Welcome to the NL Queer Research Initiative’s Digital Archive!

Is it your first time visiting? Are you interested in a particular topic, but not sure how to start your search? The following guide will walk you through the process.

The archival records in this digital archive include content and language that could be upsetting and triggering. These records reflect the attitudes of the historical period in which they were created and therefore include language and images that could be racist, sexist, ableist, transphobic, homophobic, and otherwise discriminatory. Many of these terms are unacceptable today and NLQRI does not condone their usage outside of educational contexts. Many of the records in this collection contain references to sexual content and are not recommended for children under the age of 13.

How To Do a Keyword Search

Every item in the Digital Archive is tagged with searchable keywords. In the search bar at the top of the page, start by searching a general keyword relating to the topic you’re interested in. 

Examples include: 

Decades. I.e. 1890s, 1900s, 1980s

Art forms or materials depicted/described. I.e. architecture, art, costumes, poetry, journals

Subject names. I.e. Frederick A. Brazill, Charles H. Danielle

Locations. I.e. St. John’s, Octagon Castle

Start with the most general search term you can think of, to get the most results. Scroll through the entries to see which look most relevant to your search. Once you click on an entry, you’ll be able to scroll down to see the full list of keyword tags associated with that item. You can click on any of these tags to see all the materials which share that tag. This can be a great way of exploring the collection if you’re not sure which keywords to use.

How To Do an Advanced Search

If you have a clearer idea of what you’re looking for, and want to narrow down the results, using the Advanced Search function can help.

Click the “...” that is just to the left of the looking glass symbol in the search bar, and then select “Advanced Search.” This will take you to the Advanced Search page.

You can still search by keyword by putting a keyword in the first field (“Search for Keywords”). You can then further narrow your search using some of the other fields.

The most useful area is the “Narrow by Specific Fields” option. In the first dropdown menu, you can select which field you want to specify. Not all archival items will have entries for each field, so by using this, you may limit the results you get. However, useful fields to work with include:


Select “Description” in the first dropdown menu under “Narrow by Specific Fields.” In the second dropdown menu, select “contains,” then enter your search term in the field below. Any item in the archive whose description contains that word will show up.


If you’re looking for materials created by a particular individual or institution, select “Creator” in the first dropdown menu, and “contains,” “is exactly,” or “starts with” in the second dropdown menu, then enter your search term.


If you wish to limit the results to those contained within a particular archives, select “Source” in the first dropdown menu. If you know the exact name of the archives, select “starts with” in the second dropdown menu. If you only know part of the name, select “contains” or “starts with.” Do not select “is exactly,” as the source also includes the particular collection within the archives. Selecting “is exactly,” and then only entering the name of the archives will yield no results.


Select “Language” in the first dropdown menu, and “contains” in the second dropdown menu, then enter the language you’re looking for materials in. Do not select “is exactly,” as, for example, if you searched “is exactly English,” and an item was in both English and French, you would not see that item show up.


Select “Type” in the first dropdown menu, and “is exactly” in the second dropdown menu. Then type in the name of the format of materials you’re looking for. Examples include “Letter,” “Photograph,” “Newspaper,” etc.

One other search function you can use is the “Search by Collection” menu. Here, the dropdown menu gives you a list of the collections created by the NL Queer Archive for the purpose of our Digital Archives. If you would like to see all the items that we have grouped in a particular collection, select that collection from the dropdown menu. The collection you choose can be further refined by pairing it with the search functions explained above.

Tip: You can include multiple fields. For example, if you want photographs of/relating to Charles Henry Danielle, you would choose “Description” and “contains,” and then type “Danielle.” Then, directly below where you typed “Danielle,” you would click “Add a Field.” Then you would go to the first dropdown menu after the word “AND,” and select “Type.” In the second dropdown menu, you would select, “is exactly.” Then you would type “photograph” in the field below.

Tip: Not sure what search terms to use for each field? Start with a general keyword search and open the first entry that comes up. Take a look at its entry to get an idea of what terms might be used in the kinds of entries you’re looking for.

How to Read an Archival Entry

When you select an item, you will be taken to a page with one or more images of the item, along with as much information as is available. Here is a step-by-step walkthrough of each category of information. (Not all entries will have all categories):

  1. Headline: The descriptive title of each item is in capital letters at the top of the page
  2. Image(s): One or more images, where available, can be clicked to open larger, high-resolution files
  3. Title: The title is listed again
  4. Description: A brief but thorough description of what the item is/contains/depicts
  5. Creator: The name of the person or institution who created the item
  6. Source: The name of the archives which owns the item, along with the collection within that archives to which the item belongs
  7. Publisher: is always Memorial University of Newfoundland Digital Archives Initiative and Archives and Special Collections 
  8. Date: The date the item was created. This can be a precise date, or a general time period. While this is a searchable field, it is not the most effective to search by, as the specificity of the date ranges widely.
  9. Format: The format of the digitised file (i.e. JPG, PNG, etc.)
  10. Language: The language(s), if any, present in the item
  11. Type: The type or format of media for the item
  12. Collection: Which collection, as created by the NL Queer Archives, the item is part of. This can be clicked to be taken to a list of other items in the collection.
  13. Tags: One or more keywords associated with the item. These can also be clicked to be taken to a list of other items associated with the same keyword tags.
  14. Citation: The full citation for the item is at the bottom of the page. Use this to cite the item’s source if you use the item for any purpose.

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