Edward Lewis – Saugerties, Kingston and Ellenville, NY Photographer (Part 2)

September 02, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Edward Lewis operated a popular photography gallery at the village of Saugerties, New York during the late 1860s and at the city of Kingston in Ulster County, New York from the late 1860s to 1883. In addition to his portrait work Lewis issued a wide range of scenic stereoscopic views from throughout the Catskills. From 1883 to 1886 Lewis operated a gallery at the village of Ellenville. After leaving the Catskills region Lewis later established galleries at Nyack, New York and Norwalk, Connecticut.

 

Continued from August 26, 2023.

 

Great Crevice, near Ice Cave, Choice Views of Scenery in and about EllenvilleGreat Crevice, near Ice Cave, Choice Views of Scenery in and about Ellenville Great Crevice, near Ice Cave, Choice Views of Scenery in and about Ellenville.

 

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The 1880 United States census listed 50-year-old Edward Lewis living in the city of Kingston in Ulster County, New York. Also living in the household was his 35-year-old wife Mary A. Lewis, his 9-year-old daughter Nina A. Lewis and a 23-year-old servant from Ireland by the name of Mary Roach. Edward was listed with an occupation of photographer, while Mary was listed with an occupation of “housekeeping” and Nina was listed with an occupation of “private school.” Edward was listed as having been born in New York, as were both his parents. Mary was listed as having been born in Ohio, as were both her parents.

 

February 24, 1880, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“The Cost to Publish Your Portrait. It is said that to have your portrait in the coming history of Ulster County requires from $20 to $180, according to the location and the kind of engraving. Judging by the large number of photographs taken every day at Lewis’ gallery to be used to make these engravings after, the historians will make a very good thing out of this branch of work alone. Some one suggests that a few pages be illustrated with Ulster county rogues and that it be called the rogues’ gallery.”

 

July 12, 1880, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“E. Lewis, the photographer in Dimmick’s building, has placed out on the building a large new case of photographs.”

 

October 15, 1880, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“Ed Lewis, the photographer, had his machine out this morning and took a number of views of the Eagle Hotel. Some one got off a joke by telling around that Lewis was ‘taking something at the Eagle Hotel.’”

 

November 26, 1880, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“Lewis, the photographer, has a perfect galaxy of beautiful faces in his new picture case in the Dimmick building, the faces being those recognized as the handsomest young ladies of that part of the city, and the pictures show them, save the color, at their best.”

 

December 15, 1880, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“A perfect rush for photographs and fine frames for holiday presents at Lewis Uptown. Hours for sittings from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.”

 

December 15, 1880, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“No sittings for Photographs made by Lewis after 3 p.m. For the very best results come early in the day.”

 

In 1881 Edward Lewis lost the assistance of one of his best workers, T. D. Lewis, who decided that he wanted to run his own photographic establishment. This loss inevitably increased the business competition for Edward Lewis, and may have even led to his leaving the city of Kingston two years later in 1883.

 

Theodore Dawes Lewis had come to work at the gallery of Edward Lewis when he was 20 years old. Theodore worked there for seven years, thereafter opening a studio for himself at No. 9 Wall Street in Kingston. Theodore remained there for five years, “when his rapidly growing business necessitated his removal to the corner of Wall and John streets, where he occupies the entire upper floor.”[1]

 

February 21, 1881, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“Ed. Lewis, the west end photographer, will photograph the decorations of the Grand Army Bazar.”

 

May 27, 1881, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“E. Lewis, the photographer, intends next week to visit the town of Shandaken to take views of the country and also of several of the mountain houses in that section. Mr. Lewis will also pass through Chichesterville and visit the Notch, of which he will take a number of views. This same gentleman contemplates making an extended tour of the county during the coming season; to travel the whole of the mountainous region and also through Wawarsing and Ellenville and over the Shawangunk mountains. He considers, and rightly, that there are many fine views in and about the county and also at Ellenville which should not be lost. That the public will appreciate them there is not a doubt. Many a farmer in that section would delight to have the old place taken, the “old oaken bucket hanging in the well,” the house and the barn, and even the corn house, to send to the far away former members of his family. Mr. Lewis’ well-known ability as an artist in doing superior work will be sufficient to give him all the work he can possibly attend to.”

