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Our History

Them Days began as a Labrador Heritage Society project in 1973 with the intention of producing a single publication. Retired trapper Isaac Rich conducted the initial research by tape recording his friends in the Labrador communities of Happy Valley, Rigolet and North West River. In 1975 an organization of seniors, the Old Timers League, applied to the New Horizon Program to obtain funding for the first publication. On March 15, 1975 Doris Saunders was hired as editor to compile the material collected by Isaac Rich into a book. That first edition of Them Days magazine was made available to the public in August of 1975. The publication went on to become a quarterly magazine which is available on a subscription and retail sale basis.

In addition to the magazine, Them Days Labrador Archives began in 1984 with the arranging of researched material into an archive. This collection which continues to grow contains diaries, letters, reports, audio and video recordings, photographs, slides, maps and a reference library. The holdings in particular include such works as: the diary of Thomas Blake, a fisherman/trapper (1883-1890) from the Hamilton Inlet/Lake Melville; papers (1923 to 1979) of Monsignor Edward O’Brien, a Roman Catholic priest to the Innu; the field notes of William Duncan Strong, an anthropologist with the Rawson-MacMillan Field Museum Expedition of 1927-28; and the Moravian Periodical Accounts of the missionaries to the Inuit of Labrador from 1771 to 1937. Among the many and varied books of the collection are the Privy Council records concerning the Labrador/Quebec boundary decision of 1927; the three volumes of the journals of Captain George Cartwright covering 1770 to 1786; and the Goose Bay EIS from the Department of National Defence, an environmental impact statement on military flying activities in Labrador and Quebec, 1989. Much of the material organized has been donated by individuals, businesses and organizations interested in helping to preserve the rich cultural history of Labrador.

Them Days operated under the Labrador Heritage Society until it was incorporated on November 10, 1980. Them Days continues today as a non-profit organization run by a volunteer Board of Directors.

Doris Saunders (1941-2006)

Doris (Martin) Saunders was Them Days' founding editor. Over her nearly 30 years as editor, Doris saw the magazine grow from a single 64-page issue to over 100 regular issues, as well as a number of double issues and special publications. This was no easy feat, especially in the early days of the magazine, when she borrowed typewriters from friends and justified all text by hand - one character at a time. Doris conducted hundreds of interviews with the elders of Labrador, adding invaluable memories to our collective history with each interview. Her work, long deemed important by the people of Labrador, received outside recognition when she was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1986 and received an honourary doctorate from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1994. Doris' legacy lives on through every published issue of Them Days.