Fonds 01048 - Tower Poetry Society fonds

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Tower Poetry Society fonds

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Reference code

CA ON00131 01048

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1952 - 2018 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

28.5 cm of textual material.
3 scrapbooks.
2 audio/visual tapes.
1 digital video.

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Administrative history

The Tower Poetry Society (TPS) was established in 1951 and is one of the oldest poetry workshop groups in North America. The Society is a non-profit organization that promotes poetry and encourages poets. The Society was founded by English poet Ida Sutherland Groom who lectured in the English Department at McMaster University from 1950 to 1960. Groom aimed for bringing together poets in the Hamilton area for the sole purpose to publish members' poems in the publication the "Tower". In the beginning, members would read their own works during meetings, which then became workshops to encourage and strengthen members writings. The name the "Tower" was inspired from the ivy-clad tower at University Hall located at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Since the mid-1970s, the Society has published the "Tower" twice a year with summer and winter editions. The Society receives submissions from around the world. In 1975, the Society published their first anthology of poems entitled "Pine's the Canadian Tree". During the 1980s, the Society promoted poetry through nine half-hour television segments called “Poetry's Alive" through the Hamilton community television station, Cable 4. The Society is also an advocate for the arts and has participated and supported local community events in the Hamilton and Wentworth region, such as the Dundas Arts Weekend, Book Week in Canada, Hamilton's Arts Council Literary Committee's Blue Pencil Rooms and poetry workshops. In addition, members have given readings under the auspice of the Society to festivities and have conducted poetry workshops.

Custodial history

The records were maintained by the TPS executive. On June 19, 2017, TPS archivist Roy Adams contacted the Local History & Archives department at Hamilton Public Library (HPL) to become the official repository of the TPS archives. The TPS Executive approved the decision to donate the records to HPL on October 18, 2017.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of the records of the Tower Poetry Society and contains the following series: administrative records, correspondence, publications and publicity, events and poetry workshops, and the history of the TPS.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The records were donated to Hamilton Public Library by the TPS executive in 2017.


Photographs belonging to the TPS are currently being processed, as well as the publication “Celebrating Poets Over 70” edited by Marianne Forsyth Verspry and Ellen B. Ryan.

Language of material

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

The VHS tapes have been digitized. To access the digital content, please contact the Manager of Local History & Archives.

Restrictions on access

The collection is open to researchers. There are no restrictions on access.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright of the Society’s publications are held by the creator. These materials cannot be published without permission from the copyright holder.

Preferred citation: Tower Poetry Society, Accession #01048, Local History & Archives, Hamilton Public Library, Hamilton, Ontario.

Finding aids

File list is available.

Associated materials

The following related material can be found in the Local History & Archives (LH&A) department at Hamilton Public Library pertaining to the Tower Poetry Society. LH&A has a complete run of the "Tower" publication catalogued under the call number 819.18 TOW, as well as the “Pine’s the Canadian Tree: An Anthology, Tower Poetry Society” (call number 819.18 PIN), and the publication a “Short History of the Tower Poetry Society” by Jean McCallion (call number 819.1 MCC).

Related materials


Further accruals are expected on an annual basis.

General note

Title is based on the contents of the fonds.

General note

An accrual was added to the fonds in 2019 consisting of executive meeting minutes, annual general meeting minutes, Tower Poetry Society newsletters and copies of the publication, Tower Poetry, for the years 2017-2019. This material is located in box 5 of the fonds.

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