Fonds F1104 - John Watson fonds

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John Watson fonds

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Dates of creation area


  • 1872-1939 (Creation)
    Watson, John

Physical description area

Physical description

11 m of textual records, 10 photographs

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Name of creator


Biographical history

John Watson was born at Glasgow, Scotland in 1847 and died in 1939. His ideas influenced the development of religious and political thought in Canada during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Educated at Glasgow University, Watson became a disciple of Edward Caird, the British philosopher who, later, became The Master of Balliol College Oxford. Watson came to Queen's University to teach philosophy in 1872 and remained in Kingston until his death in 1939. During his fifty-two years on the faculty of Queen's University, John Watson became the Professor of Moral Philosophy and, in 1901, Vice Principal, a post he held until his retirement to Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy in 1924. He published some fifteen books and over two hundred articles and reviews, as well as some poetry and even had a play he wrote produced. He became the first Queen's Professor to have an international reputation as a scholar, leading the Kantian revolution in the English-speaking world. He was the first Canadian to be invited to give the Gifford Lectures at the University of Glasgow, the most prestigious honour that can be given a English-speaking philosopher, and was regarded by many as the leading academic philosopher not just in Canada but in North America.

Custodial history

The provenance of the material in accession 2007-064 is unknown. It was located within a box of miscellaneous material in the Archives.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of correspondence, some personal papers including household bills, and the notes for a biography of Prof. Watson by one of his daughters. There are also notebooks he made on various philosophical topics, manuscripts, lecture notes, poetry and drama written by Watson and even some sketches of billiard shots. Also includes a telegram to Watson from Sir Robert Falconer.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by Mrs. R.O. Sweezey and family - 1974, 1990


Originally this accession was processed without being divided into series. When the fonds was intellectually consolidated, the original accession was divided into three series, all of which can be found in the later accession as well, without seriously rearranging the order of the records. File titles have been taken from the contents of the folder.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

2999 (Watson)
2999 (Watson2)
F3 A2.1 004

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Copyright provisions may apply, please consult archivist.

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No further accruals are expected

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Location (use this to request the file)

  • Shelf: 1064
  • Shelf: 1064.1
  • Folder: 2999 (Watson)
  • Folder: 2999 (Watson2)
  • Shelf: F3 A2.1 004