Item 0018 - 14 December 1888

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14 December 1888

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CA MUA MG 1022-2-1-252-0018

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Sir Daniel Wilson was an artist, author, archeologist, ethnologist, and university teacher and administrator, born on January 5, 1816, in Edinburgh, Scotland. After attending the Edinburgh High School, he entered the University of Edinburgh in 1834 but left the next year to study engraving. In 1837, he went to London to establish himself as an illustrator.
He also wrote reviews, popular books on the Pilgrim Fathers and on Oliver Cromwell and the Protectorate, essays for magazines, and art criticism for the Edinburgh Scotsman. His Memorials of Edinburgh in the olden time (1848) is profusely illustrated with his own woodcuts and engravings of picturesque structures and architectural details. In 1851 he published The Archaeology and Prehistoric Annals of Scotland, which introduced the word prehistoric into the English archaeological vocabulary.

In 1853 Wilson left Scotland to take up the post of Professor of History and English Literature in Toronto, Canada. In addition to his teaching duties, he kept up his interests in natural history, geology, and was very interested in the ethnography of the Indigenous people. In 1875 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. From 1878-1881 he served as president of the Canadian Institute (later the Royal Canadian Institute). He also served as president of University College, Toronto from 1880 to 1892, and as the first president of the federated University of Toronto from 1890–1892. In 1888 Wilson was knighted by Queen Victoria for his services to education in Canada, and in 1891 given the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh. He died in Toronto on August 6, 1892.

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Letter from Daniel Wilson to John William Dawson, written from Toronto.

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  • Box: M-1022-13