 

June 11, 1881, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“E. Lewis, the photographer, has a photographic sulky, or two-wheeled vehicle, all ready for business, to be used in taking views of the mountain houses. The extraordinary wet weather has prevented him from starting out, as the dampness of the leaves of the trees makes them so dark and heavy that, he says, the pictures would necessarily be very poor ones if taken now. He is anxiously looking for clear weather.”

 

June 25, 1881, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“The graduating classes of Kingston and Ulster Academies have been photographed, the former by Lewis uptown and the latter by Lorenzo Short, on The Strand, downtown.”

 

July 11, 1881, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“Fine Photographic Views. Mr. E. Lewis, the photographer uptown, with a great deal of labor, managed to take some very fine views of the Grand Hotel, though in order to do it a high platform had to be erected to place his instruments on. He also took a number of landscape views around about the hotel, as well as a number of the Tremper House. He had these worked up into stereoscopic pictures, and they will be sold to guests or any one who may desire them. One of the photographs of the hotel is a large one.”

 

July 23, 1881, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

                “E. Lewis, the photographer, has a number of large photographs of the Summit House.”

 

August 1, 1881, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“Photographs of the Summit Mountain House. Mr. Lewis, the uptown photographer, has a number of his large photographs of the Summit Mountain House ready for framing. The photograph proper is 14x17 inches, and gives a complete front view of the house with the grounds, and the mountain in the rear, covered with trees, which are in fall foliage. The picture is an excellent one, everything being in bold relief, and taken with remarkable accuracy and lack of imperfections, as where there are a number of horses, as in this picture, it is a hard matter to take them without one or more of the animals moving, and with the wind blowing the trees are also troublesome, while the flags, too, are apt to shake so as not to show well. In these pictures not only are the horses well taken, but the flagpoles and flags, and a couple of dead pine trees for in the rear show distinctly every twig and limb. The pictures, as mounted, require a frame 18x22 inches.”

 

August 9, 1881, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“Rustic Scenery. Mr. Lewis, the uptown photographer, the other day, requiring a bit of rustic scenery, drove out to Old Hurley, purchased a piece of an old post and a rail fence, brought it back with him, and now has something that is quite original for pictures. It isn’t everyone who can have a centennial post and rail fence, with the moss on it, in his picture.”

 

October 13, 1881, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“E. Lewis has a beautiful crayon portrait of his wife, which has been placed in the window of Forsyth & Wilson’s store. It is a very fine picture and of large size.”

 

November 7, 1881, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

                “A fine picture of ex-Alderman Freileweh in Lewis’ gallery attracted quite a crowd today.”

 

November 10, 1881, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“Bewildering with Belles. Lewis’ Gallery on John street is perfectly bewildering with fair ones this week. Two belles have had their pictures taken with their necks enveloped in white ostrich plumes and look very fascinating indeed – as though they had thrown around them a dash of sea spray.”

 

July 27, 1882, The Saugerties Telegraph

 

“E. Lewis, the photographer, at Kingston, has secured the services of a skillful negative retoucher from Pearsall’s famous photograph gallery in Brooklyn.”

 

November 23, 1882, The Saugerties Telegraph

 

“E. Lewis, the photographer of Kingston, is getting up a handsome cabinet of photographs of all who have been sheriffs of the county.”

 

In 1883 Lewis began contemplating establishing a branch gallery at the village of Ellenville, approximately 30 miles southwest of Kingston. He would initially continue to run both the Kingston gallery and the Ellenville gallery, but sold the Kingston gallery only a few months after his arrival at Ellenville.

 

“A Veteran Photographer. To Establish a Gallery at Ellenville, and Reside There Hereafter. E. Lewis, the uptown photographer, is getting his Ellenville gallery in condition to do good work, and will move up there about the middle of May. Mr. Lewis’ place of business will be on Canal street, and he will reside in the same building in which his gallery will be placed. The gallery in this city will be run by a competent man under the supervision, however, of Mr. Lewis, who expects to take charge of both of them. Mr. Lewis is an artist of the higher class, and very industrious and enterprising, and no doubt he will give Ellenville an opportunity of patronizing one of the best photograph galleries outside of New York City.

