Charles Lanman

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This article is about the librarian and explorer. For the Harvard Sanskrit scholar, see Charles Rockwell Lanman.
Charles Lanman
Charles Lanman engraved cropped.jpg
Engraving of Charles Lanman by J. K. Campbell, Sr. for Munsell & Co., New York, in the 1890 History of Monroe County, Michigan by Talcott E. Wing
Born (1819-06-14)June 14, 1819
Monroe, Michigan
Died March 4, 1895(1895-03-04) (aged 75)
Georgetown, D.C.
Occupation Librarian, explorer, author, painter, government official
Spouse Adeline Lanman (1826-1914)

Charles Lanman was an author, government official, artist, librarian, and explorer.

Early life and education[edit]

Charles Lanman was born in Monroe, Michigan, on June 14, 1819, the son of Charles James Lanman, and the grandson of United States Senator James Lanman.[1] Lanman's early life included newspaper work as editor of the Monroe Gazette in 1845, associate editor of the Cincinnati Chronicle in 1846, and member of the editorial staff of the New York Express in 1847.[2] He spent 10 years, from 1835 to 1845, at The Hudson River School in New York City, where he met many artists, including Washington Irving. Lanman studied art under Asher B. Durand and at 28 became an elected associate of the National Academy of Design in 1846.


Lanman's career included service as librarian for the U.S. War Department, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the City of Washington Library; head of the returns office in the U.S. Interior Department; private secretary to Senator Daniel Webster; American secretary to the Japanese legation; and assistant assessor for the District of Columbia.

Literary and artistic works[edit]

Charles Lanman collected biographies of former and sitting Members of Congress for his Dictionary of the United States Congress, published by J. B. Lippincott & Co. in 1859. This eventually became the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Lanman's published writings include several collections of essays and books, including two biographies, the "Private Life of Daniel Webster" (New York and London, 1852) and "Life of William Woodbridge" (Washington, 1867). Written accounts of his own travels and extensive explorations in the United States included "Essays for Summer Hours" (Boston, 1842), "Letters from a Landscape-Painter" (1845), "A Summer in the Wilderness, Embracing a Canoe Voyage Up the Mississippi and Around Lake Superior" (New York, 1847) ,[3] "A Tour of the River Saguenay" (Philadelphia and London, 1848), "Letters from the Alleghany Mountains " (New York, 1849), "Haw-ho-noo, or Records of a Tourist" (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo 1850)" ,[4] "Adventures in the Wilds of the United States and British American Provinces" (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1856, London, 1859) [5] and "Red Book of Michigan: A Civil, Military and Biographical History" Detroit, 1871)".[6] Additional works included "Resources of America" compiled for the Japanese government (Washington, 1872), " The Japanese in America" (New York and London, 1872), "Biographical Annals of the Civil Government of the United States" (Washington, 1876; 2d ed., revised, New York, 1887), "Life of Octavius Perinehief " (Washington, 1879), "Curious Characters and Pleasant Places" (Edinburgh, 1881), " Leading Men of Japan " (Boston, 1883), "Farthest North " (New York. 1885), and "Haphazard Personalities" (Boston, 1886). He has edited "The Prison Life of Alfred Ely" (New York, 1862), and the "Sermons" of Reg. Octavius Perinchief (2 vols., Washington, 1879). He also produced scientific articles such as "The Salmonidae of Eastern Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia".[7]

Lanman frequently exhibited paintings and sketches from nature in oil. He made “sketching trips” to every state east of the Rockies. Many of those early sketches were published in The Illustrated London News and in various American magazines. Among his pictures are "Brookside and Homestead," "Home in the Woods" (1881), and "Frontier Home" (1884). He was called by Washington Irving "the picturesque explorer of the United States".[8]

Charles Lanman died at Georgetown, D.C., on March 4, 1895

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stone, Don Charles (1968). The Lanman Family - The Descendants of Samuel Landman of Boston, Massachusetts, 1687. Don Charles Stone, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. pp. 21–25. 
  2. ^ "Charles Lanman Collection, 1829-1869; bulk 1855-1869 (finding aid)". New York State Library Website. New York State Library. Retrieved 11 May 2016. 
  3. ^ Charles Lanman (1847). A Summer in the Wilderness, Embracing a Canoe Voyage Up the Mississippi and Around Lake Superior. New York, Philadelphia: D. Appleton & company, G. S. Appleton. 
  4. ^ Charles Lanman (1850). Haw-ho-noo, or, Records of a tourist. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo. p. 291. 
  5. ^ Charles Lanman. Illustrated by the author and Oscar Bessau ... with an appendix by Lieut. Campbell Hardy. (1856). Adventures in the Wilds of the United States and British American Provinces. Philadelphia: A J. W. Moore. 
  6. ^ Charles Lanman (1871). Red Book of Michigan: A Civil, Military and Biographical History. Detroit, Washington: E. B. Smith & company, Philp & Solomons. p. 291. 
  7. ^ Charles Lanman (1874). "VIII. The Salmonidae of Eastern Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia". In Spencer F. Baird. Report of the Commissioner for 1872 and 1873, United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. pp. Appendix B, pages 219–225. Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  8. ^ James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos, ed. (1887–1889). Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography. Six Volumes. (vol. 3). New York: D. Appleton and Company. pp. 613–614. 
  • McNeilly, Dorothy (Summer 1984). "Charles Lanman" (PDF). The American Fly Fisher. Manchester, VT: American Museum of Fly Fishing. 11 (3): 15–19. Retrieved 2014-11-19. 
  • "A Checklist of Works by Charles Lanman" (PDF). The American Fly Fisher. Manchester, VT: American Museum of Fly Fishing. 11 (4): 19–21. Fall 1984. Retrieved 2014-11-19. 


External links[edit]

Media related to Charles Lanman at Wikimedia Commons