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1815-1850: The Arts: Chronology

1815-1850: The Arts: Chronology




  • Literature Hugh H. Brackenridge, Modern Chivalry; Philip Freneau, A Collection of Poems on American Affairs and a Variety of Other Subjects; Lydia H. Sigourney, Moral Pieces in Prose and Verse; G. C. Verplanck, A Fable for Statements and Politicians.
  • Music Oliver Shaw, The Providence Selection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes; Samuel Worcester, Christian Psalmody.
  • The North American Review is founded.


  • Literature Francis W. Gilmer, Sketches of American Orators; James Ogilvie, Philosophical Essays; George Tucker, Letters from Virginia; Alexander Wilson, Poems: Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect; Samuel Woodworth, The Champion of Freedom.
  • Music Ananias Davisson, Kentucky harmony; George K. Jackson, A Choice Collection of Chants; William Whiteley, The Instrumental Preceptor.
  • Jan. Thomas Jefferson recommends that the Italian scuptor Antonio Canova be commissioned to make a life-size statue of George Washington.


  • Literature Thomas Branagan, The Pleasures of Contemplation; Amasa Delano, Narrative of Voyages and Travels Comprising Three Voyages Round the World; James K. Paulding, Letters from the South.
  • Music Samuel Dyer, New Selections of Scared Music; Wheeler Gillet, The Virginia Sacred Minstrel; Thomas Hastings, The Musical reader; Enoch Mudge, The American Camp Meeting Hymn Book.
  • William Cullen Bryants poem Thanatopsis is published anonymously in the North American Review.


  • Literature William Cullen Bryant, To a Waterfowl; Hannah M. Crocker, Observations on the Rights of Women; Edwin C. Holland, Corsair; James K. Paulding, The Backwoodsman; John Howard Payne, Brutus; or, the Fall of Tarquin: An Historical Tragedy.
  • Music James M. Boyd, The Virginia Sacred Musical Repository; Daniel Read, The New Haven Collection of Sacred Music.
  • Architect Benjamin Latrobe completes the Baltimore Cathedral.


  • Literature James N. Barker, She Would Be a Solidier; or, The Plains of Chippewa; Washington Irving, The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon; James K. Paulding, Salmagundi, Second Series; Richard H. Wilde, The Lament of the Captive.
  • Music Ezekiel Goodale, Instrumental Director; Andrew Law, The Harmonic Companion; Oliver Shaw, Melodia Sacra.


  • Literature Maria Brooks, Judith, Esther and Other Poems; James Fenimore Cooper, Precaution; Samuel Judah, The Mountain Torrent; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Battle of Lovewellss Pond; William Tudor, Letters on the Eastern States.
  • Music Allen D. Carden, The Missouri Harmony; Cary Harris, Western Harmony for Singers.


  • Literature William Cullen Bryant, The Ages and Other Poems; James Fenimore Cooper, The Spy; Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography; James Percival, Poems.
  • Music James P. Carrell, Songs of Zion; Ananias Davisson, An Introduction to Sacred Music; Angus Humphraville, Missouri Lays and Other Western Ditties.


  • Literature Washington Irving, Bracebridge Hall; James Lawson, Ontwa, the Son of the Forest; Clement C. Moore, Twas the Night before Christmas; Mordecai M. Noah, The Grecian Captive; Catharine M. Sedgwick, A New England Tale; john Taylor, Tyranny Unmasked.
  • Music Jacob Franch, Harmony of Harmony; Thomas Hastings, Dissertation on Musical Taste; Peter Spencer, African Union Hymn Book.


  • Literature James Fenimore Cooper, The Pioneers; James McHenry, The Spectre of the Forst; James K. Paulding, Koningsmarke, the Long Finne; John Howard Payne, AliPascha.
  • Music Nathaniel Gould, Social Harmony.


  • Literature Lydia Maria Child, Hobomok; A Tale of Early Times; Washington Irving, Tales of a Traveller; catharine M. Sedgwick, Redwood; Royall Tyler, The Chestnut Tree.
  • Music Asahel Nettleton, Village Hymns for Social Worship.
  • Architect William Strickland designs the Second Bank of the United States.


  • Literature John G. Brainard, Occasional Pieces of Poetry; Lydia Maria Child, The Rables; or, Boston before the Revolution; Nicholas Hentz, Tadeuskund, the Last King of the Lenape; William Leggett, Leisure Hours at Sea; William Gilmore Simms, Poems.
  • Music William Moore, Columbian Harmony.
  • The Manuel Garcia family appears in The Barber of Seville and Don Giovanni in New York City, the first performances of Italian opera in the United States.


