Fonds RC0101 - J. Wreford Watson fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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J. Wreford Watson fonds

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  • 1800-1969 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

3.1 m of textual records and graphic material

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Name of creator


Biographical history

James Wreford Watson, geographer and poet, was born on 8 February 1915 in Shensi, China, and educated at George Watson's College, Edinburgh, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Toronto. He became a naturalized Canadian citizen in 1953. He joined the McMaster University faculty as the first regular appointment in geography in 1939. He left for Ottawa in 1949, becoming chief geographer for the Government of Canada and holding a concurrent appointment at Carleton University, 1951-1954. He returned to Scotland and the University of Edinburgh in 1954 and held a number of appointments there, including Dean of the Faculty of Social Science and Director of the Centre of Canadian Studies. He returned to Canada over the years, serving as a Visiting Professor at Queen's University, University of Manitoba, University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Calgary.

Elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1954 and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1957, he received the Canadian Association of Geographers’ award for service to the profession in 1978. In addition to writing books about geography, he was also a published poet, beginning with Of Time and the Lover (1952). Watson died in September 1990 in Scotland.

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Immediate source of acquisition

The first accrual was acquired in November 1992 via Margaret H. Black from Watson's children, Margaret and Jamie Watson, on deposit with McMaster University until their deaths when ownership will transfer to McMaster. The second accrual (18-1993) was acquired from Muriel Aldwinckle in November 1993. The third accrual (25-1995) was acquired from Muriel Aldwinkle in June 1995. The fourth accrual (06-2001) was acquired from Muriel Aldwinckle in June 2001.


There have been four accruals which have been combined. The fonds has been arranged into the following series: Novel Manuscripts, Poetry, Geographic Writings, Academic Awards and Honours, Miscellanea and Correspondence.

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No access restrictions.

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No further accruals are expected.

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