Julius Silversmith: Early Jewish Educator & Publisher of Victoria, BC

Julius Silversmith

Julius Silversmith ^Editor Weekly Occident-Chicago,IL, #WS3755

Julius Silversmith, founder & editor, Weekly Occident, Chicago, IL, #WS3755

Values Codes I – H – E – L


Julius Silversmith worked in San Francisco during the 1850s, where he was an agent for a German newspaper, and then assistant teacher in the Emanu-El Institute.

This was a Jewish day school run by Daniel Levy on the premises of Temple Emanu-El.

With news of the Fraser River Gold Rush, Julius Silversmith left his position there, arriving in Victoria in the Spring of 1858.


Victoria, BC

By December, Julius Silversmith had established the Select Day School on the east side of Broad Street, near Yates.

Tuition was offered to children of both sexes in “the elementary branches of an English education . . . free from Sectarianism,” but it was a school for the wealthier children.

Silversmith taught French and gave music instructions, playing piano, violin, and guitar.

The school was successful and he hired Edward Mallandaine to assist with the teaching of French and music.

Both were members of the Victoria Philharmonic Society when it was organized in 1859.

Julius Silversmith suggested to Mallandaine that they create a City Directory of Victoria.

Mallandaine wrote the introduction and compiled the names (from a census) while Silversmith canvassed for advertisers.

Mallandaine, who was trained as an architectural draftsman, made sketches of the buildings for those who would pay extra for their advertisements. The engraved plates appeared in the directory, and then the businesses would use them on their bills and stationery.

Advertisement from the first City Directory of Victoria

Since the directory had to be published in San Francisco, when Julius Silversmith was in the city he tried to drum up additional advertisers.

Commercial Printers of San Francisco printed 500 copies of Edward Mallandaine’s First Victoria Directory in 1860, copyrighted in California, USA.

Shortly afterwards, Silversmith began publishing the Mining Journal and Scientific Press.

Before leaving Victoria, Julius Silversmith sold the school to Mallandaine.



Silversmith was Secretary of the First Victoria Hebrew Benevolent Society.

He drew up tenders for the erection of a fence and gates around the society’s new burial ground.

Mallandaine’s drawings and bid won the contract for the Jewish cemetery.

Julius Silversmith left Victoria for Nebraska and then moved to Chicago where he established the Occident newspaper, in 1878, the city’s first English language Jewish weekly newspaper.



  • Cyril Leonoff, editor, “Pioneer Jews of British Columbia,” Western States Jewish History 37/3&4.
  • Sarah H. Tobe, “Lured North of the 49th, Jewish Colonial Roots,” Western States Jewish History 46/2&3.
  • Archives of Sarah H. Tobe, Cyril E. Leonoff, Christopher J.P. Hanna, and David Rome.

Sarah H. Tobe is curator of this Julius Silversmith exhibit.