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Creator Record

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Name Beach, Henry M.
Other names Beach, H. M.
Dates & places of birth and death b. 1863 - d.1943
Occupation Photographer: Adirondack park and outlying areas
Notes Henry M. Beach was a prolific and accomplished photographer from upstate New York who documented the North Country during the first quarter of the twentieth century. Beach photographed wealthy visitors at play as well as manual laborers working in the forest, logging camps, factories, mines, railroads, and construction sites. He photographed the beautiful Adirondack Great Camps as well as modest cottages, small stores, and family-owned resorts.

Photo postcards were his specialty. Although his postcard pictures were taken to sell wholesale to hotel managers, shop owners, and other retail merchants, they are not just mass-produced stylized, pretty pictures. Beside the bubbling brooks and shady woodland paths are factory boomtowns and paper mills belching pollution. Beach photographed dandy visitors at play as well as manual laborers sweating in the forest, logging camps, factories mines and construction sites. Images of "great camps" sit next to modest abodes, small stores and family-owned resorts. Pictures of trains in scenic surroundings give way to mangled wrecks after tragic railroad accidents. In addition to standard view cards, Beach produced montages, fantasy and advertisement postcards - serious visual commentary as well as lighthearted picture play.

Henry was a local, an insider to the world he photographed, a person intimate with the regions people and geography. It was from that position that he photographed upstate New York. He had little formal education and was not professionally trained in his craft. He lived far enough away from mainstream society that his work was not dominated by national photographic style and trends. He was free to focus on different subject matter, add quirky elements to his pictures, experiment with form and composition. The result is a vernacular documentary style that is unique, engrossing and significant. His best works stir the heart and provoke the imagination, and his whimsical down-to-earth approach to photography produce images that are a treat to the eye.
Publications For more information, see: Adirondack Vernacular: The Photography of Henry M. Beach
Relationships m. Bertha Brown
Places of residence Adirondacks
North Country
Lowville, NY
Remsen, NY

Associated Records

Image of Stereoview

Stereoview

Independence Bridge below Rumble Falls;Mrs H.M. Beach 1887

Image of Tobey Homestead Cottages, Adirondacks. - Print, gelatin silver

Tobey Homestead Cottages, Adirondacks. - Print, gelatin silver

Gelatin silver print, real photo postcard. Printed lower margin of image on the negative: ""TOBEY HOMESTEAD COTTAGES, ADIRONDACKS". Handwritten note in pen verso, dated September 12, 1910; postmarked from Jay, NY 1910. Footbridge over stream in foreground; cottage in background.

Image of Uncle Fide Scott - postcard - postcard

Uncle Fide Scott - postcard - postcard

Philo Scott 1837-1911. This picture was taken in 1894. His popularity as an Adirondack guide was greatly enhanced by a poem, "Him and Me" written by Irving Bacheller about 1906. Signed: Frank Scott

Image of Print, gelatin silver

Print, gelatin silver

Gelatin silver print, real photo postcard. Woman standing on porch behind rustic bench. Same image as 17181.

Image of B.I.V. from Black Bear Mountain, F. Chain, N.Y. - Print, Gelatin Silver

B.I.V. from Black Bear Mountain, F. Chain, N.Y. - Print, Gelatin Silver

Panoramic view of B.I.V. From Black Bear Mountain. F. Chain, N.Y. Birds eye view of the Fulton Chain of Lakes. Image of copy print, not original.

Image of Print, gelatin silver

Print, gelatin silver

Gelatin silver print, real photo postcard. View of woman on porch posing behind rustic bench. Same image as P17167.

Image of Camp Crag, Big Moose, N.Y. Co. No. 18. - Print, gelatin silver

Camp Crag, Big Moose, N.Y. Co. No. 18. - Print, gelatin silver

Gelatin silver print, real photo posctard. Postmarked 1911 Printed lower left margin of image on the negative: "CAMP CRAG, BIG MOOSE, N.Y." Lodge at left, trees and water at right.

Image of Bechtoldt's Pergola, Saranac, N.Y.  No. 9. - Print, gelatin silver

Bechtoldt's Pergola, Saranac, N.Y. No. 9. - Print, gelatin silver

Gelatin silver print, real photo postcard. Handwritten lower margin of image on the negative: "BECHTOLDT'S PERGOLA, SARANAC, N.Y. No. 9." View of cobblestone and wood pergola above cobblestone retaining wall.

Image of Brown Swan Club, Schroon Lake, N.Y.  No. 56. - Print, Real Photo Postcard

Brown Swan Club, Schroon Lake, N.Y. No. 56. - Print, Real Photo Postcard

Real photo postcard, gelatin silver print, black and white. Image of a large multi-story building with many roof lines. Three smaller cabins at side. Cars parked in front of ubilding. Small rustic swing in foreground. Caption on lower margin of photograph: Brown Swan Club, Schroon Lake, N.Y. No. 56."

Image of Isabella Island, Schroon Lake, N.Y. No. 11. - Print, Real Photo Postcard

Isabella Island, Schroon Lake, N.Y. No. 11. - Print, Real Photo Postcard

Gelatin silver print, black and white: view of around, domed island in the center of a lake from far shore. Small row boat with two people between shore and island.

Image of Dock and Beaches  Schroon Lake, N.Y.  No. 10. - Print, Real Photo Postcard

Dock and Beaches Schroon Lake, N.Y. No. 10. - Print, Real Photo Postcard

Gelatin silver print, black and white: view looking down on a lake with a sailboat and motor boat to the right, obscured by trees. Steam boat heading out into the water. Large boat house at the end of a dock in the center. Forested shorelines and mountains on the far shore.

Image of Thayer's Souvenir Store, Schroon Lake, N.Y.  No. 49. - postcard - postcard

Thayer's Souvenir Store, Schroon Lake, N.Y. No. 49. - postcard - postcard

Identified by Bogden in Exposing the Wilderness" as Eastern Illustrating, c. 1920. Real photo postcard 3.5 x 5.5 inches. The image shows a number of businesses on a village street. On the far left is a two story building with a store and barber shop on the first floor. A sign "THAYER'S" hangs on the porch above a circular rack of postcards. The sign "SOUVENIRS" hung from the porch, extends out over the sidewalk, A barber pole stands at the far end of the building. The second building advertises "DRUGS" and "ICE CREAM." The third building, "LOCKE'S" has a sign advertising "WESTERN UNION" with an arrow pointing toward the entrance. A few men are standing in front of the fourth building