Melton prior Institut


Linton- Life in the Collections

Alexander Roob

1) III The North American Years (1866-1897)

“In 1866 I had little occupation in England, and thought the opportunity good to see the new country, with no fixed intention of remaining. So in November of that year I crossed the ocean to New York, with nothing before me except a commission to write some letters of my American impressions for the Manchester Examiner, and with a few introductions from Dr. Wilkinson, Miss Cushman, my old friend Wehnert, and Mazzini. (...) Wehnert's letter took me to Dr. Rimmer, the master of the School of Design at the Cooper Institute. This brought me to acquaintance with Mr. Cooper, the philanthropic and venerable founder of the Institute, and with his son-in-law, Mr. Abram S. Hewitt, whose goodness I gratefully remember. They induced me to undertake for a time the teaching of the Wood Engraving Class at the Institute. Thought kindly of by the men of my profession, I had a supper given me by the Society of Wood Engravers, and was almost immediately taken hold of by Frank Leslie to work for his Illustrated News, and afterwards engaged by him to conduct the pictorial portion.”

In the spring of 1870, four years after having emigrated to America, Linton left New York and moved to a farmhouse called The Curtis Place, which he renamed Appledore, in the village of Hamden outside New Haven/Connecticut. Here he established his second private press with the proceeds from the Brantwood sale, more than twenty years before William Morris started to promote the wave of auteur presses. “He was as independent and cantankerous as ever. His poems were often diatribes against politicians or denunciations of current American events. In the Sioux wars in the mid 1870s, Linton’s sympathies were with the Indians: `God send the Indian luck! / Success to the buck! / May his scalps be many and quick! / Guard his war, O Lord! through the thick / Of his foes! Give him luck!´“ (F.B. Smith) In 1871 he saw a chance to realise his vision of a radical democratic republic in the Wild West. He became an agent of Edmund Davis, a friendly mining financier with socialist interests, and endeavoured “to procure a purchaser for a hundred thousand acres of land in Kentucky, (...) in the Cumberland Mountains, where some day may be a great central city. With an artist friend and a young engineer, I went there to report, especially on the coal, and spent a week or more prospecting the land, camping out where we could. I was led to undertake the agency for Davis from being baulked in a scheme for bringing out an English colony (which I hoped to make a republican nucleus) to Montana, - baulked by the failure of Jay Cooke and consequent deferral of the North Pacific Railroad.” (Memories)