Biography: A native of Ontario, Canada, Balfour Ker (1877-1918) became a US citizen in the 1890s. He began studying with Howard Pyle, apparently in the 1890s though the year is uncertain. He married fellow student and illustrator, Mary Ellen Sigsbee; their son David was born in 1906. In 1908 they left their combined New York City studio and moved to Paris. After three years, they returned and were divorced. Ker subsequently married model Josephine Phillips. They had three sons and one daughter, Yosene. she married Lathrop Weld and she was the mother of actress Susan Ker (Tuesday) Weld.
A socialist, Ker illustrated various texts in books and magazines reflecting his political positions. His 1905 illustration From the Depths (later also called The Hand of Fate), done for John Ames Mitchell's novel The Silent War (1906), emphasizing the inequality of classes in America, was sold by Life magazine as suitable for framing. Ker's illustrations were cited by authors such as Upton Sinclair in disucssions about Progessive Era social-justice issues.
Ker continued to illustrate non-fiction and fiction until at least 1916.