Primary Sources


Journal & Letters of Maria Bartow Cole

Maria Bartow Cole’s journal kept from 1835-1851 and transcribed letters from 1831-1847. This collection of Maria’s writings documents her private life and relationships, providing a window into daily life in Catskill and beyond. A lightly edited version is available for sale online, or in our gift shop.


Thoughts & Occurrences

Thomas Cole’s journal kept from 1834-1848. This collection of writings documents events in his life and also includes poetry, musings, and lamentations. A lightly edited version is available for sale online, or in our gift shop.


Essay on American Scenery

Thomas Cole’s Essay on American Scenery is a seminal work of American environmentalism, first published in 1836. A lightly edited version is available for sale online, or in our gift shop.


East Parlor Narrative

In the East Parlor, visitors soar through the landscapes as Thomas Cole, voiced by actor Jamie Bell, speaks directly about his ambitions and his profound relationship with the American landscape.


West Parlor Hidden Stories

Thomas Cole’s private correspondence with his wife Maria Bartow Cole on negotiating with patrons and Cole’s letters with patrons on view in the West Parlor. The letters back and forth sometimes got heated. What is beautiful? And what exactly is a landscape?


House Studio Narrative

Join Thomas Cole on one of his journeys and experience his creative process during an 1837 trip to the Adirondacks that resulted in his classic American sublime painting View of Schroon Mountain, Essex County, NY, After a Storm.


Sitting Room Voice Narratives

In the Sitting Room, dive in to Thomas Cole’s internal struggles and ambitions for his art through his later writings, where he seems to question and speculate on how art can change how people approach the world, and can contribute to an improved world.


“We traveled slowly, all night.”

An 1836 account of what it was like to travel to and from the historic property in the words of Sarah Cole (1805-1857), the artist who was also Thomas Cole’s sister.


“I never saw so many different [trees]”

In this letter to her sisters, Maria Bartow Cole (1813-1884) describes the trip she took with her husband, Thomas Cole, and the Durands to Schroon Lake in June 1837.


TCNHS Reports

Historic Structures Report

The 2019 Historic Structure Report on the 1815 Main House, prepared  by John G. Waite Associates, Architects, with support from the National Park Service.

Report Appendices

Life at Cedar Grove

The Life at Cedar Grove research report was prepared by independent researcher Maureen Hart Hennessey for the Thomas Cole National Historic Site Interpretive Planning Project, with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


Cultural Landscape Report

The Cultural Landscape Report was prepared by Heritage Partners and Robert M. Toole.

Special appreciation to Raymond Beecher, the preservation angel who saved this National Historic Site, and whose research on aspects of the Cedar Grove story, as cited in the footnotes of this report, enriched this study.



Learn more about the people who lived and worked at the historic property during Thomas Cole’s residency (1836-1848) as known through census records, letters, or oral history,

Meg DiStefanoPrimary Sources