Thomas Cole

"I have just returned from the mountain, where I have spent two of the happiest days that I remember. Dark forests, rugged rocks, towering mountains encompassed me. It was sublime.[1] I have found no natural scenery which has affected me so powerfully as that which I have seen in the wilderness of America.[2]  Yet I cannot but express my sorrow that the beauty of such landscapes is quickly passing away.[3] The copper-hearted barbarians are cutting all the trees down in the beautiful valley on which I have looked so often with a loving eye. This throws quite a gloom over me.[4] The ravages of the axe are daily increasing.[5]


I am as usual engaged in painting.[6] Among American scenes, many a mountain, stream, and rock has its legend, worthy of the painter's pencil.[7] But the wayside is becoming shade-less, and another generation will behold spots, now rife with beauty, desecrated by what is called improvement.[8]"




[1] Thomas Cole, “Thoughts and Occurrences,” Journal Entry July 6, 1835, New York State Library, Manuscripts and Special Collections, Thomas Cole Papers 1821-1863, SC10635, Journals, Box 4a Folder 1.

[2] Thomas Cole to Robert Gilmor, January 29, 1832, New York State Library, Manuscripts and Special Collections, Thomas Cole Papers 1821-1863, SC10635, Correspondence between Thomas Cole and Robert Gilmor 1826-1837, Box 3 Folder 8.

[3] Thomas Cole, "Essay on American Scenery" in American Monthly Magazine 1 (January 1836) 1-12.

[4] Thomas Cole to Luman Reed, March 6, 1836, New York State Library, Manuscripts and Special Collections, Thomas Cole Papers 1821-1863, SC10635, Box 1 Folder 2.

[5] Thomas Cole, "Essay on American Scenery" in American Monthly Magazine 1 (January 1836) 1-12.

[6] Thomas Cole to William A. Adams, July 29, 1839, New York State Library, Manuscripts and Special Collections, Thomas Cole Papers 1821-1863, SC10635, Box 1 Folder 4.

[7] Thomas Cole, "Essay on American Scenery" in American Monthly Magazine 1 (January 1836) 1-12.

[8] Thomas Cole, "Essay on American Scenery" in American Monthly Magazine 1 (January 1836) 1-12.