Cooper and his Artistic Contemporaries

James F. Beard, Jr. * (Dartmouth College)

Published as New York History, Vol. 35, No. 4 (October, 1954), pp. 480-495. (Special Issue — James Fenimore Cooper: A Re-Appraisal).

Papers from the 1951 James Fenimore Cooper Conference, Cooperstown, New York.

Copyright © 1954, New York State Historical Association.

Placed online with the kind permission of the New York State Historical Association.

[May be reproduced for instructional use by individuals or institutions; commercial use prohibited.]

THE first vigorous expression of our national sensibility in the arts is to be found in the works of James Fenimore Cooper and the writers and artists contemporary with him. Although, historically, this awakening of American art is a part of the larger revolution that was sweeping European art and politics, the esthetic sensibility of the American romanticists is, in important ways, strikingly different from that of their European counterparts. It is a sensibility we have only begun to appreciate and define. We have no adequate descriptive title for it, we have neglected its artistic productions until lately, and we have no satisfying or definitive studies of many of its exemplars. The painter Thomas Cole, whom Cooper considered “one of the very first geniuses of the age,” 1 has had no biography since 1853; Horatio Greenough’s life has never been written; and so the record goes. While the literary figures have fared rather better than painters and sculptors, it has been too easy to study them as isolated phenomena, not very meaningfully related to the culture of their own times or of ours. The recent rediscovery of the early Hudson River Valley School painters should suggest to us that there are vital qualities in this art and culture which are again becoming available.

If the romantic sensibility in the United States was significantly distinct, it was because American writers and artists had peculiar problems to solve and because their temperaments and culture differed from those of their British and Continental contemporaries. Some of these differences are impressive. Whereas foreign writers, artists, and composers were effecting a revolution within an existing culture, their American colleagues, as many of them believed, were creating an indigenous culture. This is not to deny the richness and complexity of our colonial cultures or some high esthetic achievement within them; but it is true, in a national sense, as Cooper wrote at about the time Emerson issued his famous call for a national literature, that America still had “arts to acquire, and tastes to form.” 2 The combined influence of foreign examples and opinions and native common sense was so strongly felt at first (and this situation is difficult to imagine today) that the question of whether American materials had any potential esthetic value was seriously debated. 3 In any case, the novelty of their materials required writers and artists to make their own adaptations of old forms and styles or to evolve new ones. As Cooper pointed out in Notions of the Americans (1828), the practical difficulties arising from the sparseness of population, the absence of international copyright laws, and the scarcity of patrons were enormous. 4

These mutual problems, and other circumstances, made New York, from about 1820 to about 1840, a gravitational center to which most artists and writers eventually drifted. It was here chiefly that they congregated, exchanged ideas, formed projects, founded organizations, and received stimulus from each other’s society and enthusiasms. And it was here, consequently, that the most effectual efforts towards the formation of a national sensibility were made. Although our records of this culture, apart from its art works, are meager, it contained a notable breadth and versatility. Men like William Dunlap, Samuel F. B. Morse, and Gulian Verplanck obtained prominence in each of several careers; and it is difficult to find any writer or artist whose interests were insular. To a large extent, they were all moved by the same esthetic impulse, the discovery of hitherto unsuspected values in American life and landscape, a discovery which brought the arts closely together. It is significant that in Cooper’s Bread and Cheese Club, painters like William Dunlap, Asher B. Durand, John Wesley Jarvis, Samuel F. B. Morse, Henry Inman, Robert W. Weir, and John Vanderlyn outnumbered more purely literary men, like Cooper and William Cullen Bryant; 5 and that the membership of the Sketch Club in 1831 contained authors and painters in about equal proportions. 6 After Morse demonstrated the vitality of the new school of painting in 1825 by founding the National Academy of Design, it welcomed to its staff or honorary membership writers like Bryant, who lectured there from 1828 to 1838; Cooper, who sent to it a carefully selected collection of casts and a Borghese vase from abroad; and Irving who, under Washington Allston’s influence, had once considered exchanging the pen for the brush.

