John Lawson Stoddard

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John Lawson Stoddard
John L. Stoddard.jpg
Born(1850-04-24)April 24, 1850
Brookline, Massachusetts, US
DiedJune 5, 1931(1931-06-05) (aged 81)
South Tyrol, Italy
Occupationlecturer, author, photographer
EducationWilliams College
Yale Divinity School
Genretravelogues
Notable worksJohn L. Stoddard's Lectures
The Stoddard Library
Rebuilding a Lost Faith
ChildrenLothrop Stoddard

John Lawson Stoddard (April 24, 1850 – June 5, 1931) was an American lecturer, author and photographer.[1][2] He was a pioneer in the use of the stereopticon or magic lantern, adding photographs to his popular lectures about his travels around the world.[2] Because he published books related to his travels, he is credited with developing the genre of travelogues.[3][4]

In 1935, Daniel Crane Taylor wrote, "Stoddard's rise to fame was spectacular and unprecedented in the annals of American entertainers. No American lecturer, musician or actor has ever won so large a following in so short a time. From his second season, almost every lecture was sold out…He filled Daly's Theatre, one of the largest in New York, fifty times a season for ten years. …This would mean that Stoddard alone drew approximately one hundred thousand persons in New York each year."[5]

Early life[edit]

Stoddard was born in Brookline, Massachusetts to a wealthy family.[1][5] He was the son of Sarah Lothrop and Lewis Tappar Stoddard.[1][2]

He was educated at private schools in Boston.[1] He attended Williams College, graduating with an A.B. in 1871.[1] At Williams he was a member of the fraternity Delta Psi (aka St. Anthony Hall).[6] He studied theology at Yale Divinity School for two years, but left before he graduated.[1][2]

Career[edit]

During the 1873–1874 academic year, Stoddard taught the classics at Boston Latin School.[1][2] Between 1874 and 1876, Stoddard began traveling around the world, mostly to Constantinople, Egypt, Greece, and Palestine.[2][5] After two years of traveling, he returned to teaching.[2]

In 1879, Stoddard turned his travel experiences into a series of popular lectures delivered throughout North America.[7][2][5] He pioneered the used of the stereopticon, also known as the magic lantern, which gave his lectures the "gimmick" of a visual component—the black and white photographs Stoddard took on his travels.[2][5][3] His lectures were so popular that he soon became a household name.[2] Stoddard also continued to travel and gather new content for his programs, going to as he said, "nearly every part of the habitable globe."[2] He would return to the United States in the winter, providing lectures in major cities on cities, life, and scenery of the Italian Lakes, Milan, Paris, the Orient, Rome, and even the United States.[8][2] The demand for his lectures was so high that in New York City alone, he would give fifty sold-out presentations each season.[5]

Stoddard began publishing books, including Red-Letter Days Abroad in 1884, Glimpses of the World in 1892, and Portfolio of Photographs which was issued in sixteen weekly installments starting in 1894[7][2] In 1897, he was invited to lecture before the U.S. Congress.[5] However, there was not enough room in chambers, so he scheduled a private lecture for the representatives and their wives at the Columbia Theatre.[5] As one writer noted, "The Theatre filled to capacity."[5]

In April 1897, Stoddard retired from the lecture circuit a multi-millionaire at the age of 47.[5][2] His lectures were published in book form as John L. Stoddard's Lectures with ten volumes from 1897 to 1898, and five supplements in 1901.[9][7][8] The books include many photographs taken by Stoddard. In 1910, he selected the content for The Stoddard Library; A Thousand Hours of Entertainment with the World's Great Writers (12 volumes), with an accompanying handbook published in 1915.[2]

During World War I, then ex-pat Stoddard's sympathies lay with the Central Powers, leading to his writing propaganda pamphlets which were published by the German-American Defense Committee in Germany and the United States.[2] In 1914, he opened An American to Americans: John L. Stoddard Noted Author-Traveler Tells the Truth about Germany and the War in Europe with, "Dear Friends Across the Sea: I fear you have been misinformed about the present war. News must have reached you almost entirely from French and English sources. How incorrect news can be I know from personal experience."[10] He goes on to explain that "every achievement of the Germans or Austrians was ignored or minimized."[10] He also maintains that the war was not started by Emperor William and Germany's military, but by the Russians.[10] He proclaims, "It is a people's war.… They are fighting for their very existence, threatened and surrounded by a world of foes."[10]

