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 Howard Dwight Beach  (1867 - 1954)

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Lived/Active: New York/Connecticut      Known for: portrait photography

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Ad Code: 4
Howard Dwight Beach
untitled-"Cyclamen Still Life" 1920
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Howard Dwight Beach, Western New York artist, painter, photographer, and inventor, was born in 1867 in New Britain, CT, to parents Jeremiah Osgood Beach (1841-1880) a machinist, and mother Caroline Louisa (née Dyson, 1845-1880).

Howard had four younger siblings; Alfred Walter (1869-c1879), Mary Osgood (1871-), Edward Bamforth (1874-) and Ruth North (1876-). After his mother died in 1880, his father remarried to Charlotte P. (née Adams, 1883-1918) in January 1883 and they had two children (Howard’s ½ brother & sister), Charles Adams (1884-died young) and Bessie Catherine (1887-).

Growing up he went to traditional schools in New Britain, CT, and in 1884 he moved to Buffalo, NY to apprentice with photographer Andrew Simson (German-American, -1922), Buffalo’s oldest photographer and accredited photographer for the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, 1901, who later partnered with Howard D. Beach in 1896.  About the same time, he studied at Bryant and Stratton Business Institute, Buffalo, NY and also with the landscape & portrait painter and printmaker John Rummell (American, 1861-). He furthered his studies at the Buffalo Art School and at the University of Buffalo (courses in chemistry and photography), both in Buffalo, NY.

In 1896 he partnered with friend and former photography teacher Andrew Simson’s (German-American, -1922) Photographic Studio which became “Simson & Beach”, 456 Main Street, Buffalo, NY.  In 1900 he purchased the remainder of Mr. Simson’s interest in “Simson & Beach” to open his own photographic studio at the same location.   In 1908, Beach purchased the Eleck F. Hall’s (American, 1857-) Photographic Studio (E.F. Hall & Co.) and moved his entire photographic business there, which was located at 469 Virginia Street in Buffalo. Hall continued to operate there with Beach as “Hall’s Photographic Studios” until 1913.

Beach’s studio was also known for photographing the Native American Indians who had participated in the Indian Congress at the 1901 Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, NY.  He had many famous clients such as Katharine Cornell (American, 1893-1974) a stage actress from the 1920’s-50’s, and artist-writer & critic Carl Sadakichi Hartmann (Japanese-American, 1867-1944).  His inventions included; the Mutotone photographic process, a universal-focus lens, a new bi-focal lens and the first concentric varifocal lens which was a design that incorporated a homogeneous lens that used an aspheric surface to create the radial progressive power.

Beach exhibited and won several prizes with the Buffalo Society of Artists, Buffalo, NY, and also exhibited with the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). Memberships included; the Buffalo Society of Artists (from 1881), the Royal Photographic Society, England, the Professional Photographers Society of New York State (PPSNYS, President 1914, Secretary 1909 & 1910), the Professional Photographers of America (President 1921), the Buffalo Camera Club (1905-38, twice president), and the Buffalo Photographic Society, Buffalo, NY.

Chronology:
1867- Born, March 21, to father Jeremiah Osgood Beach (1841-1880) a machinist, and mother Caroline Louisa (née Dyson, 1845-1880), and had four younger siblings; Alfred Walter Beach (1869-c1879), Mary Osgood Beach (1871-), Edward Bamforth Beach (1874-) and Ruth North Beach (1876-), New Britain, CT. The father remarried to Charlotte P. (née Adams, 1883-1918) in January 1883 and had two children (Howard’s ½ brother & sister), Charles Adams Beach (1884-died young) and Bessie Catherine Beach (1887-), New Britain, CT.

1884- Moved to Buffalo to apprentice with photographer Andrew Simson (German-American, -1922) Buffalo’s oldest photographer and accredited photographer for the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, 1901, and later partner with Howard D. Beach in 1896.

Circa 1884- Studied at the Bryant and Stratton Business Institute, Buffalo, NY. Circa Mid 1880's- Studied with landscape & portrait painter and printmaker John Rummell (American, 1861-), Buffalo, NY.

1887- Studied at the Buffalo Art School, Buffalo, NY.
Circa late 1880's- Furthered studies at the University of Buffalo (courses in chemistry and photography), Buffalo, NY.

1891- Joined the Buffalo Photographic Society and the Buffalo Society of Artists, Buffalo, NY. 1892- June 23, Married Catherine Margaret (née Lobstein, b.1870-), Buffalo, NY.

1896- Partnered with friend and former photography teacher Andrew Simson’s (German-American, -1922) Photographic Studio which became “Simson & Beach”, 456 Main Street, Buffalo, NY.

1899- February 27, Daughter Margaret Caroline was born (d. Nov. 1993, New Britain, CT), Buffalo, NY.

1900- Beach purchased the remainder of Mr. Simson’s interest in “Simson & Beach” to open his own photographic studio, 456 Main Street, Buffalo, NY.

Circa 1901- Photographed Native American Indians who had participated in the Indian Congress at the Pan American Exposition in 1901, Buffalo, NY.

1908- Purchased the Eleck F. Hall’s (American, 1857-) Photographic Studio (E.F. Hall & Co.) and moved his entire photographic business there, 469 Virginia Street, Buffalo, NY, but Hall continued to operate there with Beach as “Hall’s Photographic Studios” until 1913. At this time Beach was residing next door at 467 Virginia Street, Buffalo, NY.

1909-10- Was Secretary for the Professional Photographers Society of New York State (PPSNYS), Buffalo, NY.

1912- Exhibited, group show, 32nd Annual Convention of the Professional Photographers of America, 2 pieces shown, unknown location.

1913- Invented Mutotone photographic process.
1914- Photographed the famous artist-writer & critic Carl Sadakichi Hartmann (Japanese-American, 1867-1944), Buffalo, NY. Became President of the Professional Photographers Society of New York State (PPSNYS), Buffalo, NY.

Circa 1920's- Published a journal titled Through the Lens.
1921- Became President of the Professional Photographers Association, Buffalo, NY.
1925- Studied in Europe.
1929- Developed universal-focus lens.
1937- Developed a new bi-focal lens.
1946- Invented first concentric varifocal lens which was a design that incorporated a homogeneous lens that used a aspheric surface to create the radial progressive power.

1954- Died, Buffalo, NY.

Memberships: the Buffalo Society of Artists (from 1891), Buffalo, NY; Royal Photographic Society, England; Professional Photographers Society of New York State (President 1914, Secretary 1909 & 1910), Buffalo, NY; Professional Photographers of America (President 1921), Buffalo, NY; Buffalo Camera Club (1905-38, twice president), Buffalo, NY; the Buffalo Photographic Society (from 1891), Buffalo, NY; and the Prospect Avenue Baptist Church, Buffalo, NY.Exhibited also at: the Buffalo Society of Artists (prizes), unknown dates, Buffalo, NY.

(Rewritten and compiled chronologically by Mark Strong, Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., 06/2007 (updated 07/2010), Sources: Too long to list here and are furnished upon request, or can be viewed on our website meibohmfinearts.com.)


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