Perished: The 1914 Newfoundland Sealing Disaster


In March 1914, 132 men from the SS Newfoundland scrambled onto the treacherous North Atlantic ice floes to hunt seals. Lost in a sudden blizzard, the sealers wandered for two days and nights before rescue. Only 55 made it back alive. This disaster had a deep and lasting effect. Over one hundred years later, the story still resonates.

Perished traces the events leading up to, during, and after the tragedy, revisiting the horrors of those days and nights on the ice and examining its long-term ramifications. It is also a one-of-a-kind backgrounder on the seal hunt, exploring the roots of the industry, the conditions on board the sealing vessels, the cut-throat competitiveness of sealing captains, and the determination of sealers who put their lives on the line every spring as they headed to the ice. Illustrated with more than 200 rarely seen archival photos and documents, including pull-out facsimiles of maps, log book entries, telegrams, a sealer’s ticket for the SS Newfoundland, and more.

Perished: The 1914 Newfoundland Sealing Disaster won the Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing in 2015.

Author Bio

Jenny Higgins

Jenny Higgins is a writer and researcher living in Flatrock, Newfoundland and Labrador. Her work has been published in newspapers and magazines, on Memorial University’s Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Website, and broadcast on CBC Radio and TV. In 2014, she released her first book, called Perished: The 1914 Newfoundland Sealing Disaster. It won the Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing. Her second book, Newfoundland in the First World War, was published in 2016. She also writes for Memorial University’s Maritime History Archive and the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Education.

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