Date Published: 1909-1917
Edward William Thomson Collection contains 7 Ephemera (signed) and 1 Book dating from 1909 to 1917.
1) Cabinet b&w oval photograph, SIGNED on reverse, “To Samuel Asbury, from his friend, E.W. Thomson.” Taken in Ottawa, Canada circa 1904.
(2) TLS to Asbury, 4 pp., 27 Sept. 1907, Ottawa. Lots of personal information, including his life history. “…On both sides my people were reckoned gentry, my father was unfortunate in his money affairs, at 18 yrs I left school to earn my livelihood, at 18 I began to help my family, and though I married at 23, I stuck to the duty til I was just past 50. At 22 I was a land surveyor, later a civil engineer; at 29 I had an access of political devotion to a certain chief, now long dead, which led me to abandon my profession, and go into journalism, with the fantastic notion I could aid his return to power…[discussing himself] it is difficult for the man past 50 to stay with the bright and eager boys…your life has not been adverse to your aspirations respecting poetry, but the contrary. You have lived, done your duty, felt the noble emotions, studied, had joy in poetry…” He gives a critique of other’s poetry and quotes other well-known poets, with brief handwritten note at end of the page.
(3-4) ALS and TLS, with envelope, to Asbury, 10 April 1908, Ottawa. Full page, typewritten; the other is full page, handwritten. Thomson’s review and critique of Asbury’s manuscript.
(5) ALS, with envelope, 25 May 1908, Ottawa, 2 pp. re Canadian, Yankees, and Southerners.
(6) ALS, with envelope, 11 Sept. 1909, Ottawa, 2 pp., re his book When Lincoln Died.
(7) TLS, with envelope, 23 Oct. 1909, 1 p., re sending Asbury the Canadian ed. of When Lincoln Died, “…I wish you all manner of luck, which you must get, if you get your deserts [sic], for being a good, upright, loving man to kin and friends and State and Country—which is a devilish lot better than being even Shacon or Bakespeare.”
(8) Book: Old Man Savarin Stories, Tales of Canada and Canadians. First Canadian issue of this title (Toronto: S.B. Gundy, 1917) in jacket, minor damage to the back panel bleeding on to the lower board. Illustrated by Charles W. Jefferys. [First Edition Toronto: William Briggs, 1895]
Housed in a handsome brown pictorial clamshell box.
Samuel Erson Asbury (1872-1962) with whom E.W. Thomson corresponded in many of this collection’s letters.:
Samuel E. Asbury was educated at North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in Raleigh (now North Carolina State University), earning Bachelor's and Master's degrees in chemistry. Asbury spent several years as an assistant state chemist at the North Carolina Experiment Station before taking a similar job at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station on the campus of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University), serving from 1904 until his retirement. Asbury was also interested in Texas history. He was assistant state chemist of Texas for 45 years. He began working on a project where history would be intensified through its mixture with verse, music, and acting.
Edward William Thomson (1849-1924):
The name of E. W. Thomson is a household word among Canadian literary men, and stands for a skilled craftsman in both prose and verse. . . . . The dramatic and thoughtful power of his stanzas, his finished workmanship, the gentleness and breadth of his love for humanity, all stamp his work as that of an artist of whom Canadians have good reason to be proud, and of the first rank of our litterateurs.– W. D. LIGHTHALL, F.R.S.L., in 'The Witness.'
Edward William Thomson was a Canadian journalist and writer. He was born in Toronto township, county of Peel, Ontario, February 12th, 1849. His father was William Thomson, grandson of Archibald Thomson, the first settler in Scarboro. His grandfather Edward William Thomson, was present at the taking of Detroit, and served with distinction under Brock at Queenston Heights; and was afterwards well known in Upper Canada as Col. E. W. Thomson of the Legislative Council, and as the one successful opponent of William Lyon Mackenzie in an election for the Legislature. The mother of the present E. W. Thomson was Margaret Hamilton Foley, sister of the Hon. M. H. Foley, twice Postmaster-General of the united Canadas.
The future poet was educated at the Brantford Grammar School, and at the Trinity College Grammar School at Weston; but when about fourteen years of age, he was sent to an uncle and aunt in Philadelphia and given a position in a wholesale mercantile house as 'office junior.' Finding this employment very uncongenial, he enlisted in the Union army, in October, 1864, as a trooper in the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry. This corps was engaged twice at Hatcher's Run, and was with Grant when he took Petersburgh. Discharged in August, 1865, he returned to the parental home at Chippewa, Ontario. In June, 1866, when the Fenians raided Upper Canada, young Thomson promptly enlisted in the Queen's Own, and was in action at the Ridgeway fight. The following year he entered the profession of Civil Engineering, and in 1872 was registered a Provincial Land Surveyor. He practised his profession until December, 1878, when at the invitation of the Hon. George Brown, he joined the staff of The Globe, Toronto, as an editorial writer. Four years later the Manitoba boom attracted him, and he practised surveying for two or three years in Winnipeg. In 1885, he rejoined The Globe staff, but retired again in 1891, because of his opposition to the Liberal policy of Unrestricted Reciprocity. Shortly afterwards he was invited to join the staff of the Youth's Companion. He accepted and remained for eleven years.
Since 1903, he lived in Ottawa, employed as a newspaper correspondent and engaged in literary work. The Many-Mansioned House and Other Poems was issued in 1909. He wrote a book of short stories, Old Man Savarin and Other Stories (1895). Quoted from the University of Pennsylvania website.
Collection is on consignment with LDRB.