The Letters of William Cullen Bryant - Vol. 1

By William Cullen Bryant II; Thomas G. Voss et al. | Go to book overview
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"qui avait vu Bolivar" was in Paris. He has now attacked the cholera in turn as you will see in the E. Post. 8

Yrs truly W C BRYANT

MANUSCRIPT: NYPL-Berg ADDRESS: Hon G. C. Verplanck / Member of Congress / Washington / D. C. POSTMARK: NEW-YORK / MAR / 30 DOCKETED: W. C. Bryant.

1.
The Sketch Club, or the "Twenty-One"--often so-called because its membership was at first limited to that number--grew out of informal meetings between artist and writers for The Talisman. By 1829 its meetings were recorded in weekly minutes. The American Landscape of 1830 was the product of several of its members. During half a century the club was instrumental in founding several significant New York cultural institutions, including the New York Gallery of the Fine Arts, the American Art Union, the Century Association, Central Park, and the Metropolitan Museum. See John Durand, Prehistoric Notes of the Century Club ( New York, 1882), pp. 9-23; Callow, Kindred Spirits, pp. 12-29; Bryant II, "Poetry and Painting," pp. 864-866.
2.
Abraham John Mason ( 1794-?), an English engraver who came to New York in 1829, was then a lecturer at the National Academy and a contributor of woodcuts to the NYM. See DAA, p. 427.
3.
Bryant summarizes a MS resolution dated March 15, 1832, in NYPL-GR.
4.
Charles Cromwell Ingham ( 1796-1863), Dublin-born portrait-painter, was a founder of the National Academy and the first president of the Sketch Club. See Callow, Kindred Spirits, p. 13; DAA, p. 340.
5.
Robert Walter Weir ( 1803-1889), for nearly half a century a close friend of Bryant's, was an historical and landscape painter who served from 1834 to 1876 as instructor in drawing and professor of painting at the United States Military Academy. In 1843 his mural, "Embarkation of the Pilgrims," was installed on one of the eight great panels in the Rotunda of the National Capitol. In this letter, and consistently thereafter, Bryant wrote "Wier."
6.
The Sketch Club's corresponding secretary was then William Emerson ( 1801- 1868, Harvard 1818), a New York lawyer, and elder brother of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Callow, Kindred Spirits, pp. 12-13; Rusk, Emerson, pp. 69, 142. This publishing venture went no further.
7.
This notice was written, not by Congressman Robert Barnwell of South Carolina, but rather by Hugh Swinton Legaré ( 1797-1843, South Carolina College 1814), editor of the Southern Review, who predicted that Bryant's name would "go down to posterity. as one of the first, both in time and excellence, of American Poets." Southern Review, 8 ( February 1832), 443-462. Legaré was later a congressman, Attorney General, and briefly Secretary of State under President Tyler.
8.
James Ellsworth De Kay ( 1792-1851, M.D. Edinburgh 1819), an early member of the Sketch Club, had just completed a study of the Asiatic cholera in Turkey. While there he had sent Bryant reports on the local political situation. See De Kay to Bryant, August 20, 1831, NYPL-BG. In later years De Kay published an exhaustive Zoölogy of New York in five volumes ( New York, 1842-1844).

237. To Richard H. Dana

New York April 9, 1832.

My dear Sir.

It is quite a triumph for me that one who has so often rated me for a bad correspondent should himself be found guilty in a most horrible

-323-

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