The Collections of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site include over six hundred objects and two research archives. Many of the holdings relate to the life of artist Thomas Cole (1801–1848) and include paintings, art-making tools, sketches, natural specimens, and books. The collection also reflects the lives of the many people with whom Cole shared his life, from his wife Maria and her family, the Thomsons, to Cole’s sister, Sarah Cole (1805-1857), and his children, including Emily Cole (1843-1913) who was a lifelong artist. Many collection items are on view throughout the Cole Site interiors, in historic rooms, as well as within the rotating exhibition Mind Upon Nature: Thomas Cole’s Creative Process.
The Thomas Cole Site Archives contain letters, photographs, and other materials documenting the life of Thomas Cole, the Cole and Thomson families, and their home Cedar Grove in Catskill, NY. The Ellwood Parry Archive consists of the art historian’s research records, including copies of letters, articles, Thomas Cole’s correspondence, microfilms, exhibition records, slides, film, and photos. Limited access to the archives may be requested through advance appointment.
Below is a selection of collection highlights. This online exhibition was made possible with support from the Henry Luce Foundation and was organized by Amanda Malmstrom, Education & Curatorial Program Coordinator; Kate Menconeri, Curator / Director of Exhibitions & Collections; and Brooke Krancer, 2020-22 Cole Fellow. Special thanks to Rowanne Dean, 2017-18 Cole Fellow and Oriana Tang, 2020-22 Cole Fellow for their help to launch this virtual exhibition.