  • Literature James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohians; Frederic S. Hill, The Harvest Festival and Other Poems; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Poems; George P. Morris, Brier Cliff; James K. Paulding, The Merry Tales of the Three Wise Men of Gotham.
  • Music Hymns of the Protestant Episcopal church of the United States; Lowell Manson, Address on the Church Music; Samuel Woodworth, Melodies, Duets, Trios, Songs and Ballads.
  • Samuel F. B. Morse and fellow artists found New Yorks National Academy of Design.


  • Literature James Fennimore Cooper, The Prairie; Richard Henry Dana Sr., The Buccaneer and Other Poems; Edgar Allan Poe, Tamerlane and Other Poems; Sarah Wood, Tales of the Night.
  • Music Thomas Hastings, The Juvenile Psalmody.
  • Sales of Catharine M. Sedgwicks novel Hope Leslie make her the first American woman to earn a living from her writing.


  • Literature Robert M. Bird, The City Looking Glass; Timothy Flint, The Life and Adventures of Arthur Cleanings; National Hawthorne, Fanshawe; Grenville Mellen, Sad Tales and Glad Tales; Margaret B. Smith, What Is Gentility?
  • The Charleston journal The Southern Review begins publication.
  • Minstrel performer Thomas D. Rice hears the song Jump Jim Crow and turns it into a minstrel standard.


  • Literature James Fennimore Cooper, The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish; James A. Jones, Tales of an Indian Camp; Nathaniel Willis, Fugitive Poetry.
  • Music Allen D. Carden, United States Harmony; Orange Scott, New and Improved Camp-Meeting Hymn Book.
  • American actor Edwin Forrest holds a playwriting contest, won by John Augustus Stone for his Metamora; or, The Last of the Wampanoags, a tale of an Indian warrior.


  • Literature James Fennimore Cooper, The Water Witch; William Dunlap, A Trip to Niagara; or, Travelers in America; James K. Paulding, The Loin of the West; Catharine M. Sedgwick, Clarence; William J. Snelling Tales of the Northwest; or, Sketches of Indian Life.
  • Music Francis Greenwood, A Collection of Psalms and Hymns for Sacred Worship; Samuel P. Taylor, Practical School for the Organ.
  • Marry Had a Little Lamb appears in poet and literary editor Sarah Josepha Hales Poems for Our Children.


  • Literature Delia S. Bacon, Tales of the Puritans; Robert M. Bird, The Gladitor; Richard P. Smith, Caius Marius; John A. Stone, The Demoniac; or, the Prophets Bride; John Greenleaf Whittier, Legends of New England.
  • Congress revise the federal copyright law but fails to recognize foreign copyrights.
  • James K. Pauldings drama The Lion of the West offers an early theatrical portrayal of the backwoodsman as hero.
  • 4 July America, written by the Reverend Samuel Francis Smith, is sung for the first time in public at the Park Street Church, Boston.


  • Literature William Cullen Bryant, Poems; Lydia Marina Child, An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans; Washington Irving, The Alhambra; John P. Kennedy, Swallow Barn; James K. Paulding, Westward Ho!
  • Music Nathaniel Gould, National Church Harmony; Uriah and Joseph James, The Aeolian Songster; Charles Zeuner, The American Harp.
  • Feb. Congress commissions Horatio Greenough to create a statue of George Washington.


  • Literature Jacob Abbott, The Little Philosopher; Asa Greene, Life and Adventures of Dr. Dodimus Duckworth, A.N.Q.; Grenville Mellen, The Martys Triumph and Other Poems; John Neal, The Down-Easters; John Greenleaf Whittier, Justice and Expediency.
  • Music Joshua Leavitt, Companion to the Christian Lyre; Henry E. Moore, Merrimack Collection of Instrumental and Martial Musick.
  • Mme. Celnart publishes The Gentleman and Ladys Book of Politeness in France and the United States; she is sharply critical of round dancing.


  • Literature William A. Caruthers, The Kentuckian in New York; Caroline Gilman, Recollections of a New England House-Keeper; Susan R. Sedgwick, Allen Prescott; Phillis Wheatley, Memoir and Poems of Phillis Wheatley.
  • Music Lowell Mason, Manual of the Boston Academy of Music; A. Merrill and W.C. Brown, The Wesleyan Harp; William Porter, The Musical Cyclopedia.
  • William Strickland designs the Philadelphia Merchants Exchange.


