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The House That Crane Built : Walter Crane, The House That Jack Built, and the Artist’s Early Book Production

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Francesca Tancini



This is the final published version of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Houghton Library, Harvard University, 2016.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


With its 2,300 original drawings and sketches, 200 letters, 300 printed copies of books and albums (some annotated by Crane himself and many once owned by Crane and his family), 150 manuscript poems, eighty sketchbooks, and twenty-two so-called “black books” (manuscript story books and albums, with a total of more than 500 pages of original illustration), the Houghton Library’s vast collection holds newly-discovered or long forgotten original materials that authoritatively solve many lingering attribution and chronology riddles in Crane studies. New discoveries or identifications include printed items not listed so far in any bibliography; paintings hitherto thought to be lost; unknown preparatory drawings for finished paintings; printed titles whose dates and chronologies are inaccurately preserved in Crane scholarship; notes and manuscripts toward an autobiography, theoretical books, or illustrated works; drafted projects for books never published; as well as a substantial cache of letters between Crane and his publishers, printers, writers, or patrons. Some of these discoveries will help to transform Crane studies. From a thousand possible subjects prompted by sustained study of this collection, I focus in this article on a series of notes and original drawings for Crane’s early toy book The House That Jack Built, examining in particular the problematic identity of its publisher, the chronology of publication, and the intended number of illustrations to accompany it.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tancini F

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Harvard Library Bulletin

Year: 2016

Volume: 26

Issue: 1-2

Pages: 171-204

Print publication date: 01/08/2016

Acceptance date: 01/06/2015

Date deposited: 29/11/2018

ISSN (print): 0017-8136

Publisher: Houghton Library, Harvard University


Notes: Special double issue, devoted to presenting Harvard’s collection and celebrating Crane’s achievements, includes the exhibition catalog, a history of the Caroline Miller Parker Collection of the Work of Walter Crane, and an account of Crane’s early illustrated publications.


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