James, William John, 1870-1944

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Authorized form of name

James, William John, 1870-1944

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Other form(s) of name

  • W.J. James

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Dates of existence



William John (W.J.) James was born on December 23, 1870 to William, Sr. and Maria James of the Fordwich area, Howick Township, Huron County, Ontario. His father was a blacksmith and carriage maker in Ontario, and first travelled west with the Wolseley Red River Expedition in 1870.

W.J. James came to Prince Albert, Northwest Territories ca.1890. His family followed around 1893. Both James and his father were employed by the James Sanderson sawmill as labourers. W.J. James became a barber while also establishing a photograph business briefly with W.J. Jackson in 1894. James continued in barbering while also working as an itinerant photographer in the 1890s. He hired Theodore Charmbury as a photographer in his studio between 1901 and 1903, and operated a branch studio at Indian Head in 1904-1906. James operated the City Art Studio (1909-1919) and W.J. James & Co. (est.1927) in Prince Albert until his retirement in the mid-1930s.

James' professional career as an itinerant, commercial and portrait photographer spanned over forty years during which he travelled extensively in the Prince Albert district and northern parkland regions of Saskatchewan documenting settlement, local industry and everyday life. William John James died on September 9, 1944 in Prince Albert and is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Prince Albert.

W.J. James married Maude Rebecca Courtney on April 27, 1904 in Prince Albert. They had four children: Mossie; "Eva" Eunice; Norma; and Murl.


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Authority record identifier

PA 414

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Rules for Archival Description (RAD)



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Authority record created on 2008-06-11. Approved 2012-03-06. Last modified on 2017-11-29.




AMICUS Authorities - no entry found
William James - Selected Photographs 1900-1936 [Catalogue of a 1986 exhibition at the Mendel Art Gallery, with essays by Brock Silversides and Grant Arnold.]
“Through the Eyes of William James.” Brock Silversides in Liaison (Journal of the Saskatchewan Museums Association), Spring 1988.
Obituaries - Prince Albert Daily Herald, September 11, 1944 and December 8, 1956.
SAB Photographs accession file - William J. James

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