Jervis McEntee: The Detailed Correspondent

Journal entry from December 2nd, 1878

Jervis McEntee, an American painter in the mid-nineteenth century, left an enduring legacy with his incredibly detailed journal entries and letters. Through the archives of his handwritten pages, historians have been able to create a vibrant and accurate understanding of what the life of a New York City painter was like during the socially boisterous Gilded Era (Wikipedia). McEntee’s fame in art came from his “preference for the soberer phases of Nature, the gray days of November and its leafless trees” (Archives of American Art). The image below, named ‘A Misty Day, November‘ depicts the essence of soberness found in his works.


This journal entry, dated December 2nd, 1878, discusses the violent rain and wind that accompanies him throughout his daily tasks (Archives of American Art). He is in search of a perfect present for his friend, Bayard Taylor, in the streets of New York City. Not unlike the many people hunting in today’s cold to find the crowning item to wrap for their loved ones this holiday season.


Jessica Campbell Swoyer,

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