Fonds - Watson Thomson fonds

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Watson Thomson fonds

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Dates of creation area


  • 1910-1969 (Creation)
    Thomson, Watson

Physical description area

Physical description

1.29 m of textual records
12 photographs: b&w ; 8 x 15 cm or smaller
2 v.

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Biographical history

Watson Thomson was born in Glasgow, Scotland, graduated from Glasgow University with an M.A. in 1923 and tutored in Jamaica for three years. One year after his return to Scotland, where he taught high school and teacher training, he travelled to Nigeria to become a Superintendent of Education. After this job, he returned to London and worked on publicity for the European Federation. During this time, 1931 ‐ 1937, he was actively involved as the co‐editor of the important English weekly, "New Britain".
Thomson travelled across Canada in 1937, lecturing and founding the Workersʹ Education Association in Calgary. He soon became a staff member of the Alberta Extension and a regular commentator for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation until 1944. In 1941, he was appointed Director of Adult Education at the University of Manitoba, and three years later, held the same post for the Province of Saskatchewan. During the War, Thomson was a strong spokesman for those suffering, and published a pamphlet urging Canada to open its doors to people persecuted by the Nazis. After the War, he became interested in the concept of ʺintentional communityʺ and began organizing one, while writing "Pioneer in Community". He lived on a co‐op farm from 1948‐1950 and also lectured at the University of British Columbia. He continued teaching at UBC from 1950 to 1960, and was internationally known for the specialized English courses he devised for Engineering and Forestry students. In 1960, he retired from his position as Associate Professor because of illness and was awarded Associate Professor Emeritus in 1964. Still writing, he published "Turning Into Tomorrow" in 1966. He died in Vancouver in 1969.

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Scope and content

The fonds consists of correspondence (1937-1968), manuscripts and drafts for books and articles, copies of radio talks (1937-1955), speeches (1943-1957), printed material, clippings and two scrapbooks (1937-1965).

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Related material can be found in the Watson Thomson Research Collection.

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BCAUL control number: UBCARCH-136

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