John Wilson Bengough (1851-1923) in Canadian Singers and their Songs, 1919. Courtesy Internet Archive.

John Wilson Bengough
Born April 7. 1851
Died October 2, 1923
Occupation newspaper cartoonist

John Wilson Bengough (April 7, 1851 - October 2, 1923) was a Canadian poet, cartoonist, journalist, and lecturer.


John Wilson Bengough Plaque

John Wilson Bengough 1851-1923 plaque, Toronto. Photo by Alan M. Brown. Reprinted from'.

Bemgough was born in Toronto, but grew up in Whitby, Ontario.

He first worked as a cartoonist for the Globe in 1871. In 1873 he left to found Grip, a weekly humour magazine that he edited and and published himself out of Toronto from 1873 until 1892.[1]

The Canadian Encyclopedia tells us that Grip "established itself by ridiculing PM John A. Macdonald during the Pacific Scandal" of 1873. "Indeed, our mental picture of Macdonald, with his sly posture, witty mouth and whisky nose, owes much to Bengough's treatment."[1]

The Encyclopedia describes Bengough as "a 19th-century social radical, to whom communalism, vegetarianism, feminism, antivivisectionism and prohibition combined in one vast utopian ideal."[1]

In 1892 he became a newspaper cartoonist for the Montreal Star, and later did the same job at Toronto Globe.[2]

In later life he worked as a journalist, and gave frequent lectures (called "chalk-talks").[1]

Bengough died of a heart attack at his drawing board.


The small town in Bengough, in southern Saskatchewan, Canada, is named after him.

The Art Gallery of Ontario presented an exhibition of Bengough's drawings in 1969.



  • Motley: Verses grave and gay. Toronto: William Briggs / Montreal: C.W. Coates / Halifax, NS: S.E. Huestis, 1895.
  • In Many Keys: A book of verse. Toronto: William Briggs, 1902.


  • The Breach of Promise Trial: Bardell v. Pickwick (adapted from "The Pickwick papers" of Charles Dickens). Toronto: printed for the Dickens Fellowship, 1907.


  • Bunthorne Abroad; or, The lass that loved a piano. Toronto: 1883.


  • The Up-to-Date Primer: A first book of lessons for little political economists, etc.. Toronto, New York, & London: 1896.
    • Toronto: P. Martin Associates, 1974.
  • The Prohibition Aesop: A book of fables. Hamilton, ON: Royal Templar Book & Publishing House, 1897.
  • The Gin Mill Primer: A book of easy reading lessons for children of all ages, especially for boys who have votes. Toronto: William Briggs / Montreal: C.W. Coates, 1898.
  • On True Political Economy (The Whole Hog Book: Being George's thoro' going work "Protection or free-trade?" rendered into words of one syllable, and illustrated with pictures; or, A dry subject made juicy). Boston: American Free-Trade League, 1898.
  • Cartoons of the Campaign: Dominion of Canada general elections, 1900. Toronto: Poole, 1900.
  • Bengough's Chalk-Talks: A series of platform addresses on various topics, with reproductions of the impromptu drawings with which they were illustrated. Toronto: Musson, 1922.


  • Grip: [an independent political and satirical journal]. Toronto: Grip Printing & Publishing, 1873-1892.
  • The Grip Cartoons (edited with introduction by Bengough). Toronto: Rogers & Larminie, 1875-
    • Volumes I & II: May 1873 to May 1874. 1875.
  • The Grip-Sack: A receptacle of light literature, fun and fancy. Toronto: Grip Printing & Publishing, 1882.
  • A Caricature History of Canadian Politics: Events From the Union of 1841, as illustrated by cartoons From "Grip", and various other sources. Toronto: Grip Printing & Publishing, 1886.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[3]

See alsoEdit


  • Life and Work of J.W. Bengough (No date), by Thomas Bengough.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Doug Fetherling, "Bengough, John Wilson," Canadian Encyclopedia (Edmonton: Hurtig, 1981), 203. Print
  2. John Wilson Bengough 1851-1923, Toronto's Historical Plaques. Web, Oct. 14, 2013.
  3. Search results = au:John Wilson Bengough, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Oct. 14, 2013.

External linksEdit

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