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The James Robert Andersen Archive A Contribution to the Development and Practice of the Cultural and Political Economies of Nunatsiavut, NL

Lead Researcher and Department
Mark David Turner, Independent Scholar and Tom Gordon, School of Music

Funding Resources
The Applied Research Fund 2012-13 – The Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development
Makkovimiut Trust
Labrador Institute
Research Centre for the Study of Music Media and Place
School of Music

James Robert Andersen (1919-2011) was a small business entrepreneur and a multi-disciplinary documentarian who lived and recorded life in his home community of Makkovik, Labrador with singular intensity and insight. Over the last decade “Uncle Jim’s” extraordinary legacy of still images has been recognized nationally as the most comprehensive record of community life in Canada’s north. Together with his stories, moving images, audio recordings and the written records of his numerous entrepreneurial ventures, this legacy constitutes an unparalleled documentation of a life lived – both the life of the individual and the life of a community. After Uncle Jim’s death, the Andersen family sought a means of safeguarding his substantial legacy so that it would be accessible to the numerous communities – academic and interest-based – for which it would be instructive.

The James Robert Andersen Collection is divided into 23 separate series meant to reflect Mr. Andersen’s personal, civic, and religious life, his diverse business interests, and his audiovisual work. Also represented in this collection are a selection of papers collected by his father, John Andersen, as well as papers collected by his wife Susie Andersen (née Flowers). At present this collection contains 16 beta tapes, 2 8mm film reels, 230 VHS tapes, 65 Hi8 tapes, 112 Video8 tapes, 134 DVDs, 585 still photographs, and 795 photographic slides, all of which have been digitized. For the sake of patron convenience, moving images have been digitized at both large and small resolutions to accommodate any possible usage.

The cataloguing process provided an opportunity to develop a comprehensive overview of the collection’s contents and its rich potential for researchers of a wide range of interests. As a corollary to the cataloguing process itself, a collection syllabus has been developed that offers a glimpse of the possibilities that the James Robert Andersen Collection holds for researchers.

Our three archival partners, the White Elephant Museum (Makkovik), the Torngâsok Cultural Centre (Nain), the Centre for Newfoundland Studies (St. John’s), are all committed to integrating these materials into their respective collections; we envision a group of collections that will flourish in the future. But perhaps even more importantly, the collection as it has been described to date represents only a portion of those materials that will ultimately constitute it. Over the coming months there will be additions to this collection including a set of handwritten musical manuscripts and a sizeable amount of audio recordings made at Uncle Jim’s residence. These represent important additions to the collection and equally important resources for a range of other students, researchers and media producers.

2012 - 2013

James Robert Andersen Collection, Uncle Jim, entrepreneurship, writing, church, music, poetry

Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Zone 1 - Nunatsiavut Government

Industry Sectors
Heritage institutions (Arts, entertainment and recreation)
Museums (Arts, entertainment and recreation — Heritage institutions)
Independent artists, performers and writers (Arts, entertainment and recreation — Performing arts, spectator sports and related industries)

Thematic Categories
Archives (Arts, Culture & Heritage)
Music (Arts, Culture & Heritage)

School of Music (STJ)