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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 1506

Christopher Pearse Cranch illustrations of the New Philosophy


A collection of humorous illustrations drawn by Cranch relating to New England transcendentalist, Ralph Waldo Emerson.


  • 1837-1839

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Conditions Governing Use

Images linked to this finding aid are intended for public access and educational use. This material is owned and/or held by the Houghton Library, and is provided solely for the purpose of teaching or individual research. Any other use, including commercial reuse, mounting on other systems, or other forms of redistribution requires the permission of the curator.


1 linear feet (2 boxes)

This collection of drawings is composed of ink sketches with autograph captions. These humerous drawings are also known as cartoons or caricatures. They originally were drawn by Cranch on separate sheets ca.1837-1839 in Louisville, Kentucky. James Freeman Clarke assembled these drawings (after April 1844) into a bound blank-book (22 leaves) sometimes called the "transcendental scrapbook," or the "new philosophy scrapbook." Clarke is credited with having created the titlepage and adding the date 1835. This date of creation of the drawings as noted on the titlepage is incorrect according to Miller.

Biographical / Historical

C.P. Cranch was the 10th child of William Cranch and Nancy Greenleaf Cranch, born on March 8, 1813 in the District of Columbia. He graduated from Columbian College in the District of Columbia (now George Washington University) in 1832 and the Harvard Divinity School in 1835. Cranch served for a short time as a Unitarian minister, then moved to the Ohio Valley where he edited the transcendentalist magazine Western Messenger with James Freeman Clarke from 1837 to 1839. It was during this time that he drew a number of caricatures of Ralph Waldo Emerson, based upon passages in Emerson's works. Cranch went on to write and publish four volumes of poetry, wrote children's stories, translated texts in Latin and German, and was a landscape painter in the manner of the Hudson River School.


Drawings are arranged as they were ordered in the original scrapbook.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

*45M-182. Deposited by James Freeman Clarke; received: 1946; gift: 1956 Dec. 13.

Related Materials

See also "Autograph file" under Cranch for additional drawings relating to Emerson.

For additional information see:

  • Frederick De Wolfe Miller, "Christopher Pearse Cranch and his caricatures of New England transcendentalism" (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 1951).
  • Leonora Cranch Scott, "The life and letters of Christopher Pearse Cranch" (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1917).

Processing Information

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

The drawings came to the repository mounted in a scrapbook and were removed from the volume for conservation in 2001. The housing was retained as part of the collection, see item (25) below. Photographs of each page of the scrapbook were taken prior to the removal of the drawings. Request the internal file to view these photographs.

Cranch, Christopher Pearse, 1813-1892. Christopher Pearse Cranch illustrations of the New Philosophy: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description
Imaging of this collection was made possible by the Class of 1952 Manuscript Department fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

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