Jefferson, Joseph,, an American comedian; born in Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 20, 1829. He came of a theatrical stock, his great-grandfather having been a member of Garrick's company at Drury Lane, while his father and grandfather were well-known American actors. Jefferson was on the stage from his very infancy, appearing as Cora's child in "Pizarro" when only three years of age. In 1865 he visited London, and at the Adelphi Theater played for the first time his world-famous part of Rip Van Winkle, Sept. 4, 1865. With this character his name is identified, and though he has shown himself an admirable comedian in many characters to the English-speaking world he is always Rip Van Winkle. The character is one of the most perfect works of art. Died at Palm Beach, Fla., April 23, 1905.

Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.