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Catharine T. Patterson Collection of Walter Crane

Call Number: GEN MSS 1386

Scope and Contents

The collection contains original sketches, drawings, proof sheets, autograph manuscripts, and autograph letters from and to the British illustrator Walter Crane. Prominent material includes correspondence, drawings, and proofs related to Crane's commission to illustrate A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys, by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Company, 1893), and a group of unpublished illustrated storybooks he created for his children Beatrice, Lionel, and Lancelot. Other correspondents include Crane patrons Ethel Alec-Tweedie and Catharine Lorillard Wolfe, and colleagues such as Elkin Mathews, William Morris, Charles Rowley, and David Croal Thomson. Also present is an autographed portrait photograph of Crane by Elliott & Fry of London, a painted silk fan, embroidered and batik-dyed textiles, and a full-color preparatory drawing of his Vineyard wallpaper pattern. The collection also holds a bookplate designed for Crane by Henry Ospovat (1877-1909).

Series III consists of files holding Catharine T. Patterson's documentation of her collection. They contain correspondence with dealers and institutions, inventories, research notes, and clippings, as well as her writings on Crane and on her collection. Also present is her copy of A Bibliography of First Editions of Books Illustrated by Walter Crane, by Gertrude C. E. Massé (London: The Chelsea Publishing Co., 1923), with her annotations to record her acquisitions of books and related drawings.


  • 1867 - 1957


Language of Materials

In English.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Catharine T. Patterson Collection of Walter Crane is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Catharine T. Patterson, 1956.


Organized into three series: I. Correspondence, 1876-1914. II. Writings and Graphic Material, 1867-1913. III. Catharine T. Patterson Collection Files, 1920-1957.


12.97 Linear Feet (12 boxes + 1 broadside)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The collection contains original sketches, drawings, proof sheets, autograph manuscripts, and autograph letters from and to the English illustrator Walter Crane.

Catharine T. Patterson (1874-1963)

Catharine Tinker Patterson was born in 1874 in Weymouth, Massachusetts, the daughter of the Reverend Anson Phelps Tinker (1844-1886, Yale 1868) and Martha Jane White Tinker (1846-1880). An 1897 graduate of Emerson College of Oratory in Boston, Massachusetts, she taught school in Minnesota and Massachusetts before joining the faculty at Emerson in 1900. From 1906 until 1917 she taught at Hartford Public High School in Hartford, Connecticut, and in 1917 settled in New York City when she married George Lewis Patterson (1869-1942), founder and president of Stanley & Patterson, manufacturers of electrical signal apparatus. After her husband's death, Catharine Patterson returned to Connecticut to live near her brother Chauncey Brewster Tinker (1876-1963, Yale BA 1899, MA 1901, PhD 1902), professor of English at Yale University from 1903 to 1945 and the first keeper of rare books at Yale University Library. She died in Hartford on September 11, 1963, and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Portland, Maine, with her husband and his first wife Alice Carter Patterson (1869-1915).

In an essay published in The Christian Science Monitor on July 26, 1941, Catharine Patterson described a life of collecting that began with the buttons, stones, and seashells she and her brother had saved as children. Their early adult lives took them in different directions, but they developed their passion for Walter Crane's work while traveling together in England where, she wrote, “the spell of the Pre-Raphaelites was upon us. Everything belonging to the Brotherhood beckoned us.” They began by studying the paintings, drawings, furniture, stained glass, and other decorative arts created by Burne-Jones, Millais, and Rossetti, and made a special pilgrimage to Kelmscott House, the home and workshop of William Morris in the London suburb of Hammersmith. Through Morris they discovered the decorative book work of Crane, his friend and follower, in particular that which illustrated the stories the Tinkers had loved so much as children. The siblings set out to acquire books, manuscripts, letters, original drawings, textiles, and other items related to Crane, and to lend selections from their collection to public exhibitions. The earliest known loan was to the Brooklyn Museum in 1923 when “an extensive collection of books and prints and an original drawing by Walter Crane, from the collection of Mrs. George L. Patterson” were shown. A 1939 New York Public Library exhibition described their Crane collection as being “made by [Mrs. George L. Patterson] and her brother, Professor Chauncey Tinker of Yale University, who acquired a large part of it from a son of Walter Crane.” The collection was shown again in 1953 at Princeton University, three years prior to its arrival at the Yale University Library.

Catharine Patterson wrote that she was delighted when she found that the collection, which she and her brother had always intended to donate to Yale, had a counterpart at Harvard University in the Caroline Miller Parker Collection of Works by Walter Crane, formed by Caroline Parker (1874-1922) and given to Harvard in 1928 by her husband Augustin H. Parker. Today the Beinecke Library's Catharine T. Patterson Collection of Walter Crane stands as the third largest collection of Crane material after the Walter Crane Archive at the University of Manchester in England and the Parker Collection at the Houghton Library.

Walter Crane (1845-1915)

Walter Crane (1845-1915), English author and illustrator best known for his work in children's literature. Among the most important illustrators of the nineteenth century, Crane was also a painter, essayist, and decorative artist who created designs for wallpapers, tiles, printed textiles, posters, stained glass, embroideries, and pottery. His formal education consisted of an apprenticeship served with the wood engraver and illustrator W. J. Linton from 1858 to 1862; later he was a founder of The Art-Workers' Guild (1884) and a founder and first president of The Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society (1888).

Processing Information

Prior to 2016, the manuscripts and artwork related to Walter Crane were kept together as one collection and primarily filed under the call number MS Vault Crane. When the material was processed in 2016 it was decided to extract and reassemble the Catharine T. Patterson's Collection of Walter Crane (under call number GEN MSS 1386), and to describe the remaining Crane material—items purchased by the library or received as gifts from other donors—separately as the Walter Crane Collection (under GEN MSS 1418).

This finding aid was produced from Catharine Patterson's inventories, library correspondence files, and a previously existing card set in the library's Manuscripts Catalog. The information drawn from those sources was greatly enhanced through the efforts of the Crane scholar Francesca Tancini, an A. Bartlett Giamatti Fellow at Beinecke Library in 2015, who examined all the Walter Crane material in the library's collection and cataloged the original (non-print) items. Many of her descriptions and narratives form the basis of this finding aid, and the library is enormously grateful for her careful work.

Catharine Patterson's printed collection of more than 200 books by Crane were described separately in the library’s online catalog.

Former call numbers: MS Vault Crane, MS Vault Shelves Crane, and J18 C8512 892Ha, Z8198.4 M37 (LC)
Guide to the Catharine T. Patterson Collection of Walter Crane
by Sandra Markham and Francesca Tancini
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.