This spirit of comradeship in a joint enterprise was far more important than has been recognized in influencing the careers of writers and artists and in determining the qualities of their productions. The familiar story of Fenimore Cooper’s rescuing Horatio Greenough “from despair” in Florence in 1828 by commissioning the first American group statuary is only one of countless similar accounts. If Cooper was, as Greenough said, “a father to him in kindness,” commissioning a bust of himself, helping him to arrange exhibitions, inducing the busy Lafayette to model for a bust, conspiring innocently to secure Greenough’s commission for the statue of George Washington for the National Capitol, and interceding silently with patrons in Greenough’s behalf, the same generosity, transcending even personal dislikes, pervaded the relations of other writers and artists. And despite individual differences of temperament, taste, and interest, they held similar ideas to such an extent that it is sometimes difficult to tell who originated them. Cooper and Greenough, for example, shared a preference for functional architecture. 7 Who, considering the extent of Cooper’s influence on Greenough, can say definitely that the priority in this preference belongs to Greenough?

The friendships between Cooper and Dunlap, Morse and Greenough were particularly close (much closer than any of the novelist’s literary friendships); and they are preserved in letters, now widely scattered and mostly unpublished. For William Dunlap, New York’s patriarch of the arts, Cooper exercised a tender and almost filial care. Their friendship never wavered from the time of the first meeting aboard an Albany-bound steamer, when Cooper was showing the English actor Charles Mathews the beauties of the Hudson and the three of them sat all night with Dr. John W. Francis in the captain’s cabin telling anecdotes and drinking whiskey punch. It flourished to the time of Dunlap’s death, when he and Cooper were involved together in the novelist’s unfortunate speculation in western lands. 8 Cooper and Morse were inseparable companions. Together they attended James Monroe’s last reception as President in 1825, visited the Colosseum on a beautiful moonlight evening in 1830, followed directly behind the Pope on a Holy Thursday at St. Peter’s by thrusting themselves into the procession of ambassadors, shopped in picture stalls along the streets of Paris where Cooper purchased a picture said to be by Teniers (and possibly his Rembrandt and Holbein) for “just $5,” participated in meetings of the exiled Polish patriots, and sat long afternoons in the Louvre while Morse copied paintings and Cooper exclaimed, “Lay it on here Samuel — more yellow — the nose is too short — the eye too small — damn it if I had been a painter what a picture I should have painted.” 9 It was during one of their evenings in Cooper’s Parisian quarters in 1832 that Morse seems first to have broached his idea for an electro-magnetic telegraph. 10 Back in New York the next year, they made plans for refurbishing Otsego Hall, fulminated against Cooper’s detractors, and talked art and politics endlessly with the aging one-eyed Dunlap. Although Cooper and Greenough could seldom be together, the novelist was always the “glorious Fenimore” to the sculptor; and Greenough was projecting a bronze bust to commemorate Cooper in 1852, when his own death interrupted his plans. 11

It would have been strange indeed if friendships like these, based on a deeply understood affinity among the arts, had not significantly affected the dominant sensibility of the times. Asher B. Durand epitomized this relationship among the arts when he painted Cole and Bryant standing together contemplating a magnificent vista. 12 Some painters, like Washington Allston and William Dunlap, were also writers; and some writers, like Cooper, Irving, and Bryant, were profoundly interested in painting. One indication of the directness of this relationship is that there was a considerable vogue for paintings which were essentially illustrations of the works of Cooper, Scott, Irving, and Bryant. Although records of the paintings of the period are tantalizingly incomplete, they do show that practically all of the more prominent painters of Cooper’s time turned directly to his fiction for subjects; and if the records were complete, they might show that almost every major scene in his early novels was transferred to canvas. The Spy (1821), The Pioneers (1823), The Last of the Mohicans (1826), and The Prairie (1827) were especially attractive to the painters. Unaccountably, except for the paucity of marine painters, the sea novels seem to have been neglected.

All of these American paintings I have been able to see are extremely faithful to the spirit and letter of Cooper’s text, and it is a little remarkable that the details and variety of his fiction provided stimulus for so many painters with different styles and interests. The Spy seems to have appealed by its tense dramatic situations. When, during the winter of 1823-1824, William Dunlap decided to paint a scene from The Spy, he chose the moment in Chapter V just after Major Lawton “of the Virginia horse” has penetrated the disguise of Captain Wharton “of his Majesty’s 50ᵗʰ regiment of foot,” and just before Lawton learns Wharton’s identity. 13

Dunlap; Scene from The Spy

SCENE FROM “THE SPY”. Oil on canvas by William Dunlap. Fenimore House Collection.

