Gerald S. Doyle

Gerald S. (Stanley) Doyle. Businessman, folksong collector, b King's Cove, Bonavista Bay, Nfld, 26 Sep 1892, d St John's, Nfld, 12 Jul 1956.

Doyle, Gerald S.

Gerald S. (Stanley) Doyle. Businessman, folksong collector, b King's Cove, Bonavista Bay, Nfld, 26 Sep 1892, d St John's, Nfld, 12 Jul 1956. With the benefit of wealth acquired as a manufacturer and distributor of drugs and patent medicines, Doyle sought to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Newfoundland. Beloved by his fellow islanders, he was known especially for his company's sponsorship of radio news bulletins 1932-66 on VONF (later CBN), which included personal messages of interest to those living in isolated fishing villages. In 1943 Doyle financed the first recordings of Newfoundland songs - initially contemporary material by Arthur Scammell and later, in 1948, traditional songs sung by the Commodore's Quartet. These recordings were broadcast in Newfoundland and in the Maritime provinces on Doyle's program. Doyle's publication and free distribution of Old-Time Songs and Poetry of Newfoundland was perhaps his most significant contribution to the perpetuation of the lore of his province. Appearing in five editions - the first in 1927 without music and others in 1940, 1955, 1966, and 1978 - the book consisted of material collected during Doyle's travels (by yacht) to the outports. Doyle confined his publication to native Newfoundland songs, causing Kenneth Peacock to comment in the introduction to Songs of the Newfoundland Outports (Ottawa 1965), 'Though the value of his collection cannot be over estimated, its wide dissemination on the mainland has created the impression that Newfoundland folksongs consist entirely of locally-composed material'. Nevertheless, Peacock credits Doyle with being 'more responsible than anyone else for making the general public aware of Newfoundland songs'. Doyle was active in many other community enterprises. In 1944 he received the OBE.

See also Folk music, Anglo-Canadian 1/New foundland.