- EXHIBITION OVERVIEW
- OBJECT LIST
The charming landscape which I saw this morning, is indubitably made up of some twenty or
thirty farms. Miller owns this field, Locke that, and Manning the woodland beyond. But none of
them owns the landscape. There is a property in the horizon which no man has but he whose eye
can integrate all the parts, that is, the poet. This is the best part of these men's farms, yet to this
their land-deeds give them no title.
Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Although it is the smallest region
featured in Language of the Land, the Northeast has deep literary roots, reaching
back to New England's seventeenth-century Puritan writers. Many of America's best-known
authors have come from the region and have celebrated its immense geographic and cultural
variety and great natural beauty. Within a short distance of each other lie Vermont and New
Hampshire's mountains, Pennsylvania's rolling hills, New York's lakes, ponds and forests,
Massachusetts's salt marshes and sand dunes, and Maine's rocky coastlines, as well as the
important urban centers of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington. All have produced
major literary voices.
Also connected with the region are unforgettable characters: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's
Iroquois warrior Hiawatha, based on a legendary Native American hero; Herman Melville's
Captain Ahab, relentlessly pursuing vengeance on the Great White Whale who injured him; and
E.B. White's spider Charlotte and pig Wilbur, whose adventures in rural Vermont have delighted
several generations of children.
Franconia Notch Village, New Hampshire
Prints & Photographs Division (13)
My route went north in Vermont and then east in New Hampshire in the White Mountains. . . . The
villages are the prettiest . . . in the whole nation, neat and white-painted and . . . unchanged for a hundred
years except for traffic and paved streets.
John Steinbeck, Travels With Charley
Delaware Water Gap from New Jersey
Detroit: Detroit Publishing Company, ca. 1900
Prints & Photographs Division (14)
One [tour] was labelled "The Scenic Route," and showed a broad black line extending from New
York via the Water Gap, Stroudsburg, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Binghamton, . . . Buffalo, and
Niagara Falls. This interested me. . . . Visions of green hills, deep valleys, winding rivers, glistering
cataracts and the like leaped before my eyes.
Theodore Dreiser, Hoosier Holiday
The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
Ken Riley, Illustrator
Cleveland: Harris-Intertype, 1963
Geography & Map Division (162)
He [Natty Bumppo or Hawkeye] wore a hunting shirt of forest green, fringed with faded yellow,
and a summer cap of skins which had been shorn of their fur. He also bore a knife in a girdle of
wampum. . . . His moccasins were ornamented after the gay fashion of the natives, while the only part
of his underdress which appeared below the hunting frock was a pair of buckskin leggings that
laced at the sides. . . . A pouch and horn completed his personal accouterments, though a rifle of great
length leaned against a neighboring sapling. . . . His countenance . . . was charged with an expression of
James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans
The Voyage of the Pequod from the Book Moby Dick by Herman
Everett Henry, Illustrator
Cleveland: Harris-Seybold, 1956
Geography & Map Division (17)
It was Moby Dick that dismasted me; Moby Dick that brought me to this dead stump I stand on
now...it was that accursed white whale that razed . . . . me and I'll chase him around Good Hope, and
round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition's flames before I give
Captain Ahab in Herman Melville, Moby Dick
Boats at Nantucket Island, Massachusetts
Prints & Photographs Division (19)
Nantucket! Take out your maps and look at it! See what a real corner of the world it occupies;
how it stands there, away off shore, more lonely than the Eddystone lighthouse. Look at it a
mere hillock, and elbow of sand; all beach, without a background. There is more sand there than
you would use in twenty years as a substitute for blotting paper.
Herman Melville, Moby Dick
Literary Map of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English, 1965
Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English
Geography & Map Division (20)
The quick dim doublets of sound like butterflies winged toward us close to the earth, skimming
the feathery crust rather than risking a plunge upward into the steep smooth dome that capped a
space of Pennsylvania a hundred miles wide. From the spot where the lower road led off from
the upper we could see on a clear day to the first blue beginnings of the Alleghenies.
John Updike, The Centaur
A Literary Map of New Jersey
Moorestown: Moorestown Women's Club, 1927
Geography & Map Division (21)
Paterson lies on the valley under the Passaic Falls
its spent waters forming the outline of his back.
He lies on his right side, head near the thunder of the water filling his dreams!
William Carlos Williams, Paterson
Ruth Rhoads Lepper, Mapmaker
Maine Council of Teachers of English, 1977
Copyright 1981, Maine Council for English Language Arts. Used by permission
Geography & Map Division (22)
On the coast of Maine, where many green islands and salt inlets fringe the deep-cut shoreline
stood a small house facing the morning light. All the weather-beaten houses of that region face
the sea apprehensively, like the women who live in them.
Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs
The Literary Map of New York
Linda Ayriss, Illustrator
Los Angeles: Aaron Blake, 1988
Courtesy of Molly Maguire and Aaron Silverman
Geography & Map Division (23)
Over the great bridge, with the sunlight through the girders making a constant flicker upon the
moving cars, with the city rising up across the river in white heaps and sugar lumps all built with
a wish out of non-olfactory money. The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city
seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Back of 340 East 63rd Street, New York
Sheldon Dick, Photographer
Prints & Photographs Division (24)
So we drove along, between the green of the park and the stony lifeless
elegance of hotels and apartment buildings, toward the vivid, killing
streets of our childhood. These streets hadn't changed, though housing
projects jutted up out of them now like rocks in the middle of a boiling
sea. . . . boys exactly like the boys we once had been found themselves
smothering in these houses, came down into the streets for light and air,
and found themselves encircled by disaster. Some escaped the trap, most
didn't. Those who got out always left something of themselves behind. . . .
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues
Northeast View from the Empire State Building
William France, Photographer
Prints & Photographs Division (25)
But, ah! Manhattan's sights and sounds, her smells,
Her crowds, her throbbing voice, the thrill that comes
From being of her a part, her subtle spells,
Her shimmering towers, her avenues, her slums--
James Weldon Johnson, "My City"
Across the Common, Boston
Detroit: Detroit Publishing Company, ca. 1906
Prints & Photographs Division (26)
Boston State-House is the hub of the solar system. You couldn't pry that
out of a Boston man if you had the tire of all creation straightened out for
Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table
The Presidential range of the White Mountains
Marion Post Wolcott, Photographer
Prints & Photographs Division (27)
If I must choose which I would elevate
The people or the already lofty mountains.
I'd elevate the already lofty mountains.
The only fault I find with old New Hampshire
Is that her mountains aren't quite high enough.
Robert Frost, "New Hampshire"
Thoreau's Cove, Walden, Concord, Massachusetts
Detroit: Detroit Publishing Company, ca. 1900
Prints & Photographs Division (28)
Whenever I looked out on the pond it impressed me like a tarn high up on
the side of a mountain, its bottom far above the surface of other lakes,
and, as the sun arose, I saw it throwing off its nightly clothing of mist,
and here and there, by degree, its soft ripples or its smooth reflecting
surface was revealed while the mists, like ghosts, were stealthily
withdrawing in every direction into the woods, as at the breaking up of
some nocturnal conventicle.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden
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Library of Congress