The emotions on the faces of the characters, the Negro servant, Cæsar, lingering in the background, and even the profuse “raven” locks on Lawton’s head are faithfully portrayed. Members of the original cast of Charles P. Clinch’s dramatization of The Spy are said to have posed for this painting. 14 Thomas Frederick Hoppin painted one of Wharton’s several escapes in the novel. 15 The Last Interview Between Washington and Harvey Birch, the affective scene in which Harvey refuses any compensation for his services to his country, was the title of one of the two paintings by Asher B. Durand suggested by Cooper’s fiction. 16 Circulated widely as an engraving, it became one of Durand’s best known works. It would be pleasant to suppose that the Irish tavern-keeper, Betty Flanagan, who appealed strongly to Maria Edgeworth, found a portraitist; and perhaps she did, for the title of a painting by Louis Lang, Bridget Flanagan Thinking of Bettering Her Situation is strongly suggestive of her. 17

The Pioneers was replete with fine landscapes, portraits of manners, and scenes of action ready for the brush; and painters were not long in seizing their opportunities.

Quidor — Leatherstocking Meets the Law

“LEATHERSTOCKING MEETS THE LAW”. Oil on canvas by John Quidor,1832. Fenimore House Collection

Thomas Doughty exhibited two landscapes from the novel at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia only a year after the book’s publication. One showed Leatherstocking’s ill-fated pursuit of the deer in Lake Otsego, and the other the almost disastrous conflagration on Mount Vision. 18 John Quidor, whose whimsical genius one associates more normally with Irving than with Cooper, found an appropriate scene for his talents in Chapter XXX where, to the great amusement of the woodchopper, Billy Kirby, the irate Leatherstocking hurls Hiram Doolittle, the meddlesome representative of the law, almost into the lake. 19 The details and the grotesque effect of this painting, Leatherstocking Meets the Law, were suggested in Cooper’s text. Leatherstocking’s split-second rescue of Elizabeth Temple almost from the jaws of the panther seems to have appealed to artists more strongly than any other scene in Cooper’s fiction. It was painted by John Quidor and George L. Brown, engraved by Henry S. Sadd for the Columbian Magazine from a design by Tompkins H. Matteson, and, I am told, baked into sets of china. 21

Matteson - The Turkey Shoot

“THE TURKEY SHOOT”. Oil on canvas by Tompkins H. Matteson, 1857. Fenimore House Collection.

Matteson also painted The Turkey-Shoot from The Pioneers. 21 The scene in which old Mohegan, more familiarly known as Chingachgook, obstinately retains his seat on a log in the path of a raging forest fire, rejects Christian consolation, and dies an Indian’s death was painted by Henry Inman. 22 To an unknown painter should go the credit for depicting Leatherstocking’s leave-taking, where, symbolically transfigured, he becomes “the foremost in that band of pioneers who are opening the way for the march of the nation across the continent.” 23

If The Pioneers was peculiarly a painter’s novel, The Last of the Mohicans presented special difficulties to painters; for here nature was imagined in a grandeur and wildness unprecedented in American fiction. Only one native artist, Thomas Cole, was equal to the depth and immensity of Cooper’s conception; and he seems to have had no competitors in the one or more scenes he painted from the Mohicans. Interestingly, and perhaps significantly, Cooper and Cole were neighbors in Greenwich Street in New York and exchanged visits at about the time Cooper was writing his romance. 24

A SCENE FROM COOPER’S “THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS”. Oil on canvas by Thomas Cole, 1827. Fenimore House Collection.