  • Literature Jacob Abbott, The Little Scholar Learning to Talk; Joseph R. Drake, The Culprit Fay and Other Poems; Charles F. Hoffman, A Winter in the West; Washington Irving, A Tour of the Prairies; Cornelius A. Logan, The Wag of Maine; William Gilmore Simms, The Yemassee.
  • The Southern Literary Messenger begins publication with Edgar Allan Poe as editor; it remains in circulation until 1864.
  • English actress Fanny Kembles Journal of a Residence in America arouses resentment for her criticisms of American society.
  • House designer and builder Minard Lafever publishes The Beauties of Modern Architecture.
  • Lithographer Nathaniel Currier opens his own business in New York City.
  • William Walker Publishes The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, a songbook popular in the South and West.


  • Literature Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature; Richard Hildreth, The Slave; Washington Irving, Astoria; Nathaniel B. Tucker, The Partisan Leader; John Greenleaf Whittier, Mogg Megone.
  • Music John W. Steffy, The Valley Harmonist; Peter Wolle, Moravian Tune Book.
  • Architect Robert Mills designs the United States Treasury and the Patent Office.
  • The drama Pocahontas (1830) is revived at the National Theater in Washington, D.C., at the height of the Indian removal controversy.
  • Oct. Painter Thomas Coles The Course of Empire is exhibited.


  • Literature Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar; Nathaniel Hawthorne, Twice-Told Tales; Washington Irving, The Adventures of Captain Bonneville; Hubbard Winslow, Virtue and Happiness.
  • Music Thomas Hastings, The Manhattan Collection; Thomas Whittemore, Songs of Zion.
  • Edgar Allan Poe Leaves the Southern Literary Messenger.
  • Sarah Josepha Hales Ladies Magazine merges with Louis Godeys Ladys Book to become Godeys Ladys Book, The most influential womens magazine of the era.
  • Stephen Foster composes Susanna.


  • Literature Caroline Gilman, Recollection of a Southern Matron; Eliza B. Lee, Sketches of a New England Village; George P. Morris, The Deserted Bride and Other Poems; Frances S. Osgood, A Wreath of Wild Flowers from New England; Edgar Allan Poe, Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym; William Ware, Aurelian.
  • Music John B. Jackson, Knoxville Harmony; Lowell Mason, The Boston Glee Book; Sylvanus Pond, Union Melodies.
  • The American Art Union opens in New York as the Apollo Gallery.
  • Aug. Ralph Waldo Emerson delivers his Harvard Divinity School Address.


  • Literature Caroline Gilman, Tales and Ballads; Charles Hoffman, Wild Scenes in the Forest and Prairie; Caroline Kirkland, A New HomeWholl Follow?; Henry Wardsworth Longfellow, Voices of the Night; Edgar Allan Poe, Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque; Daniel Thompson, The Green Mountain Boys.
  • Music David Paine, Portland Sacred Music Societys Collection of Church Music.
  • May Paul and Amelie Taglioni stage the first complete American performance of the famous European ballet La Sylphide.


  • Literature Amos B. Alcott, Orphic Sayings; James Fenimore Cooper, The Pathfinder; Richard Henry Dana Jr., Two Years before the Mast; Washington Irving, Oliver Goldsmith; John Pierpont, Airs of Palestine and Other Poems.
  • Daguerreotypist Alexander Wolcott and John Johnson set up the worlds first commercial photographic portrait studio in New York City.
  • Viennese ballerina Fanny Elssler begins a successful two-year tour of the United States.
  • The Dial, the periodical of the Transcendentalist Club, begins publication with Margaret Fuller as editor.


  • Literature Jacob Abbott, The Rollo Code of Morals; Washington Allston, Monaldi; James Fenimore Cooper, The Deerslayer; Richard Henry Dana Jr., The Seamans Friend; James Russell Lowell, A Years Life; Frances S. Osgood, The Poetry of Flowers and Flowers of Poetry.
  • Music William B. Bradbury, The Young Choir; Lowell Mason, Carmina Sacra; Filippo Traetta, Rudiments of Singing.
  • Edgar Allan Poe becomes editor of Grahams Magazine. He holds the position for only a year, but in that time he publishes The Murders in the Rue Morgue, the first American detective story.
  • Dec. Horatio Greenoughs sculpture of George Washington is displayed in the capital rotunda.


  • Literature William Cullen Bryant, The Fountain and Other Poems; Nathaniel Hawthorne, Biographical stories for Children; Edgar Allan Poe, The Masque of the Red Death; Elizabeth O. Smith, The Western Captive; Walt Whitman, Franklin Evans; or The Inebriate.
  • Music Thomas Hastings, Sacred Songs for Family and Social Worship.
  • Charles Dickens visits the United States and publishes American Notes.
  • Landscape and house designer Andrew Jackson Downing publishes Cottage Houses.
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow refuses compensation for his Poems on Slavery, written for the American Anti-Slavery Society.
  • The New York Philharmonic is founded, the first symphony orchestra in the United States.