In 1922 after his conversion to Catholicism, he became a realist in religion, publishing Rebuilding a Lost Faith, by an American Agnostic, a famous work of apologetics.[1] Thereafter, he devoted his time to religious study and writing.[2]

Stoddard was a proponent of the restoration of the Jews to Israel.[11] In Volume 2 of his Lectures he told the Jews, “You are a people without a country; there is a country without a people. Be united. Fulfill the dreams of your old poets and patriarchs. Go back, go back to the land of Abraham.”[11] In 1891, Stoddard is also believed to be the first person to refer to the Jews as "a country without a nation," a phrase that would later become popular with Zionists in Europe.[5] Stoddard's "Palestine lecture was very popular, delivered by a very popular man… [whose] career was at a zenith."[5]

Publications[edit]

The Main Street of Gibraltar. Photo by Stoddard from his book Gibraltar
St.-Valentin, Merano, South Tyrol, Italy. Photo by Stoddard from Lectures
Gutenberg Monument, Frankfurt, Germany. Photo by Stoddard from Lectures
The German Protestant Church, Meran, South Tyrol, Italy. Photo by Stoddard from Lectures
Schloss-Forst, Algund, South Tyrol, Italy. Photo by Stoddard from Lectures

Books[edit]

Pamphlets[edit]

Translations[edit]

  • Felder, Hilarin. Christ and the Critics, Volume 1. translation of Jesus Christus (1924)[2][51]
  • Prat, Fernand. The Theology of Saint Paul, Volume 1 (1926)[2]
  • Prat, Fernand. The Theology of Saint Paul, Volume 2 (1927)[2]
  • Baunard, Louis. The Evening of Life (1930)[2]
  • Batiffol, Pierre. Saint Gregory the Great (1930)[52]
  • Verkade, Willibrord. Yesterdays of an Artist-Monk (1930)[2]

Popular culture[edit]

In F. Scot Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, John L Stoddard's Lectures are in Gatsby's library.[53] One literary critic notes, "The Stoddard Lectures serve as a literary backdrop to the performance of Jay Gatsby, who had never read them, who had never cut the pages, but who staged his production elaborately and well, going as far as to buy not only real books but also the right kind of real books."[53]

Personal life[edit]

Stoddard married Mary Brown of Bangor, Maine on December 24, 1877.[1][8] She was the daughter of Dr. William H. Brown who was the mayor of Bangor. They had a son in 1883, Lothrop Stoddard.[1][2] After some five years, the couple became estranged.[2] When he retired from the lecture circuit in 1897, Stoddard moved to New York City.[2] They divorced in 1900.[1] He married Ida M. O'Donnell of Barnesville, Ohio on August 15, 1901.[1][8][2]

After his second marriage, Stoddard moved the Austrian Tyrol.[2] Around 1906, he moved to Lake Como in Italy.[2] In 1914, he moved to a villa near Merano, South Tyrol, Italy.[2]

In 1917, Stoddard nearly died from typhus, leading him back to religion.[2] Raised a protestant, Stoddard was an agnostic for more than thirty years before converting, along with his wife, to Roman Catholicism in 1922.[1][2]

During his later life, Stoddard used his fortune to support his adopted home of Merano. He contributed to building a secondary school and to a home for homeless youth, now used as a rehabilitation center.