The representation of Cora Kneeling at the Feet of Tamenund, for which Cole’s patrons competed and which seems so boldly independent, is actually almost a miracle of fidelity to the scene Cooper imagined. 25 A comparison of the painting and the text shows that Cole assimilated, for his design and details, practically all of the relevant descriptive matter from Chapters XXVIII and XXIX; and the arrangement of masses in the finished painting conforms more closely to Cooper’s text than that in the preliminary drawing. Tiny as they are, the human figures in the painting are identifiable from their dispositions and postures. It is not surprising that Cooper wrote of Cole in Notions of the Americans: “To me his is like the scenery from which he drew; and as he has taste and skill enough to reject what is disagreeable, and to arrange the attractive parts of his pictures, I only hope he will continue to study [nature] the great master from whom he has drawn his first inspirations.” 26

To signalize their imaginative kinship, and also to bring the work of the American artist before discriminating foreign patrons Cooper in 1828 commissioned Cole to paint a scene from The Prairie for presentation to the English poet Samuel Rogers, to whom Cooper later provided an introduction for Cole. 27 Charles Wilkes, the friend who sent the gift for Cooper, informed the novelist that it showed Leatherstocking “climbing a hill near the center of the picture ... beckoning to his companion to follow him.” The whole, Wilkes added, was “a kind of cento, composed of real views taken from Nature and well joined together.” 28 The sale catalog of Rogers’ fabulous collection describes the painting as “A Romantic American valley, with Indians crossing a bridge over a cataract: grand effect of an approaching storm.” 29

Although reports of the merits of this painting conflict, 31 it must have surpassed the efforts of other artists to illustrate The Prairie. One of these, exhibited by John C. Hagan fifteen years after the book appeared, was the Meeting of Ishmael Bush with the Trapper from Chapter III. 31 A water col George Harvey entitled Daybreak: Leatherstocking’s Expedient, from Chapter XXIII, shows Natty combating the prairie fire by igniting his own blaze, while he and the other fugitives stand huddled in a circle cleared of grass and pursuing Indians hover on the horizon. 32 The portrait of Leatherstocking by the Dutch artist, Johan Barnard Wittkamp, is interesting chiefly for suggesting how different the American and European sensibilities were. The painting portrays Leatherstocking’s first appearance in The Prairie, presumably, where he stands musing and alone, a dark and colossal outline against a flood of fiery light. Wittkamp recorded faithfully such obvious details as the long rifle, the realistic hound, and the rolling prairie; but in his preoccupation, he missed altogether the atmospheric and spatial qualities essential to Cooper’s bizarre effect. 33 A large painting by James William Glass, an American who worked in England, showing a cluster of horsemen on the Great Plains, attempts without notable success, to capture the spaciousness of Cooper’s conception. 34

These paintings from Cooper’s fiction (a similar list might be made for other authors) reflect more comprehensive parallels in the subject matter and styles of the two arts. “I owe much if not most of my success,” Cooper replied, in 1825, to a laudatory letter from Richard H. Dana, Sr., “to the desire that is now so prevalent in the country to see our manners exhibited on paper [he might have added, on canvas]. If I am able to create an excitement that may arouse some sleeping talents of the natives ... I shall not have labored entirely in vain.” 35 As the records of writing and painting show, the esthetic impulse was mingled with the impulse of the historian to preserve what had been very dear, what was felt to be peculiar, and what was rapidly passing. The impetus which Cooper’s fiction gave to this movement of writers and artists to preserve the whole of the American life and scene they knew it can perhaps never be measured, for he was a part of the larger movement. It may or may not be accidental, for example, that William G. Wall’s popular Hudson River Portfolio, containing an aquatint engraving of Glens Falls, preceded Cooper’s visit to the Falls and the inception of The Last of the Mohicans by only one year. Practically all of the subjects and scenes that attracted the imaginations of Cooper, Irving, and Bryant appealed also to the imaginations of the painters.

The dominant sensibility with which these materials were regarded seems to have contained a peculiar if not unique ambivalence of attitude, whose most extreme representatives, perhaps, are Cooper and Cole. In the works of both men, there is a passion for exactitude of representational detail and, at the same time, a striving towards the harmonization of those details which reaches at times beyond the expressive limits of their media. These qualities are familiar, of course, in British and Continental sensibilities at the time. What seems to be distinct in the American sensibility is the extent to which the tendencies were pushed.

