New England in Black and White

Elmer Rising

This is the first publication of the collected works of Elmer Rising. It includes reproductions of selected drawings that span a creative era of over 50 years.

In his words and through his works, Rising displays the gifts of a natural storyteller. His eyes are lively behind rimless glasses. Expressions radiate from a face etched by lines as fine as those in his own intricate pen-and-ink drawings.

His work is unique. One reason is his choice of pen and ink as a medium. It is a choice partially influenced by the fact that he is color-blind. But in drawings as detailed as Rising’s, color might actually be a distraction.

For 42 years Rising developed his art in a relatively anonymous position of a technical illustrator at Harvard University. Only after retirement could he pursue subjects of his own choosing, subjects that celebrate both nature and New England.

It is to Rising’s credit that these are not anonymous or secret scenes with origins meant to be locked forever in some private artist’s world. They are drawings and places meant to be shared—time and time again.

Copyright 1985, by Elmer A. Rising,
Published by The Friends of Elmer Rising,
ISBN 0-9614380-0-2,  112 pages, 13" X 17"

Elmer Rising was born in 1906 in Rockland, Maine. After graduating from Rockland High School he attended Higgins Classical Institute and Hebron Academy. He is a graduate of the School of Practical Art in Boston.

After completion of his studies, he accepted a position at Harvard University’s Peabody Museum. His first assignment was to draw the illustrations for Up From the Ape, a book by world-famous anthropologist Dr. Ernest Hooton. Rising continued illustrating archeological and anthropological subjects until 1941 when he transferred to Harvard’s Division of Engineering and Applied Physics to work as a Scientific Illustrator. He retired from Harvard in 1972.

It is for his drawings of New England subjects, however, that Rising has become known. A handful of the early drawings, completed between 1930 and 1961 were photographically reproduced in editions of 100 and casually sold through friends at Harvard. After the death of his wife in 1965, Rising poured all of his extra time and energy into his drawings, creating most of the superb collection that is reproduced here.

Rising has exhibited at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine, the Concord Art Association, and the Reading Art Association. He has won numerous awards for his works. Prints of his works are available at galleries in Rockland and Reading, Massachusetts. Rising resides in Reading.


"Hornet's Nest" - 1970

"The Boot Shop" - 1966

The book is now out of print.
If you would like to obtain a copy,
try visiting:

Elmer Rising Page

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