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Seneca Ray Stoddard, self-portrait

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. He was largely self-taught. He left home at 16 and got work painting numbers on 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 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. 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.


  • 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 0-916346-26-8. (reprint)

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