Seneca Ray Stoddard (1844–1917) was an American landscape photographer known for his photographs 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.


Stoddard was born at Wilton, in Saratoga County, New York, May 13, 1844, son of Charles Stanley Stoddard and Julia Ann Ray.[1] He was largely self-taught. He left home at 16 and got work painting ornamental freight cars and decorative scenes in passenger cars. He started in photography at age 20, initially in Glens Falls and later throughout the Adirondacks. He published a guide to Saratoga Springs followed by Lake George - Luzerne - Schroon Lake in 1873, and revised each of the subsequent five years. In 1878 the guide was expanded to Lake George and Lake Champlain.

He was best known for his guidebook, The Adirondacks: Illustrated, published in 1873, revised and reprinted through 1914, and the first tourist map of the Adirondacks, published in 1874. In 1878, Stoddard produced a 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."[2] 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.

He traveled extensively, to Alaska in 1892, Florida and Cuba in 1894 followed by the American west and southwest. In 1895, he traveled to Bermuda, the Holy Lands, 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 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.[3]


The majority of Stoddard's life work in photographs is split into two large collections, one at the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls, and the other at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, New York. Other works of his are held in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum,[4] the George Eastman Museum,[5] the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art,[6] the Princeton University Art Museum,[7] the Clark Art Institute,[8] the University of Michigan Museum of Art,[9] the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston,[10] the Los Angeles County Museum of Art,[11] and the Brooklyn Museum.[12]


  1. ^ "Seneca Ray Stoddard Collection, Adirondack Museum". Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  2. ^ Seneca Ray Stoddard in the New York State Archives
  3. ^ Bicentennial Citizens’ Advisory Committee. "Seneca Ray Stoddard Lake George Lake Champlain Guidebooks". Warren County, New York: A Commemorative Bicentennial Magazine. Warren County, New York. Retrieved 9 September 2013. Seneca Ray Stoddard was born in 1844 in Wilton and died in Glens Falls in 1917. He is buried in Pineview Cemetery.
  4. ^ "Seneca Ray Stoddard | Smithsonian American Art Museum". Retrieved 2021-03-08.
  5. ^ "Seneca Ray Stoddard | People | George Eastman Museum". Retrieved 2021-03-08.
  6. ^ "Hudson River at Luzern". SFMOMA. Retrieved 2021-03-08.
  7. ^ "Lake George. Photographs by S. R. Stoddard (1997-584)". Retrieved 2021-03-08.
  8. ^ "On the Beach, Coney Island". Retrieved 2021-03-08.
  9. ^ "Exchange: Falls of the Hudson". Retrieved 2021-03-08.
  10. ^ "Seneca Ray Stoddard: In the Adirondacks".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "Saranac Lake From The North | LACMA Collections". Retrieved 2021-03-08.
  12. ^ "Brooklyn Museum". Retrieved 2021-03-08.



  • De Sormo, Maitland C., Summers on the Saranacs. Utica: North Country Books, 1980. ISBN 0-932052-87-8.
  • Donaldson, Alfred L., A History of the Adirondacks. New York: Century, 1921. ISBN 0-916346-26-9. (reprint)

External links