A number of interesting biographies of Captain George Comer that are available online are listed below. What is not made clear in most is how closely integrated into Inuit families the Quebec-born whaling captain was, having fathered at least one son – Laurent Pamiulik — as research into the photograph below has established. W.O. Douglas’ story likewise brings to light a side of Comer’s personality, that, although absent in other accounts, is in keeping with the rough and violent world of historical whalers.
Photo, “Capt. Comer.” Source: “Revival of Whaling and Romance of the ‘Era’; Captain Comer’s Quaint Little Craft, Nearly 60 Years Old, Preparing for Another Northern Cruise,” New York Times, Magazine section (Sunday, 8 July1906): SM5.
“ Pa-mi-oo-le, Southampton Island. Portrait of an Inuit man,” dated May 1926, and later identified by family members as 1) “Pameolik. His adopted brother was Joe Curley Qayayuak, and their adoptive mother was Shoofly.” 2) “Laurent Pamiulik, biological son of Captain George Comer. He was adopted by Angutimmarik who was a great angakkuq (shaman) leader of Inuit in the late 1800s and early 1900s. His grandchildren live in several different communities in Nunavut.” Source: L.T. Burwash / Library and Archives Canada / PA-099300.
Primary source articles:
W.O. Douglas, “The Wreck of the Finback,” http://bit.ly/kDfWx.
B.S. Osbon, “Revival of Whaling and Romance of the ‘Era’; Captain Comer’s Quaint Little Craft, Nearly 60 Years Old, Preparing for Another Northern Cruise,” New York Times, Magazine section (Sunday, 8 July1906): SM5, http://bit.ly/418Ojr.
Secondary source articles:
W. Gilles Ross, “George Comer (1858-1937),” Arctic 36, no. 3 (September 1983): 294-295, http://bit.ly/cEIS0. Biography with halftoned photos and suggestions for further reading.
Wikipedia, “George Comer,” http://bit.ly/8Y2AZ.
Dorothy Harley Eber, When the Whalers were Up North: Inuit memories from the Eastern Arctic (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1996 [Google books preview http://bit.ly/3XGPIp].
Thomas Armstrong, “Kayak 1.7 The Historians: Captain George Comer,” 70.8% Blog (Sunday, 22 February 2009), http://bit.ly/YIj2O. With a nice selection of photographs and a biography written with a sailorly eye to detail.
Qikiqtani Inuit Association, web page, “George Comer,” The Forgotten Story of Inuit Whalers website, http://bit.ly/Nr8Uo. Includes video with Comer’s sound recording, “Inuit songs of the Hudson Bay (1903-1912),” among “the first ever made in the Canadian Eastern Arctic,” along with photographs, biographical notes, and links.
Museum Exhibits and Archival Holdings:
Canadian Museum of Civilization, online exhibition, “Playthings and Curious: Historic Inuit Art. Captain George Comer (1858-1937), http://bit.ly/P1ap7. Includes pictures of artifacts with captions and notes furnishing context and brief histories of acquisition.
McCord Museum, halftone print, “Captain George Comer aided by Inuit group, making fresh sails, Hudson Bay, 1919,” from a photograph by Frederick W. Bercham, http://bit.ly/13UKku.
“Frozen In: Captain Comer and the Hudson Bay Inuit.” Mystic Seaport website, http://bit.ly/vu2lT. Announcement page features a description of the exhibit, a brief biographical note, photographs, and links.