Eric Sloane’s Diary of An Early American Boy Noah Blake: 1805 Part IV In Our Series

June 30, 2017 |  by  |  Comments Off on Eric Sloane’s Diary of An Early American Boy Noah Blake: 1805 Part IV In Our Series

Here is Part IV in our series exploring Eric Sloane’s Diary of An Early American Boy.  In Part IV, Edith and I examine Sloane’s question:  Are tools art?

Eric Sloane’s Diary of An Early American Boy Noah Blake:1805 Part V of Our Series

June 30, 2017 |  by  |  Comments Off on Eric Sloane’s Diary of An Early American Boy Noah Blake:1805 Part V of Our Series

Here is the latest installment in our series of videos following Eric Sloane’s Diary of An Early American Boy.  In this video, Edith and I show how to make ink from berries, just like Noah did c. 1805.  We hope you have as much fun watching this video as we had making it!

Eric Sloane’s Diary of An Early American Boy: How to make Noah Blake’s Quill Pen

May 18, 2017 |  by  |  Comments Off on Eric Sloane’s Diary of An Early American Boy: How to make Noah Blake’s Quill Pen

Here is part three in our video series that examines Eric Sloane’s Diary of An Early American Boy Noah Blake:  1805.  In this video, Edith and I show how to make your very own quill pen following Eric’s directional drawings from the book:

Eric Sloane and Diary of An Early American Boy

May 18, 2017 |  by  |  Comments Off on Eric Sloane and Diary of An Early American Boy

Eric Sloane’s Diary of an Early American Boy

 It will come as no surprise to those of you who know us that we find nearly every work, literary and artistic, of Eric Sloane’s inspirational.  Eric Sloane, N.A. (1905-1985) was an incredibly talented artist and author who chronicled much of early American life and culture. His personal journey to becoming one of the world’s most successful artists is fascinating.

One of the books Eric wrote that we find particularly interesting is Eric Sloane’s Diary of An Early American Boy, which chronicles part of the year in the life of one young Noah Blake.  Noah had written a diary in the year 1805, a diary Eric found more than 150 years later and turned it in to this classic book for young adults.  You can read about Eric Sloane, the book, and the Noah Blake cabin here.  Edith and I created a website devoted to the book and the cabin, which was re-created on the grounds of the Eric Sloane Museum by Eric himself in the early 1970s.  Our goal is to explain thoroughly how the book can and should be used by students to learn American history, mathematics, physics, art, social studies, geometry, and much more.

Our current effort related to this project is the production of a series of videos to introduce the book and show viewers how to make a diary and a quill pen like the ones Noah used in Diary of An Early American Boy.  To date, we have created the introductory video:

and the instructional video for creating an replica of an early American diary:

Like all of our projects, we’re having a great time learning some new skills we never knew we were going to need (like video editing and voiceovers!).  You can follow us on our journey of exploration of Eric Sloane’s Diary of An Early American Boy through

Edith’s take:  Other than an artist and author, Eric Sloan was an inspirer, perhaps not to all, especially those who are not educated in the wonderful works of Eric Sloan. Part of the reason he is an inspirer [to me anyway] is his dedication to learning all about life in the early American days. He could tell you just about anything about the clouds, sky or [of course] early America. You don’t have many people who have/ are researching about early America. And once you stop and think about it, it is really very cool and must have took some serious dedication.

Eric Sloane and the Noah Blake Cabin

May 22, 2015 |  by  |  No Comments

Eric Sloane’s vision of how Noah Blake and his family lived.  Diary of An Early American Boy:  Noah Blake 1805 introduced many to Eric’s writing and illustrations.

blake cabin 2 blake outhouse

A Musing on Bells, thanks to Eric Sloane

May 5, 2015 |  by  |  No Comments

I recall reading one of Eric Sloane’s books on early American life a passage concerning bells that were placed on harnesses, especially in winter time.  The bells were used as a signal to let others know that a horse drawn vehicle was approaching.  Presumably, this was done to avoid accidents.  Early American lore also posits that one of the roots of the adage “I’ll be there with bells on” grew from the idea that if a driver had difficulty on a journey and required help from a fellow traveler, that driver was expected to present his harness bell strap as a “thank you” to the one who offered assistance.  If, then, someone declares “I’ll be there with bells on”, he or she means to suggest that they will reach their destination quickly because the journey will be without incident.

Eric Sloane tells of sleigh bells placed on sleighs for the purpose of signaling the approach of winter travelers.  I can speak from experience that driving a sleigh without bells is dangerous.  Sloane (as well as my experiences) tells me that sleighs traveling across snow make little noise – noise that is further suppressed by the winer landscape, not to mention the hats and scarves worn by others out in the winter weather.  Winter nights could be an especially dangerous time.

Eric Sloane also wrote the neighbors could tell one another from the sound of their sleigh bells.  Bells could be purchased by the piece and in various quantities and sizes.  Farmers could piece together a custom array of bells that would make a distinctive sound – a personalized horn, if you will.  It is wonderful to think of an early American family, gathered around the hearth on a winter’s night, listening to the sound of “Farmer Jones” – or is that Brother Abraham? – gliding by on the family cutter.

