In the late 1940s Elmer Harp, a young Ph.D candidate at Harvard, began the first of five summers of exploration along the coast of the Strait of Belle Isle. Interested in studying early human activity in the area he came to be equally fascinated with life in outport communities. During the summers of 1949-50 and 1961-63, he explored the coast, travelling from one isolated outport village to the next, initially by open boat and later on rudimentary roads, vividly capturing everyday life in his journals and through his extensive Kodachrome slides. In her introduction Priscilla Renouf places Harp's story of rural northern Newfoundland in historical and anthropological context. She notes that there are economic and cultural continuities from prehistoric times to the present and shows that the fundamental structure of outport life based on fishing and hunting remains stable to this very day.
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Elmer Harp Jr. (1913-2009) was professor emeritus in the Department of Anthropology, Dartmouth College, a department which he founded in 1967. His thirty-five-year career included numerous expeditions to the central and eastern Canadian Arctic, as well asReview:
"A fine observer's experiences and a wonderful snapshot of time and place that combines local history, geography, archaeology, and photography into a fascinating sketch of a transitional period of northwestern Newfoundland history. Harp's descriptions of his early work here take the form of an expanded diary in which we come to know the issues, people, and places of that time as he experienced them. The photographs are really marvellous. Harp has a great eye and all the shots are enticing, descriptive, and greatly add to the text." William W. Fitzhugh, National Museum, Smithsonian Institute /// "Lives and Landscapes offers a glimpse into a now-vanished outport world and shows some of the early changes that transformed this world. Elaine Harp's short pieces, warmly anecdotal, enriched my understanding of the local culture." Louise Abbott, author of The Coast Way: A Portrait of the English on the Lower North Shore of the St Lawrence
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