 

Mr. Lewis should have great praise for one thing if for no other. He has made more good landscape pictures of Ulster county scenery than any other artist. His views taken from different parts of the county are excellent, and the Ellenville people could do no better than employ him to take some of the charming views in that section and work them up into stereoscopic views. Not only would there be a ready sale for them, but it would be a source of great delight for thousands of people at that place and who are residing outside of the town, but who are familiar with some of the many magnificent views which can be seen in it.”[2]

 

Giant's Leap, Choice Views of Scenery in and about EllenvilleGiant's Leap, Choice Views of Scenery in and about Ellenville

Giant's Leap, Choice Views of Scenery in and about Ellenville.

 

Mountain Brook Grotto, Choice Views of Scenery in and about EllenvilleMountain Brook Grotto, Choice Views of Scenery in and about Ellenville

Mountain Brook Grotto, Choice Views of Scenery in and about Ellenville.

 

March 7, 1883, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“Jos. S. Thompson has rented the second and third stories of the brick building on Canal street, below Leopold’s to Edward Lewis of Kingston, who will occupy them as a photograph gallery and dwelling rooms.”

 

May 1, 1883, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“Ed. Lewis, the photographer, is getting ready to remove to Ellenville, packing his furniture in a car so as to send it there by railroad. He has come to the conclusion that a man never knows the amount of material he has until the time comes to move it.”

 

May 12, 1883, 1883, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“Lewis’ Quarters at Ellenville. The building being fitted up for Lewis, the photographer, is approaching completion. Mr. Lewis will have one of the finest galleries in Ellenville to be found outside of New York city, and all who are acquainted with his skill know that he will rival the very best city work. A rush of orders awaits him here as soon as his gallery opens. – Ellenville Press.”

 

May 24, 1883, The Saugerties Telegraph

 

“E. Lewis, who has carried on the photographic business in Kingston for a number of years past, and who formerly had a gallery here [Saugerties], is about to open a branch gallery in Ellenville, which the Press of that place says will be one of the finest to be found outside of New York city.”
 

June 8, 1883, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“To Open on Monday Next. Mr. Lewis, the photographer, has his rooms nearly ready and expects to open them for business on Monday next. His gallery will be an important addition to our village. – Ellenville Press.”

 

July 27, 1883 advertisement, Ellenville Journal

 

“Photographs! Mr. E. Lewis, of Kingston, has just finished his Handsomely Fitted Gallery, which is complete in all its appointments. The Skylight Room is a model in regard to light, accessories and access. In the Reception Room will be found specimens of every size and style, from finely finished Life-size to small Carts De Visites, all of which speak in unmistakable terms of the excellence of Mr. Lewis’s efforts in Art.

 

His arrangements for procuring any requisite shade of light by means of a system of sliding and overlapping Curtains may be pronounced absolutely perfect; and what he has done in the past is a guarantee of future success with his improved facilities.

 

In soliciting Ellenville patronage he promises Good and Satisfactory Work.

 

Instantaneous Pictures of children a specialty.

 

Gallery 129 Canal Street, Ellenville, N.Y.”

 

August 8, 1883, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“Mr. E. Lewis, photographer, has a number of views of Ellenville and surrounding places in his salesrooms in the Dimmick building, uptown. His views of Honk Falls are the best, and certainly are very fine.”

 

August 9, 1883, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“E. Lewis, the photographer, has sold his photographic gallery in this city to a gentleman by the name of Becker of Hudson. Mr. Becker is a student of the celebrated photographer Forshew.”

 

August 17, 1883, Ellenville Journal

 

“Such is the gratifying success with which Mr. Lewis the photographer has met in Ellenville that he has disposed of his long established and popular gallery in Kingston, and will henceforth devote himself to the development of his business here, giving the public of Ellenville and vicinity all the advantages of a first-class city art gallery.”

 

September 10, 1883, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“Mr. Lewis, the photographer, has an order from Surrogate Parker for a life-size crayon portrait of his little son, recently deceased. The work has been entrusted to the skillful pencil of Mr. Bozenhart. – Ellenville Press.”

 

October 4, 1883, Kingston Daily Freeman

 

“Mr. Becker, the photographer who bought the gallery of E. Lewis, has been making some street photographs, for the water works men. Two of those on John street are very handsome, especially where he caught the new gray horse of Superintendent Low.”

