Howard Beach

Howard Dwight Beach (American, 1867-1954) Western New York artist, painter, photographer, and inventor. 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.

Image Courtesy of the 1910 book New York State Men: Biographic Studies and Character Portraits, Frederick S. Hill, Argus Co., Albany, NY.