Publishing about Them Days for 49 years and counting

Posted on May 24, 2024 | By Alexander Chafe | 0 Comments

 

Labradorians reading early copies of Them Days (photo credit: Them Days)

The 1970s marked a significant time of change in Labrador. The Labrador flag was released in 1974 and the area and its people started to define a unique identity. The Labrador Heritage Society was also formed during this decade to preserve and celebrate the area’s history. Among the Society’s initiatives was creating a publication to tell the stories of days gone by and nearly 50 years later it’s still in production.

Them early days

Planned to be a single book that detailed the history of Labrador, initial research for Them Days was undertaken by Isaac Rich. A retired trapper, he interviewed many of his trapping buddies throughout Rigolet, Happy Valley and North West River, and documented his own stories of living and working in Labrador. Funding from the New Horizon Program later allowed the Labrador Heritage Society to hire Doris Saunders to write and edit the publication.

Given the public’s positive reaction to the initiative, it was decided that it should not be a one-time publication. Using a phrase repeated by many interviewees, the magazine was titled Them Days and its first issue was released in August 1975.

 

Doris Saunders (centre), original editor of Them Days, with Ella Blake on the left and Flora Baikie on the right, in North West River, 1978 (photo credit: Them Days)

Archiving history

The magazine became a quarterly publication distributed to subscribers and select retailers. In the early days, stories were written on borrowed typewriters and page layouts were designed by cutting and pasting sections together by hand. Although it was well-received by Labradorians, Them Days had some lean times. However, Doris Saunders remained committed to the publication and stayed on as editor for over 25 years, even during years when she couldn’t be paid.

Them Days eventually separated from the Labrador Heritage Society in 1980 and incorporated as a registered charity. In 1984, the magazine opened Them Days Labrador Archives to store all the photos, stories, recordings and other artifacts collected over time. The archives continue to grow and are open to the public.

 

Aimee Chaulk, current editor of Them Days (photo credit: Them Days)

Moving digital

The current editor of Them Days, Aimee Chaulk, started working for the magazine in 2008. She says by the time she joined many processes had become digital, but they still have legacy equipment on hand like tape players to listen to older media.

In 2023, Them Days published its first online edition and Chaulk says an audio version will be released next month. Digitalizing the archives is an ongoing project.

 

The cover of an edition of Them Days from 2023 (photo credit: Them Days).

These days

Today, Them Days continues as a quarterly publication available as a printed black and white magazine and online. Chaulk shared that most of their loyal subscribers are within N.L., but they do have subscribers all around the world, as far away as New Zealand.

Commenting on the popularity of Them Days over time, Chaulk says: “It became popular very quickly and is much loved here in Labrador. Many people have shelves of Them Days at home and collect every issue.”


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