The notion that the value of an esthetic effect depends to a high degree on the literal quality of its observation seems droll to modern ears. Yet the idea was not only present to Cooper, Cole, and their contemporaries; but their techniques were greatly influenced by it. Cooper might not have written The Pilot and, in effect, created the sea novel if he had not felt that his own exact knowledge of seamanship would enable him to improve on Scott’s effects in The Pirate. Whatever critics of his Indians have said, Cooper himself always believed that his pictures of Indian life were essentially true. When told, for example, that his portrayal of the Sioux Indians in The Prairie differed from that of Chateaubriand in Les Natchez, a book Cooper had not read, he defended his own fiction, stating: “The book speaks plainly for itself, and if Mr. Chateaubriand has painted them [the Sioux] materially different from what I have done he has been led into an error. ... He has probably gained his information from the old French writers, half a century old, while I have consulted our own means of intelligence, and my own observation. Of course my own description is a little poetic, as it should be, but in the main it is correct enough.” 36 If Cooper objected to the color of the sea or the rigging of a ship in paintings as inaccurate, 37 he was not being unpainterly; for the painters themselves took such matters seriously. When Charles Wilkes went to see Cole’s painting from The Prairie, he objected, he wrote Cooper, “to two or three trees of which I did not like the shape”; but, he added, “I withdrew my objection when he [Cole] showed me an original sketch from Nature of the very trees.” 38 The careful and intricate details of Cole’s preliminary studies for paintings; which were usually made directly from nature, show the utmost concern for accuracy of representation.

For all its literal qualities, the art of Cooper and Cole was not intended as photographic realism, like that of the artist who painted a picture entitled, The Bedchamber of Washington, in which he Died, with the furniture as it was at the Time, Drawn on the Spot . 39 That is why Cooper’s effects are untranslatable on the moving-picture screen. In the final effect, Cooper believed, the realistic details should be sublimated by a process of selection, arrangement, and poetic heightening to a single unified impression. “Nature,” Cooper wrote in a deceptively neo-classical idiom to Cole’s biographer, the Reverend Louis L. Noble, “should be the substratum of all that is poetical. But the superstructure should be no servile copy. The poet and the painter are permitted to give the beau ideal of this nature and he who makes it the most attractive while he maintains the best likeness, is the highest artist.” 41 Cole himself provided the rationale of this effect, which Cooper referred to as the “harmony of poetic coloring.” 41 “In the forest during an hour of tempest, it is not,” Cole wrote, “the bough playing in the wind, but the whole mass steeping to the blast that absorbs the attention; the detail, however fine, is comparatively unobserved. In a picture of such a subject detail should not attract the eye, but the whole.” 42 Clearly, the painter or writer who is to represent scenes in this manner must have a highly specialized type of visual imagination.

Cooper’s most successful fiction, and all we know about his tastes and habits of composition, confirms what Balzac said long ago, “Never did the art of writing tread closer upon the art of the pencil.” 43 Never, one may add, was there a more indefatigable connoisseur of landscape. “You will smile at my old passion for fine skies and landscape scenery,” Cooper wrote in Italy, “but I have climbed to the castle of St. Elmo a dozen times within the last month to see the effects of the sunset.” 44 Cooper’s travel books, especially the volumes on Switzerland and Italy, are redolent of his feeling for color, mass, space, and atmosphere. The inceptions of at least one-third of his romances can be traced to the strong impressions of some particular scenes on his sensibilities. Moreover, his imagination appears to have been of that inward and withdrawn kind which conceives best in visual images, and for which the act of writing is essentially an act of transcription from one medium to another. This visual composing was the stage of creation which gave Cooper his greatest pleasure, and he said that he always composed “twice as much as was committed to paper.” 45 The actual writing was a “dirty employment” for which he had too little patience. It follows, therefore, that the best way to read much of Cooper’s fiction is to read it rapidly, allowing the text to recreate the painter’s image. The style, flawed though it is, is quite serviceable in this respect. Though I speak under correction, I do not believe Cooper is read today in this manner, except by the few readers who instinctively visualize and who can escape the mold of photographic realism.

