The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Joseph Jefferson, 1829-1905

Nationality: American
Date of Birth: 1829.02.20
Place of Birth: Philad, Palphia
Date of Death: 1905.04.23
Place of Death: Palm Beach, FL


Joseph Jefferson was a comic actor and producer. He was the son of the producer Joseph Jefferson. In 1850 he married Margaret C. Lockyer, a member of the company at the National Theatre in New York. After her death in 1861, he married Miss Sarah Warren in 1867.


Born into a theatrical family, Jefferson was on the stage from early childhood. In 1849 he began acting at Chanfrau's New National Theatre in New York. Following a trip to Europe in 1856, he joined Laura Keene's Company in New York. In 1857 he became famous for Our American Cousin in which he played Asa Trenchard. He toured Australia from 1861 until 1865, when he travelled to London. He returned to America in 1866. He is most well known for his portrayal of Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle.

In 1875 he made a second English tour and in December of this year JW saw him play Rip Van Winkle. He expressed enthusiasm for the performance (#03432).


The Autobiography of Joseph Jefferson, New York, 1890; Winter, William, The Jeffersons, Boston, 1881; Moses, M. J., Famous Actor Families in America, New York, 1906; Bloom, Arthur, Joseph Jefferson: Dean of American Theatre, Savannah, 2001;, 2001 (accessed 13 October 2003).