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The Grenfell Mission

The Grenfell Mission was the creation of Dr. Wilfred T. Grenfell, (1865-1940) who visited Labrador and Newfoundland and found there a hardworking people, mostly fishermen, plagued by poverty, hunger, disease and exploitation. He implemented the concept of a social and medical mission, which could be funded in part by a new cottage industry that employed the skill of local women in the making of expertly hooked rugs and mats. In addition to the well known hooked mats, they also made small table mats sold as trivets, pot holders, or coasters and other various distinctive handicrafts. This endeavor gave the women a feeling of accomplishment as well as a form of occupational therapy. Materials were acquired primarily through donation of silk stockings. “When Your Stockings Run let them Run to Labrador!” was one of the pleas for contributions when Dr. Grenfell lectured to raise funds for the mission throughout the USA. Rugs were then sold to socialites in New York and Philadelphia, among other places.