All-cellulose nanocomposites, comprising two different forms of cellulose nanowhiskers dispersed in two different matrix systems, are produced. Acid hydrolysis of both tunicate (T-CNWs) and cotton cellulose (CNWs) is carried out to produce the nanowhiskers. These nanowhiskers are then dispersed in a cellulose matrix material, produced using two dissolution methods; namely lithium chloride/N,N-dimethyl acetamide (LiCl/DMAc) and sodium hydroxide/urea (NaOH/urea). Crystallinity of both nanocomposite systems increases with the addition of nanowhiskers up to a volume fraction of 15 v/v after which a plateau is reached. Stress-transfer mechanisms, between the matrix and the nanowhiskers in both of these nanocomposites are reported. This is achieved by following both the mechanical deformation of the materials, and by following the molecular deformation of both the nanowhiskers and matrix phases using Raman spectroscopy. In order to carry out the latter of these analyses, two spectral peaks are used which correspond to different crystal allomorphs; cellulose-I for the nanowhiskers and cellulose-II for the matrix. It is shown that composites comprising a LiCl/DMAc based matrix perform better than NaOH/urea based systems, the T-CNWs provide better reinforcement than CNWs and that an optimum loading of nanowhiskers (at 15 v/v is required to obtain maximum tensile strength and modulus. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.