JEFFERYS Charles William.

“I worked in New York for some years on the Art Staff of the Herald in the palmy days of pen and ink drawing. Though the work was exacting and strenuous, I count the experience gained there as most valuable. It gave me a knowledge of life first hand, a training in quick and accurate observation, and in graphic expression of life and character that I do not think I could have got in any other way.”                                                                                                                                  C. W. Jefferys. Canadian Bookman, Jan. 1919: 21-22.

“His work will never be equalled let alone surpassed. It is a tragedy that his genius was bound by human limitations. He should have lived forever as the recorder of Canada’s unfolding story.”                                                                          J.H. Cranston, (editor 1911-1933of the Toronto Star Weekly) Ink On My Fingers, 1953.

He was among Canada’s finest historical artists. According to St. George Burgoyne in the Canadian Bookman in 1919, he was the “leading illustrator in Canada” at the time. He illustrated books, magazines, newspapers (most of the leading periodicals of the time printed his work) and advertisements. He painted in oil and watercolour and taught drawing at the school of architecture at University of Toronto, 1911 to 1939. .

Born in Rochester, England, August 25, 1869, he immigrated with his family to Canada in 1878. In 1884 he attended evening classes at the Ontario School of Art and Design. In 1885 he began a five year apprenticeship at the Toronto Lithographic Company and attended night classes given by G.A. Reid until 1887. In 1888 with fellow Reid students F.H. Brigden and F.S. Challener he joined the Toronto Art Students League. He picked up most of his art education working in lithography, commercial advertising and newspaper illustration. Artist and cartoonist Adrian Dingle remarked in an interview: “C.W. Jefferys, of course, developed his drawing ability tremendously through his court art work.”

He joined the staff of Toronto Globe as a newspaper illustrator in 1889. He and Joseph E. Atkinson (Toronto Star founder and owner) toured the Maritimes Atkinson writing and Jefferys illustrating stories for the Toronto Globe and Toronto Litho Co.. In 1900 as a special artist for the Toronto Globe he covered the Royal Tour of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York.

He worked for the New York Herald (1893 – 1901).as artist – reporter. He covered important assignments such as the Pullman strike, Bryan Convention and the Pan-American Exposition.

In 1901 he returned to Canada, transferring from the New York Herald to the Toronto Star. He worked for both the Daily Star becoming chief illustrator in 1905 and the Star Weekly becoming art director in 1910. He was happier illustrating news and historical events than he was doing editorial cartoons.

In 1902, Jefferys and writer Knox McGee began the satirical magazine Moon Magazine. Magee wrote the text and Jefferys drew a double page cartoon satirizing political issues and social events. Other cartoonist contributors included Racey, McConnell, Hunter, and Bengough. It endured into 1903.

He had returned to Canada with the intent of illustrating something of its life and landscape. Canadian history in particular interested him . This interest is revealed in the titles of many of the books he illustrated, Wacousta by Major Richardson, Brock by W.R. Nursey, Tecumseh by N.S. Gurd, Uncle Jim’s Canadian Nursery Rhymes by David Boyle, The Makers of Canada 10 volumes, Madeleine de Vercheres by A.G. Doughty, The Chronicles of Canada 32 volumes, and Old Man Savarin by E.W. Thomson. (Bookman, Jan. 1919: 23.).

After decades of making historical illustrations, C. W. Jefferies sifted through some 2000 works, and gathered together a selection that was published in a three volume set covering 1500 to 1900, entitled The Picture Gallery of Canadian History. “No other books of Canadiana contain so much valuable and irreplaceable material.” J.H. Cranston.

He was one of the founders of The Arts and Letters Club of Toronto and of the Society of Graphic Art. He was an associate of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, president of the Ontario Society of Artists one of the Fine Arts Commissioners of the Canadian National Exhibition, and a member of the Council of the Toronto Art Museum.

He died in Toronto October 8, 1951.




Content history & Cover dustjacket:

Dramatic Episodes in Canada’s Story no publisher, 1930.

The Formative Years Canada 1812-1871. Ryerson Press, 1968.

The Picture Gallery of Canadian History, vol. 1, Ryerson Press Ltd., 1942.

The Picture Gallery of Canadian History, vol. 2, Ryerson Press Ltd., 1945.

The Picture Gallery of Canadian History, vol. 3, Ryerson Press Ltd., 1950.


Content novel & Cover book front:

Dick’s Desertion. Writ., Marjorie L.C Pickthall. Musson Book Co. Ltd., no date. (1905).

Wacousta: A Tale Of The Pontiac Conspiracy. Writ., John Richardson. McClelland & Stewart Ltd. 1923.


Content story:

Sam Slick The Clockmaker. (3 vols. in 1).Writ., Thomas Chandler Haliburton. Musson Book Co. Ltd., no date. Print. HC. Centenary Edition.

Cover dust jacket:

Sam Slick. Writ., Thomas Chandler Haliburton. (R.P. Baker edition), McClelland & Stewart Ltd., 1923.


Content history:

A Picture History of Canada. Writ., Jessie McEwen & Kathleen Moore. Toronto: Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd. no date:
20: Champlain at Georgia Bay.

36: Kelsey Sights The Buffalo.

46: The Founding Of Halifax.

54: The Pioneer.

56: Captain Cook At Nootka.

58: Mackenzie At The Pacific By Overland Route

60: Simon Frazer.


Content history:

Discoverers and Explorers in Canada 1763-1911, Portfolio II. Imperial Oil, no date.

Rebellions of 1837 In Upper and Lower Canada, Portfolio Imperial Oil, no date.


Content illustrations & Cover dust Jacket:

Sam Slick In Pictures. Ryerson Press, 1968. Illus. are accompanied with parallel text by Parks.


Content story text:

Maclean’s, Dec. 1917: “Politics From Within.” Writ., Stephen Leacock: 23-25.



Canadian Historical Drawings. n.p. I.O.D.E. 1967 Calendar, 1967.



Charles William Jeffreys 1869-1951. “Introduction: C.W. Jefferys and ‘The real Nature of our Landscape’.” Writ., Robert Stacy. Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University, 1976. Exhibit and Catalogue.

Article book:

The Canadian Encyclopedia, vol. 2. Hurtig Publishers Ltd., 1985 “Jefferys, Charles William.” Writ., Robert Stacey.

Encyclopedia Canadiana, vol. 2. The Canadiana Co. Ltd. 1957: “Cartoons.” Writ., William Colgate: 270- 271.

The Hecklers. Writ. & Ed.., Peter Desbarates & Terry Mosher. McClelland & Stewart Ltd., 1979: “C. W. Jefferys”: 84, 240..

Ink on My Fingers. Writ., J.H. Cranston. Ryerson Press, 1953: “Chapter 18, His Pictures Made History.”: 68-70.

Article periodical:

Canadian Bookman, Jan. 1919: “Some Canadian Illustrators. “Writ., St. George Burgoyne: 22-23.

Material History Bulletin/Bulletin d’histoire de la culture matérielle, 27, Spring/Printemps 1988:

“History Painting: The Creation of Interpretive Tableaux.” Writ., A.J.B. Johnson: 43-48.

Now and Then Times, 1-2,Oct.1973: “A conversation with Adrian and Pat Dingle and Bill Thomas.” Writ., Dave Sim: 27+.


Toronto Star, 11 Jan.1992: “Merchants of Mirth and Malice.” Writ., Robert Crew: D5.



JEFFERIES CCanadian Historical Drawings. n.p. I.O.D.E. 1967 Calendar, 1967.