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Thomas Bethune Wiggins "Blind Tom" Collection

Identifier: MC 169

Scope and Contents

This collection includes original sheet music, as well as recordings and biographical information about Blind Tom.


  • 1860 - 2006

Biographical / Historical

Thomas Wiggins, also known as Thomas Bethune or simply as Blind Tom, was born into slavery on May 25, 1849. Blind from birth, young Tom had a unique talent for recreating sounds and setting them to music. His owner, James Bethune, recognized the economic potential of his prodigy and by 1858 had rented Tom out to promoter Oliver Perry for a nationwide concert tour. Tom would work for or with the Bethune family for the remainder of his life. After the Civil War, Tom continued to tour with James Bethune as his manager, playing venues in Great Britain, Scotland, Europe, Canada, and South America. An amazing pianist, his repertoire of music included some 7,000 pieces. Wiggins died at the age of fifty-nine on June 13, 1908 in Hoboken, New Jersey.


1 Cubic Feet : 2 boxes; 1 small Hollinger box and one oversize box

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Acquired by Columbus State University in August 2002 from Yesteryear Books, Atlanta, Georgia
Grimsley, Reagan (August 2002)
August 2002
Description rules
Rules for Archival Description
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
Grimsley, Reagan - August 2002 Pavlick, Beatrice Shepherd - August 2015 (update) Chariton, Jesse - January 2017 (update) Owings, David - September 2017 (update)

Repository Details

Part of the Columbus State University Archives and Special Collections Repository

4225 University Ave
Columbus Georgia 31907 United States