslandVoices, using existing collections as well as new material provided by the Island community. If you would like to contribute content or funds to help with these efforts, we would like to hear from you.