Aude: He discovers a Canadian historical treasure while cleaning up his newspaper collection

Tom Judge, who lived in Limoux for many years, wanted to make room in his home by donating several of his great-grandfather Charles Carpenter’s magazines. Without realizing that these were actually priceless documents.

If it’s 77 days until Christmas, Colleen Quigley has already received her gift. On Thursday, October 6th, this young archivist from memorial university left her bags in Limoux, several thousand miles from Labrador, a state in Canada where she lives.

A great journey to recover a real national treasure: the complete collection of the journals of Charles C. Carpenter, the first American missionary sent to Labrador from 1848 to 1918.Not one is missing and they are incredibly well preserved.” she is happy, goosebumps on her forearms. “This is a real stroke of luck”notes Thomas Richter.

A lost collection

In fact, these diaries, inherited from his grandfather, accompanied him on his many journeys traveling the world with this explorer. “They might have been burned in a fire, taken on water, damaged, lost… but no”; This memory smuggler, based in Limoux for many years, decided to part with the fifty or so books with green covers by sorting at home. “My children were not interested in it, I wanted to find them a permanent homee, refers to Thomas Judge. I knew it might be of interest to historians, so I made a couple of calls”;

On the other side of the Atlantic these calls are like a tidal wave. “I cried and my mother, who was also an archivist, cried too”, says Colleen Quigley. Because these works were entwined with a great mystery that constituted “the largest collection of daily newspapers, covering without interruption the longest period of American history”. “In the 1970s some passages were microfilmed, but we did not know where the originals were”;

A woman’s story

The rediscovery of these diaries is therefore of crucial importance for archivists as well as for historians, archaeologists or even indigenous peoples. “These stories contain a wealth of information for us to study beyond the religious aspect of Charles Carpenter’s mission.”, notes Colleen Quigley. Climate change, Inuit traditions or even health issues are of particular interest to researchers and individuals. Not to mention his wife’s diaries which are a testimony “extremely rare for the time”. “It’s a whole part of our history being given back to us and we can never thank Thomas Judge enough for that”;

A meaning that aligns the adopted Limouxin with its heritage. “I got these diaries for my 15th birthday. I found them a burdenhe says. I didn’t expect that so many people would ask me to give them this reception”. And whether the upcoming departure of these works by boat gives him a little something “pull out”it also reconnects it with its own history. “I had embarked on my own exploration of Labrador, that wild and rugged territory, before turning to Africa.”

Jordan Johnson

Award-winning entrepreneur. Baconaholic. Food advocate. Wannabe beer maven. Twitter ninja.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *