Fonds MsC-144 - John Innes fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

John Innes fonds

General material designation

  • Technical drawings
  • Textual records
  • Photographic materials
  • Graphic materials

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of fonds.

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Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • [after 1880]-1945 (Creation)
    Innes, John Clarke

Physical description area

Physical description

21 drawings and other material

Publisher's series area

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

John Clarke Innes was born in London, Ontario on March 17, 1863. He was a painter, illustrator, writer, rancher, surveyor, and inventor. Innes was educated in England before returning to Canada and heading west as a surveyor and mapmaker for the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1880s. He settled in Alberta for a number of years where he ranched while contributing cartoons, illustrations, and articles to various publications and also publishing a newspaper, Mountain Echoes, with Charles Halpin. After serving in the Boer War, Innes returned to Ontario and then moved to New York where he worked as a staff artist for Hearst Newspapers.

Around 1913 Innes settled in Vancouver where he continued to draw and paint, focusing on elements of western Canadian history and industry such as exploration, logging, mining, fishing, agriculture, and transportation. Two series of Innes’ paintings were collected and curated for exhibition: The Epic of Western Canada and From Trail to Rail: The Epic of Transportation. In Vancouver these were exhibited at the Hudson’s Bay Company and the David Spencer department store; they were also shown in Europe. Innes continued to do commercial work, including cartoons for newspapers and illustrations for publications and advertisements.

Innes married Ida May Sanford in 1899 and had a family including a son, George Dean Innes. Innes died in Vancouver on January 13, 1941.

Custodial history

The records in the fonds were purchased by Special Collections from MacLeod’s Books.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records relating primarily to Innes’ drawing, painting, and writing. Records include original cartoons, publications containing Innes’ work, a chapbook, exhibit programs and reviews, and images of Innes’ paintings, as well as photographs of Innes, biographical material, and a patent agreement.

The fonds has been arranged into six series: Records relating to Innes’ paintings ([190-?]-1943); Illustrations and cartoons ([between 1880 and 1941]); Publications (1900-[ca. 1934]); Photographs of Innes ([192-?-193-?]); Patent (1 Feb. 1919); and Records relating to Innes created after his death ([1941]-1945).

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


The material was received with no evident original order. The records were arranged into series by the archivist.

Graphic materials have been numbered consecutively in the format “144.1;” numbers are noted in the file or item description.

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Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Reproduction of material is subject to approval by Special Collections staff and any copyright holders.

Finding aids

File and item level descriptions are available.

Generated finding aid

Associated materials

Simon Fraser University owns eight Innes paintings, many of which are on permanent display in the Academic Quadrangle.

Related materials


No further accruals are expected.

General note

Content warning - some items in this collection content content that is racist towards Indigenous culture and history.

Physical description

Includes 7 cm of textual records, 16 prints : on postcard, and 6 photographs : prints.

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Rules for Archival Description



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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Arrangement and description completed by Jennifer Zerkee (2014).

Language of description

  • English

Script of description


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