Cooper’s mode of composition is worthy of serious artistic consideration; indeed, it has some advantages over any other method of story-telling that has been devised. Like the modern motion picture camera, it frees the imagination of the narrative artist in time and space, while permitting him to retain much of the expressive value of painting. Some of the effects of focus and pace which Cooper was able to obtain by regulating the clarity and nature of visual details do, in fact, anticipate Hollywood techniques. The most familiar, perhaps, is his manner of sweeping in on his characters by narrowing his focus. Some effects are much more complex. By combining close and long-range views in The Two Admirals, for example, Cooper created a vivid illusion of whole fleets maneuvering with their individual ships in battle. By superimposing one wild landscape on another in the reader’s consciousness in The Last of the Mohicans, he created an illusion of depths below depths. In conveying effects of action and rapid movement, Cooper had much the advantage of the painters. Washington Allston, a painter whom Cooper greatly admired, refused to paint battle scenes because, he wrote, “I know not where, even among the great names of my art, to look for anything like the living mass of one of Cooper’s battles.” “The details,” he added, were “wholly untranslatable in the painter’s language.” 46

If painters found it difficult to capture the sense of movement in Cooper’s narrative, it might be supposed that he would have had difficulty in employing the expressive values of painting; and it is true that the narrative artist can never achieve the same degree of immediacy in the expressive values of color, mass, and space as the painter. Nevertheless, Cooper understood these values and instinctively used them in a definite pictorial style or styles. While, in general, Cooper’s visual imagination worked within the range of styles we think of as characteristic of the Hudson River Valley School painters, it would be misleading to attempt to identify his style with that of any one of them; for there is in his fiction a remarkable variety of painterly expression. The tonal qualities which permeate many of his books, contributing to their unity and remaining fixed in the reader’s memory long after the incidents themselves are forgotten, vary markedly from novel to novel. This tonal consistency within individual books, as well as the variety from book to book, seems largely the result of Cooper’s allowing certain sites or landscapes, with their peculiar clusters of association, to determine not only the settings of his fiction but the qualities of characterization and action as well. The idea for The Deerslayer, we are told, came as the sudden result of a glimpse of Lake Otsego through “an opening in the wood” along the eastern shore; 47 and it is not difficult to feel reverberations of this circumstance in its limpid, slightly nostalgic tone. The action and characterization of The Wing-and-Wing seem to have been projections of Cooper’s haunting memory of a sense of “secret and subtle danger” he experienced while cruising along the lovely shores of Italy in a Genoese felucca. 48

Within the tonal range Cooper set for himself in particular books, he knew how to vary pictorial effects so as to elicit their maximum expressive values. In The Prairie, for example, the dominant tone is established by the image of the vast, endlessly rolling seas of grass. His symbolic intention in bringing Leatherstocking here to die was his feeling that “Illimitable space is the best prototype of eternity.” 49 Instead of the monotony one might expect in this dreary microcosm, The Prairie is filled with pictures of a teeming life which the somber overcast serves to unify and intensify. The best of these scenes, which, as Balzac observed, do not so much engage the attention as absorb the mind, contain their own implicit symbolisms, not unlike those one finds in the more imaginative Hudson River Valley School paintings. The paradox that the greatness of man is his insignificance intrigued Cooper as it intrigued Cole, Durand, and other painters; and the idea is implicit in many of the scenes or tableaux in The Prairie. The same qualities of religious awe and aspiration which one finds in the paintings are present in such scenes as that in which Ishmael Bush hears the agonizing shriek informing him that the murderer of his son is punished, or in the scene of Leatherstocking’s death. The setting is not simply a backdrop to the action, and hence incidental to the meaning: it is an integral part of the action and the meaning.

While Cooper’s great reputation for composition in the painter’s sense has been often reaffirmed, we have lost sight, it seems to me, of much that is involved in this reputation. The sensibility which Cooper possessed and the larger sensibility which he reflected was one which delighted in the profound and inexhaustibly, expressive qualities of light, mass, color, shape, and movement, as employed to represent accurately and yet imaginatively certain truths of American life. Cooper’s fidelity, like that of his contemporary American painters, was not intended to be a literal fidelity to fact. An important American historian in his own right, Cooper differentiated with the utmost care between the order of truth necessary for the historian and that required for imaginative works. Like the painters, he sought to achieve a balance between the generalized fidelity to American experience which would convey an exact sense of its nature and quality and yet embody a religious, patriotic, and ethical idealism which transcended the immediate aspects of that experience. The balance was not an easy one to maintain, and it resulted often in an uneven apprehension of materials. This is apparent, for example, in Cooper’s greatest triumph, his portrayal of Leatherstocking. Yet it is within this dual apprehension of reality, which Cooper usually described in the painters’ language, that he and his artistic contemporaries evolved their forms. The combination of firm observation and unbounded aspiration gives their sensibility and their art works a texture and universality that we have been most careless to neglect.


