Charles Canniff James

Fonds number:
Title: Charles Canniff James
Dates of Material:
78 cm of textual records
Biographical sketch

Charles Canniff James (1863–1916) was an academic, a civil servant, a book collector and an authority on Canadian history and literature. He was born in Napanee, Ontario, the son of Charles James and Ellen Canniff. He married Frances Lillian Crossen in 1887 with whom he had one son, Wilfred Crossen James. He died in St. Catherine’s, Ontario.

James was educated at Napanee High School and Victoria College, Cobourg, Ontario, where he received a B.A. in 1883 and an M.A. in 1886. James was appointed Assistant Master at Cobourg Collegiate Institute (1883–86), Professor of Chemistry at Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph (1886–91), Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Government of Ontario (1891–1912), Commissioner to administer Dominion Agricultural Instruction Act (1912–14), and Member of the Federal Board of Enquiry into the Cost of Living (1914).

James was elected Director of the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association, President of the Ontario Historical Society (1902–04), Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1905), Member of the Canadian Olympic Committee (1908), Member of the Senate of the University of Toronto and Member of the Board of Regents of Victoria College. He was awarded the Gold Medal in Natural Science, Victoria College in 1883, created Commander of St. Michael and St. George in 1911, and awarded LL.D. at the University of Toronto in 1912.

James’ publications include: Agriculture (1898), A Bibliography of Canadian Poetry (1899), The First Legislature of Upper Canada (1902), The Second Legislature of Upper Canada (1903), The Downfall of the Huron Nation (1907), William Dummer Powell (1912), and David William Smith (1913).

Custodial history

The custodial history is unknown.

Scope and content

The fonds contains James’s records pertaining to his academic career. It includes literary material including material relating to A Bibliography of Canadian Poetry; (annotated) essays on Tennyson; articles and reports; and an acknowledgement of the gift of the James’ library to Victoria University Library (1898).

Source of supplied title

Title based on contents of the fonds.


The fonds is stored in 6 boxes.

Immediate source of acquisition

Source of acquisition is unknown.

Language of material


Access restrictions

Restrictions on access: No restrictions on access.

Finding aids

File list available.

Related material

National Archives in Ottawa: Typescript of The Last of the LaGuayrians (reference number: R1658-0-4-E; was: MG30-C2).
Related biographical information is held at Victoria University Archives.


No further accruals are expected.

Access points

Provenance access point: James, C.C. (Charles Canniff), 1863–1916

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