I have been reading a fascinating book entitled The Yankee Peddlers of Early America, by J.R. Dolan (1964, Bramhall House, New York).  A contemporary of Eric Sloane, Dolan must have shared very similar interests.  A passage concerning the peddling of brass bells (page 151), caught my attention and reminded me of Eric Sloane’s writings on the subject of sleigh bells:

“Another item of brass that was sold almost exclusively by the peddler of the nineteenth century was the cowbell.  In these days, when a farmer’s pasture is always securely enclosed with wire fencing, a bell attached to the cow is not usually necessary.  But in the nineteenth century nearly every cow had to have a bell if she was to be located readily and driven in from the pasture.  However the making of cowbells here never reached the point it did in Switzerland, where in certain dairy districts each family developed a cowbell with a distinctive sound that enabled the owner to distinguish his cows from those of his neighbors by the sound of the bell.  The bells themselves were sometimes engraved or embossed with a distinguishing mark and since they are virtually indestructible they have become treasured family heirlooms.”

A connection, perhaps, between the early American custom of building custom sleigh bells for a distinctive sound and a similar Swiss practice of locating cows?

Eric Sloane’s Personalized Sketches in Books

March 12, 2014 |  by  |  No Comments

          Eric Sloane was more than willing to sign and inscribe his books for many admirers. Here is a charming example that deviates some from the usual type of Eric Sloane drawing and inscription. The inscription is clearly more personal and the drawing was likely rendered for Stella, who must have enjoyed reading on the beach.

House of Books in Kent, Ct

October 2, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

Our thanks to Robin Dill-Herde, owner of Kent’s House of Books, for allowing us to use her display window.  Friends board member Jeffrey Bischoff did an outstanding job creating an inviting and informative window using a number of books by Eric Sloane.  It looks fantastic and we are so grateful for Robin’s support of the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum and for Jeffrey’s efforts in creating a great display.

House of Books will be featuring these new old stock hardbound editions of Eric Sloane books for some time.  For additional information, please call House of Books (contact information and hours appear below the photographs).

Interior view of the display window at House of Books


Eighty: An American Souvenir

August 7, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

Eighty, Eric Sloane’s last book, is available in two different editions. The text, illustrations and paintings are essentially the same in each. There are, however, two important distinctions between the two editions. One edition is a beautifully bound hardcover edition that is made to slide into a hard slipcase. These were limited to 350 copies that were to be numbered and signed by Eric, and an additional 26 copies for private distribution, lettered A-Z. Those who purchase only the slipcover version feeling that this is the more “valuable” of the two copies to own should consider purchasing the other hardcover “standard” edition of Eighty for the dust jacket alone. It features, in my opinion, one of Sloane’s paintings that truly straddles the line between reality and abstraction.

Sloane literally ran to a warehouse to pick up a case of (slipcover edition) books for the Eighty show at Hammer Galleries in New York. The bulk of the shipment of books was to be ready for the show, but production delays made that impossible. At any rate, Sloane brought a case of books to the show, signed them all and gave them away to friends and family. The number of books actually signed is in dispute – I have heard estimates from 7 – 50. Eighty was a heavy book and was likely packed into cartons weighing less than 50 lbs., so my estimate is closer to the 25 copy range than the 50. Additionally, it would make sense that the books lettered A-Z would be packaged together, making a case of 26. He was able to sign some (I have heard estimates as low as 7 copies) or all of the books for private distribution, but none of the books that were numbered 1 to 350. It would be an interesting piece of investigative work to determine what happened to all 26 of the privately distributed copies. I have first hand knowledge that 1 signed copy went to Reverend Schuler of “Crystal Cathedral” fame and 1 is owned by Joan Martin (?), the woman who was curator of the Sloane-Stanley Museum at the time. The remaining copies numbered 1-350 were left unsigned and a piece of onion skin paper was inserted that read:

“Due to the untimely death of Eric Sloane, EIGHTY: An American Souvenir, was regrettably left unsigned. This publication, the last of his over forty books, will remain as a legacy to his place in the world of American arts and letters.”

A place was left for hand numbering and a signature by his widow, Mimi H. Sloane.

Major Books by Eric Sloane

August 7, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

Books by Eric Sloane*


  • Clouds, Air and Wind
  • Camouflage Simplified
  • Gremlin Americanus
  • Your Body In Flight
  • Skies and the Artist
  • Eric Sloane’s Weather Book
  • American Barns and Covered Bridges
  • Eric Sloane’s Almanac and Weather Forecaster
  • Our Vanishing Landscape
  • Book of Storms
  • American Yesterday
  • The Seasons of America Past
  • Return To Taos
  • Look at the Sky
  • Diary of an Early American Boy
  • Folklore of American Weather
  • ABC Book of Early Americana
  • A Museum of Early American Tools
  • The Little Book of Bells
  • A Reverence for Wood
  • The Sound of Bells
  • An Age of Barns
  • The Cracker Barrel
  • Mister Daniels and the Grange
  • Don’t
  • The Second Barrel
  • Look at the Sky…And Tell The Weather
  • I Remember America
  • The Little Red Schoolhouse
  • Do
  • The Spirits of ’76
  • Recollections in Black and White
  • For Spacious Skies
  • Legacy
  • Return to Taos: A Twice Told Tale
  • Once Upon A Time, The Way America Was
  • Eighty: An American Souvenir

*This list includes those titles in which Eric Sloane was the principle author. It does not include other books Eric Sloane contributed to, the multitude of articles he wrote over his career or “compilation titles” that grouped previous books into one title for a subsequent printing.