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S. R. Stoddard | 1890 Tourist Map Of Lake Champlain


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One of the first tourist maps of Lake Champlain.

Stoddard, Seneca Ray (May 13, 1844-1917)

Seneca Ray Stoddard was an American landscape photographer known for his images of New York's Adirondack Mountains. He was also a naturalist, a writer, a poet, an artist, and a cartographer. His writings and photographs helped to popularize the Adirondacks as vacation destination in the late 19th century. Stoddard was born at Wilton, in Saratoga County, New York, May 13, 1844. Largely self-taught, he left home at 16 to paint advertising and decorative scenes in and on railroad cars. Around 20 Stoddard discovered a passion for photography. His work initially focused on his home town of Glens Falls but quickly expanded to cover much of the Adirondack region. In 1873 he published guides to Saratoga Springs and Lake George – which he updated and revised each of the subsequent five years. In 1878 the guide was expanded to Lake George and Lake Champlain. His best known work is the 1873 guidebook, The Adirondacks: Illustrated, revised and reprinted through 1914. In 1874 he issued the first tourist map of the Adirondacks. This was followed by an 1878 topographical survey of the Adirondacks. In 1882 Stoddard invented "a camera attachment for use in dry-plate photography and to perfect the -magnesium flash- for taking night photographs." In early 1892, he was invited to give an illustrated lecture to the New York State Legislature that was influential in the creation of the Adirondack Park. In addition to his work in New York, Stoddard traveled extensively. His travels took him to Alaska in 1892, Florida and Cuba in 1894, and later he toured the American west and southwest. In 1895, he traveled to Bermuda, the Holy Land, Italy, Switzerland, and France. In 1897, he went to England and the Orkney, Shetland and Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Germany and Russia. His trips became the basis for illustrated lecture tours, and two photographic travel books: The Cruise of the Friesland and The Midnight Sun. In 1906, he started Stoddard's Northern Monthly, a short-lived magazine that featured articles on the Adirondacks, fiction and foreign travel. Stoddard died at his home in Glens Falls, New York, April 26, 1917, and is interred in Pineview Cemetery. Today he photography is housed at the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls, and the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, New York.