Hamilton’s Tom Wilson ‘honoured’ by ask to donate personal archive to McMaster U Library – Hamilton |

Canadian music legend Tom Wilson says he never assumed anything he created would ever be wanted by a university but his fascinating collection of creative material is set to become a principal collection at McMaster.

Wilson, 62, says he was “honoured” to be asked for a collection of personal music, paintings and writings documenting a journey of discovery about his Mohawk ancestery by the William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections at McMaster’s Library.

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“I guess that they’re looking for the arc in the journey of a creative path, and that’s an interesting thing in itself,” Wilson told 900 CHML’s Good Morning Hamilton.

The Tom Wilson Archive, opening with ceremonies on Friday and Saturday, consists of his thoughts, ideas for songs, draft lyrics, occasional drawings and photographs dated between 2003 and 2010.

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Wilson, who continues a solo music career, is best noted as a frontman for Junkhouse, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, and Lee Harvey Osmond.

The archive also includes his Florida Razors vinyl recording Beat Music from 1986, as well as 14 other sound recordings on tape from Wilson’s groups and solo material.

His bands account for 18 produced albums and numerous Juno Awards.


Canadian music legend and artist Tom Wilson has donated his archive of music, photos, drawings, two paintings, notebooks and other items to the William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections at McMaster University Library.

José Crespo photo submitted by McMaster University

Annotated galley proofs of Wilson’s memoir Beautiful Scars, a 2017 national bestselling book, will also be pieces in the archive.

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Wilson says the project is one of his most cherished memories since it was a quest he never imagined taking on uncovering his Kahnawake First Nations family roots.

“I guess that entire thread, that journey of my life, that part of my life, finding out that I was not a puffy, sweaty Irish guy on the east Mountain of Hamilton like I thought it was,” Wilson remarked.

McMaster staff say they are grateful for the donations, with president David Farrar characterizing the collection as an “important” part of the Canadian arts and music scene.

The head of the William Ready Division concurs with Wilson that the notes and annotated galley proofs of Beautiful Scars are one of the invaluable pieces.

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“It’s great to have the annotated galley proofs of his memoir; with it are notes compiled by Wilson to aid him in the writing,” collections chief Rick Stapleton said in a statement.

“Together, they show how the memoir came together over time.”

More details about the Tom Wilson Archive can be seen on the library’s website.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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