  • Literature James Fenimore Cooper, Wyandotte; Joseph C. Neal, In Town and About; Nathaniel Willis, Poems of Passion.
  • Music William B. Bradbury, The School Singer; Joshua V. Himes, The Millennial Harp; George Loder, The New York Glee Book.
  • The American Copyright Club is founded with poet and journalist William Cullen Bryant as its president.
  • Hiram Powers completes his sculpture The Greek Slave.
  • Feb. The Virginia Minstrels are features performers in New York City; is the first instance of a minstrel troupe performing an entire show.


  • Literature William Cullen Bryant, The White-Footed Doe and Other Poems; George Lipard, Quaker City; or, The Monks of Monk-Hall; Susan R. Sedgwick, Alida; or, Town and Country; Nathaniel Willis, Pencilling by the Way.
  • Music Lowell Mason, The Vocalist; Samuel Tuckerman, Episcopal Harp.
  • Minister and novelist Henry Ward Beecher delivers a series of lectures to young men.
  • Photographer Mathew Brady sets up his first gallery in New York.
  • The Dial ceases publication.


  • Literature Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave; Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century; Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven and Other Poems; William T. Thompson, Major Joness Chronicles of Pineville.
  • Music William B. Bradbury, Young Melodies Musical Gems for School and Home; Isaac B. Woodbury, The Choral.
  • Margaret Fuller begins work as the literary critic for Horace Greeleys New York Tribune.
  • 26 Mar. Anna Cora Mowatts play Fashion is performed for the first time.


  • Literature Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from an Old Manse; Herman Melville, Typee; William Gilmore Simms, Areytos, or Songs and Ballads of the South; Ann S. Stephens, The Diamond Necklace and Other Tales.
  • Music George F. Root, The Young Ladies Choir; William Walker, Southern and Western Pocket Harmonist.
  • American ballerina Marry Ann Lee dances the first American rendition of Giselle, in Boston.
  • E. P. Christy and the Christy Minstrels open in New York City.


  • Literature William Wells Brown, Narrative of William W. Brown; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline; Herman Melville, Omoo; Anna Cora Mowatt, Armand, the Child of the People; Epes Sargent, Songs of the Sea with Other Poems.
  • Music Jesse B. Aikin, The Juvenile Minstrel; Augustus Fillmore, The Christian Psalmist; Russel Haskell, A Muscial Expositor.
  • Hiram Powers sculpture The Greek Slave is first displayed in the United States; the nude figure of a young girl causes considerable controversy.


  • Literature Oliver Bunce, The Morning of Life; George W. Cutter, Buena Vista and Other Poems; Eliza Leslie, Amelia; or a Young Lady of Vicissitudes; Sarah Anna Lewis, Child of the Sea and Other Poems.
  • Music William Hauser, The Hesperian Harp; W. H. and M. L. Swann, The Harp of Columbia.
  • Actor Frank Chanfrau introduces a working-class hero, Mose the Bowery BHoy, in the play A Glance at New York.
  • African American dancer William Henry Lane, known as Master Juba, performs at Vauxhall Gardens in London.
  • The Germania Musical Society tours the United States and stirs up interest in classical music.
  • Margaret Fuller travels to Italy to serve as the foreign correspondent for the New York Tribune during the Italian revolution.


  • Literature Ralph Waldo Emerson, Representative Men; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Kavanagh; Francis Parkman, The California and Oregan Trail; John Greenleaf Whittier, Margaret Smiths Journals.
  • Music Lazarus J. Jones, The Southern Minstrel.
  • Asher Durand paints Kindred Spirits, a portrait of Thomas Cole and William Cullen Bryant in a Hudson River valley scene.
  • 10 May A riot breaks out at the Astor Place Opera House in New York City between fans of British actor William Charles Macready and American actor Edwin Forrest.
  • 7 Oct. Edger Allan Poe dies under mysterious circumstances.


  • Literature Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter; Herman Melville, White-Jacket; John G. Saxe, Humorous and Satirical Poems; Bayard Taylor, El Dorado; John Greenleaf Whittier, Songs of Labor and Other Poems.
  • Music William B. Bradbury, The Alpine Glee SingerSabbath-School Melodies; Isaac Woodbury, The Dulcimer.
  • House designer Andrew Jackson Downing publishes The Architecture of Country Houses.
  • Mathew Brady and associates publish Gallery of Illustrious Americans, a collection of photographic portraits of eminent Americans for general readership.
  • July Margaret Fuller dies in a shipwreck while returning to the United States.

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