The province has lost an accomplished and respected historian and publisher.
Harry Cuff died Saturday at the age of 85.
Cuff was the founder of Harry Cuff Publications Ltd. and was a member of the Order of Canada.
Writer, journalist and politician Bill Callahan knew Cuff and his work personally.
“My recollection is that the biggest project that he had taken on was probably the finishing of the Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Callahan.
The Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador was commissioned by Joey Smallwood, but Smallwood was unable to finish the project after he had a stroke. Cuff was part of a group that worked to get the set of books completed.
“I think he probably made the biggest single, and certainly the professional, contribution to getting it done,” said Callahan. “Harry Cuff, in my recollection, was really the architect behind that.”
Callahan added the books are unique for any province and are a literary pillar of Newfoundland and Labrador.
“I’m very sad to hear that he’s passed.”
Upon hearing of his death, former premier Brian Peckford contacted The Telegram via email.
“It is with sadness I learned of the passing of Harry. He was one of Newfoundland’s finest sons. As an editor, educator, author and publisher he has made a significant contribution to the well-being of our province,” Peckford said in his email.
“Most particularly, I want to acknowledge that Harry became an adviser and confidant to me when I was premier. He and his wife Doreen were a source of strength and support to me especially during difficult times.”
Peckford added that Cuff’s firm published Peckford’s first book — “ The Past In The Present” — the title of which Peckford attributes to Cuff’s wife, Doreen.
“Most notable from a provincial perspective is the fact that it was Harry who is singularly responsible for the very successful publisher assistance program which is still operating to this day. It was Harry who persuaded me that the government should implement such a program.”
When contacted for further comment on Cuff, Peckford said Cuff was particularly adamant about the importance of Newfoundland authors getting into print through the help of the program.
“It was Harry Cuff who really took up the cudgel and fought for it and got it.”
Outside of career accomplishments, Peckford also spoke about Cuff from a personal point of view.
“We have lost a wonderful human being.”
Visitation will take place at Carnell’s Funeral Home, 329 Freshwater Rd., today from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. A memorial service will be held at the Carnell Memorial Chapel Wednesday at 2 p.m.