1 Cooper to the Reverend Louis L. Noble, Cooperstown, January 6, 1849. Quoted by courtesy of the New-York Historical Society and the Cooper family.

2 Gleanings in Europe. Italy (Philadelphia, 1838) I, 95.

3 For discussions of this subject, see William Ellery Sedgwick, “The Materials for an American Literature: A Critical Problem of the Early Nineteenth Century,” Harvard Studies and Notes in Philology and Literature, XVII (1955), 141-152: and Nanette M. Ashby, “Aliment for Genius,” American Literature, VIII (January. 1937), 371-378.

4 (New Edition of 1810, Philadelphia) II, 106-125.

5 Albert H. Marckwardt, “The Chronology and Personnel of the Bread and Cheese Club.” American Literature, VI (January 1935), 394-395.

6 John Durand, The Life and Times of A. B. Durand, (New York, 1894), p. 96.

7 Greenough’s and Cooper’s opinions on architecture are paralleled in Harold A. Small, Form and Function, Remarks on Art by Horatio Greenough (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1947), p. 66.

8 Letters from Dunlap to Cooper. Cooper Collection. Yale University Library.

9 Samuel I. Prime, The Life of Samuel F. B. Morse, L. L. D., Inventor of the Electro-Magnetic Telegraph (New York, 1875), pp. 187, 199; Edward L. Morse, Samuel F. B. Morse; Letters and Journals (Boston and New York, 1914), pp. 265-264, 408; Carleton Maybee, The American Leonardo; A Life of Samuel F. B. Morse (New York, 1843), p. 138; Cooper to Dunlap: Paris, March 16, 1832, Diary of William Dunlap (New York, 1930), p. 608.

10 Edward L. Morse, op. cit., p. 419.

11 Henry T. Tuckerman stated that Greenough’s last work was a bust of his illustrious friend, the American novelist, which he proposed to cast in bronze at his own expense, and place in the field where stands the Old Mill in Newport — one of the scenes of his novel of the ‘Red Rover’ Book of the Artists (New York, 1867), p. 257.

12 Durand’s painting, Kindred Souls, is owned by the New York Public Library.

13 Dunlap’s painting is owned by the New York State Historical Association.

14 George C. D. Odell, Annals of the New York State (New York, 1928), III, 23.

15 Exhibited in 1844 at the National Academy of Design. National Academy of Design Exhibition Record, 1826-1860 (New York. 1943), I, 237. This useful compendium of exhibition catalogs published by the New-York Historical Society will be referred to henceforth as NADER.

16 Reproduced from the original painting owned by Miss Fanny Gillis, Washington, D. C., in John Durand, op. cit., facing p. 132.

17 Exhibited in 1860 at the National Academy of Design. NADER I, 284. Numerous errors in these catalog listings could easily explain the apparent error with respect to Betty Flanagan’s name.

18 I am indebted to Mrs. Barbara S. Roberts of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for this information.

19 Quidor’s painting is owned by the New York State Historical Association.

20 The painting by Quidor was exhibited in 1942 at the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts. Brown’s painting, I am informed by Mrs. Barbara N. Parker of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, is currently on exhibition in the Karolik collection of nineteenth-century American paintings in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Miss Janet MacFarlane of the New York State Historical Association called my attention to the Sadd engraving.

21 Matteson’s painting is owned by the New York State Historical Association.

22 Exhibited in 1846 at the National Academy of Design, NADER, I, 256.

23 A reproduction of this painting, supplied by the “American Folk Art Gallery,” 52 E. 51ˢᵗ St., N.Y.C., is preserved in the Frick Art Reference Library. I am indebted to Mrs. Henry W. Howell, Jr. of the Frick Art Reference Library for this information.

