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Charles Dickens's Letters

This blog features letters from Charles Dickens drawn from the Morgan's collection, which includes over 1,500 of his letters. The Morgan has the largest collection of Dickens's letters in the United States, surpassed in number only by the Dickens House Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London. Posts will include images of Dickens letters with a complete transcription, and a brief commentary on content and context. A Letter from Charles Dickens will allow readers of the blog to discover for the first time—or renew their acquaintance with—Dickens's notable letters.

Jean Chenel

Jean Chenel, sieur de La Chappronnaye (fl. 1614-1617). Les revelations de l’hermite solitaire sur l’estat de la France. Paris: Toussaincts du Braÿ, 1617. Purchased on the Gordon N. Ray Fund, 2011.

Quicksilver Bob Invents the "highest blessing of the water"

Robert Fulton's steamboat first chugged up the Hudson River in August, 1807. The flat-bottomed boat, which was only 12 feet wide, was fitted with side wheels and powered by a coal-fired steam engine. It clocked an impressive 4 to 5 miles per hour against the current and made the 150-mile trip from New York to Albany in about 32 hours.

King John's 1205 Charter

King John, oh King John. Best remembered for signing the Magna Carta (after being forced by his barons to do so), losing most of England's territory on the continent (in a war triggered partially by his marriage to Isabelle of Angoulâme), and trying to seize the crown from his elder brother Richard the Lionheart (while Richard was being held captive by Duke Leopold of Austria), John's life and sixteen-year reign was violent and unpopular. The 13th-century chronicler Matthew Paris went so far as to declare "Hell is too good for a horrible person like him," although this general view has been somewhat tempered in the intervening 800 years.

Edgar Degas

In the early 1890s, when Degas' work became increasingly less naturalistic, he produced a series of pure landscapes that freely interpret the scenery he encountered on his way to visit the painter and printmaker Pierre-Georges Jeanniot in the village of Diénay, near Dijon. There Degas produced about fifty monotypes, which he enhanced with vivid pastel work.