The William Cormack Story: Newfoundland Explorer & Beothuk Advocate


William Cormack is celebrated for his 58-day walk across the unmapped, unexplored interior of the island of Newfoundland in 1822. He is also remembered for his work with the Beothuk, the Indigenous people of Newfoundland—including his attempts to prevent their extinction. The information he obtained from the Beothuk woman Shanawdithit, the last known member of her people, is critical to our understanding of Beothuk history and culture.

Although Cormack is a central figure in Newfoundland’s history, he remains an enigma. Little is known of Cormack’s life, his entrepreneurial endeavors, his global roaming and his death in British Columbia. The William Cormack Story changes that. Thorough extensive research, including close reading of Cormack’s diaries and publications, Ingeborg Marshall sheds lights on the life and contributions of a fascinating and pioneering spirit.

Author Bio

Ingeborg Marshall

Ingeborg Marshall was born in Deutsch-Eylau, East Germany, but fled with her family to West Germany at the end of the Second World War. After teaching in Pennsylvania New York, Marshall moved to Newfoundland and Labrador in the 1960s where she became fascinated by the Beothuk and began the academic work she would become renowned for. Her research and writings about the Beothuk include The Beothuk of Newfoundland A Vanished People, and A History and Ethnography of the Beothuk. She is recipient of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2006.

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