24 Cooper to Noble, Cooperstown, January 6, 1849. Loc. cit.

25 Cole’s painting, originally commissioned by Robert Gilmor of Baltimore, was acquired to Gilmor’s distress by Daniel Wadsworth in 1827. It was acquired by the WadJworth Atheneum in 1868. “A second version of the subject exhibited N.A.D. 1831, No. 10, as belonging to Dr. Hosack; this or still another, was exhibited 1848 Art-Union Memorial, No. 96, as belonging to W. E. Laight. The whereabouts of the other version or versions is unknown.” Thomas Cole, 1801-1848, One Hundred Years Later, Catalog of a loan exhibition sponsored by the Wadsworth Atheneum and the Whitney Museum of American Art (Hartford, Connecticut: 1949), pp. 19-20. The version of this painting now owned by The New York State Historical Association is presumably that formerly owned by Dr. Hosack.

26 (New Edition of 1840, Philadelphia) II, 119.

27 William Dunlap, A History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States, ed. F. W. Bayley and C. E. Goodspeed (Boston, 1918) III, 152.

28 Wilkes to Cooper, New York, February 14, 1829. Cooper Collection. Yale University Library. Quoted by courtesy of the Yale University Library and the Cooper family.

29 Catalogue of the Celebrated Collection of Works of Art and Vertu, the Property of Samuel Rogers, Esq. Deceased ... (London, 1856), item 631, p. 60.

30 Wilkes considered the painting one of Cole’s “happiest efforts.” Wilkes to Cooper, New York, February 14, 1829. Loc. cit; Cooper thought it “not considered one of the painter’s best.” Cooper to Noble, Cooperstown, January 6, 1849. Loc. cit.

31 NADER, I, 202.

32 Harvey’s painting is owned by the New-York Historical Society.

33 Exhibited in 1859 at the National Academy of Design as The Trapper. Wittkamp’s painting is owned by the New York State Historical Association.

34 Glass’s painting, exhibited at the New York State Historical Association 1951, is owned by Mr. Alfred Coming Clark.

35 Printed, in part, in Catalog of American Art Association-Anderson Galleries (May 17, 1934), item 61.

36 Cooper to [A. J. B. Defauconpret? 1827] Printed without date or salutation in American Autograph Shop Catalog (April, 1937), p. 695.

37 Gleanings in Europe. Italy, I, 181; Cooper to William Dunlap, Paris March 16, 1832. Diary of William Dunlap (New York, 1930). III, 609.

38 Wilkes to Cooper, New York, February 14, 1829. Loc. cit.

39 Exhibited by John G. Chapman in 1835 at the National Academy of Design. NADER, I, 74.

40 Cooper to Noble, Cooperstown, January 14, 1849. Loc. cit.

41 The Last of the Mohicans (Townsend & Stringer, New York, 1859), p. 59.

42 Notes on Art, December 12, 1829. As quoted from Cole by Louis L. Noble, The Course of Empire, Voyage of Life, and Other Pictures of Thomas Cole ... (New York, 1853), p. 117.

43 Translation from Balzac’s “Fenimore Cooper et Walter Scott” (Oeuvres Completes, XXIII, Paris, 1879) by T. R. Lounsbury, James Fenimore Cooper (Boston and New York, 1882), pp. 240-241.

44 Gleanings in Europe. Italy. II, 36.

45 Gleanings in Europe. [France], ed. R. E. Spiller, (New York, 1928), p. 210.

46 Washington Allston to Gulian Verplanck, March 1, 1830, Jared B. Flagg, The Life and Letters of Washington Allston (New York, 1892), pp. 250-231.

47 Susan Fenimore Cooper, Pages and Pictures from the Writings of James Fenimore Cooper (New York, 1861), p. 322.

48 Ibid., pp 338-339.

49 Gleanings in Europe. Italy, II, 122.

* Dr. Beard, Assistant Professor of English at Dartmouth College, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, 1952-1953, for work on a definitive edition of Cooper’s correspondence. In connection with the larger project, which is still in progress, he is preparing a critical biography of Cooper for the Oxford University Press.