Munson Williams Proctor Institute

Utica, NY



The Voyage of Life: A Chronology

by Dr. Paul D. Schweizer


This chronology outlines the basic history of The Voyage of Life from 1836 through 1916. Information regarding the creation, ownership, duplication, and display of the series has been largely drawn from the extensive body of original material that has survived. This has been presented with little interpretive commentary and has focused on The Voyage of Life to the exclusion of other developments taking place in Cole's career at the same time. I have endeavored to let Cole and the circle of people who became involved with The Voyage of Life speak for themselves whenever possible, although I have selectively modified grammar, punctuation, and spelling of unpublished letters in the interests of readability. Paralleling this chronology are illustrations of all the preliminary drawings and oil sketches made by Cole that relate specifically to the series, as well as the six different editions of prints that the series inspired between 1849 and 1916.

In assembling this material I have drawn upon unpublished Cole papers in the Manuscripts and Special Collections Division of the New York State Library, as well as at the Detroit Institute of Arts and at the Albany Institute of History and Art. The Cole papers at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Archives of American Art and at the Watkinson Library, Trinity College, have also been useful. For matters relating to James Smillie and the American Art-Union I have drawn upon the papers of the Art-Union at the New-York Historical Society. Additional unpublished material has come from the National Academy of Design, the Newington-Cropsey Foundation, Greenwich, Conn., the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, and a private collector.



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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 5/28/11

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