 

February 29, 1884 advertisement, Ellenville Journal

 

“For a Short Time Only! Cabinet Size Photographs reduced to $3.50 per Doz. for single dozen! Clubs of ten $3.00 per Dozen, and an extra dozen to the person forming the Club. At Lewis’s Gallery, Thompson Building, Canal Street, Ellenville, N.Y.”

 

April 3, 1884, Ellenville Journal

 

“Special Notice. Persons wishing Photographs for the Holidays should get their sittings at once. All who can should come early in the day, as it is impossible for us to accommodate all who require our services in the afternoon. N. B. No sittings made after 3 o’clock p.m. E. Lewis.” 

 

November 20, 1885, Ellenville Journal

 

“Big Tumble in Photographs at Lewis’ Gallery, Thompson Building, Ellenville, N.Y. Until further notice we will make CABINET PHOTOGRAPHS, in style, Best Work and Best Mounts for only three dollars per dozen!”

 

Portrait, Well Dressed Young Man, by Edward Lewis, Kingston, New YorkPortrait, Well Dressed Young Man, by Edward Lewis, Kingston, New York

Portrait, Well Dressed Young Man, by Edward Lewis.

 

Portrait, Young Girl, by Edward Lewis, Kingston, New YorkPortrait, Young Girl, by Edward Lewis, Kingston, New York

Portrait, Young Girl, by Edward Lewis.

 

By the end of 1885 Lewis had decided to leave Ellenville. He sold his gallery to Edwin A. Davis, with the gallery soon after being run by Edwin’s son, Winfield S. Davis. W. S. Davis would operate the gallery until 1902, selling it after the death of his wife Lillian. The gallery was then purchased by Albert V. Porter, who operated the business until 1918.

 

“Mr. E. Lewis, the photographer in Thompson’s building, has sold out his business to Mr. E. A. Davis, from Danbury, Conn., who has already taken possession and commenced work. Mr. Lewis, who has been among us for more than two and half years, is not only a skillful and experienced artist, but an excellent citizen as well. We are pleased to learn that he does not contemplate immediate removal from town. We trust that Mr. Davis may find the lines fallen pleasantly, and meet with abundant success.”[3]

 

By February, 1886 Lewis, “having visited quite a number of places, north and south for a business location,” had decided to leave Ellenville for the village of Nyack in Rockland County, New York.[4] Lewis was joined by F. C. Weeks, “a skillful retoucher, of Middletown.”

 

It is not known how long Lewis remained at Nyack, but his obituary noted that after leaving Ellenville, the Lewis family went “from there to Norwalk, where they have made their home ever since, and where for many years Mr. Lewis was highly esteemed as an artistic photographer.” A logo embossed on a portrait taken by Lewis at Norwalk noted that his gallery was located on Main Street.

 

The 1900 United States census listed Edward Lewis as living in the city of Norwalk in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Also living in the household was his wife Mary A. Lewis and his daughter Nina A. Lewis. Edward and Mary were married for 30 years and had one child. Edward was listed with an occupation of photographer and Nina was listed with an occupation of music teacher.

 

The 1910 United States census listed 80-year-old Edward Lewis as living Norwalk City in Fairfield County, New York. Also living in the household was 60-yearold wife Mary Lewis. Edward was listed with an occupation of photographer. They were listed as having one child, who was still living.

 

Legacy

 

Upon his passing it was written that Lewis “was for many years not only the leading photographer of Kingston, but of this section of the state.” In addition to thousands of portraits of Ulster County citizens, Lewis extensively photographed the regional scenery, including the city of Kingston, the Rondout Creek, the Esopus Creek, the Wallkill Creek, the Esopus at Glenerie, Overlook Mountain, the Shandaken Mountains, local cement quarries and much more.

 

Edward Lewis died at the age of 88 in his home at Norwalk, Connecticut on December 21, 1917. He had been in poor health for “some time” prior to his passing. He was survived by his wife and one daughter, Mrs. Charles Lang, of Norwalk. Both Edward and his wife Mary are buried at Riverside Cemetery in Norwalk, Connecticut.

 

[1] Commemorative Biographical Record of Ulster County, New York. Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co. p. 878.

[2] “A Veteran Photographer.” Kingston Daily Freeman (Kingston, New York). April 19, 1883.

[3] Ellenville Journal (Ellenville, New York). December 25, 1885.

[4] Ellenville Journal (Ellenville, New York). February 19, 1886.

 

 


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