Stoddard died in 1931 at his villa near Merano, Italy at the age of 81.[1][7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "John Lawson Stoddard". The Boston Globe. June 6, 1931. p. 5. Retrieved May 23, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as "John Lawson Stoddard." Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1936. Gale In Context: Biography, Accessed 23 May 2022.
  3. ^ a b Manning MJ, McCutcheon C. "Education in the School of Dreams: Travelogues and Early Nonfiction Film." Journal of American Culture. 2014;37(2):225-226. via EBSCO, accessed May 23, 2022. doi:10.1111/jacc.12173
  4. ^ Burton Holmes, hired by Stoddard as his junior associate; coined the term, “travelogues." 3
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Garfinkle, Adam M. “On the Origin, Meaning, Use and Abuse of a Phrase.” Middle Eastern Studies 27, no. 4 (1991): 539–50. via JSTOR, accessed May 23, 2022. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4283461.
  6. ^ Catalogue of the Members of the Fraternity of Delta Ps i. New York: Fraternity of Delta Psi, 1889 via Google Books
  7. ^ a b c d e "John Lawson Stoddard, Noted Author, Is Dead". The Baltimore Sun. June 6, 1931. p. 2. Retrieved May 23, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ a b c d "John Lawson Stoddard". The Bangor Daily News (Bangor, Maine). June 9, 1931. p. 4. Retrieved May 23, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ American Authors and Books: 1640 to Present Day Third Revised Edition. W.J. Burke and Will D. Howe, ed. Crown Publishers, Inc., New York.
  10. ^ a b c d e Stoddard, John Lawson. (1914). An American to Americans: John L. Stoddard noted author-traveler tells the truth about Germany and the war in Europe. New York: [s.n.] via Haiti Trust.
  11. ^ a b Stoddard, John L. (1897). Lectures, Vol. 2: Constantinople. Jerusalem. Egypt. Boston: Balch Brothers Co., p. 113.
  12. ^ Stoddard, John L. (1890). "Scenic America". Open Library. Retrieved 2022-05-24.
  13. ^ Stoddard, John L. Portfolio of Photographs: of Famous Scenes, Cities, And Paintings. Chicago: Educational Pub. Co., 1893. via Hathi Trust.
  14. ^ Stoddard, John L (1894). "Napoléon". Open Library. Werner Company. Retrieved 2022-05-24.
  15. ^ Stoddard JL (John L 1850-1931. A trip around the world with John L. Stoddard : a collection of photo engravings of famous scenes, cities and paintings of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, North and South America /. January 1894. via EBSCO, Accessed May 24, 2022.
  16. ^ Stoddard, John L. Portfolio of Photographs of Our Country And Our Neighbors. Chicago: Werner Co, 1894. via Hathi Trust
  17. ^ Stoddard JL (1850-1831). A du texte. [Portfolio colonial... des possessions et dépendances françaises. Phot. rassemblées par John L. Stoddard. Paris, Werner Company de Chicago, 1895. 1 vol. impr. de 192 p. et autant de phot]. January 1895. via EBSCO. Accessed May 24, 2022.
  18. ^ Stoddard, John L. Scenic America: the Beauties of the Western Hemisphere. Chicago: The Werner Company, 189?. via The Hathi Trust.
  19. ^ Stoddard, John L. Athens--Venice. Chicago: Belford, Middlebrook & Company, 1897. via Hathi Trust.
  20. ^ Stoddard, John L. China. Chicago: Belford, Middlebrook & Company, 1897. via Hathi Trust
  21. ^ Stoddard, John L. Egypt. Chicago: Belford, Middlebrook & Company, 1897. via Hathi Trust
  22. ^ Stoddard, John L. (John Lawson), 1850-1931. India. Chicago: Belford, Middlebrook & Company, 1897. via Hathi Trust
  23. ^ Stoddard, John L. Japan. Chicago: Belford, Middlebrook & Co., 1897. via Hathi Trust.
  24. ^ Stoddard, John L (1897). "Jerusalem". Open Library. Belford, Middlebrook & Company. Retrieved 2022-05-24.
  25. ^ Stoddard, John L. Norway. Chicago: Belford, Middlebrook & Co., 1897. via Hathi Trust.
  26. ^ Stoddard, John L. Switzerland. Chicago: Belford, Middlebrook & Company, 1897. via Hathi Trust
  27. ^ Stoddard, John L. The Passion Play. Chicago: Belford, Middlebrook & Company, 1897. via Hathi Trust.
  28. ^ Stoddard, John Lawson. John L. Stoddard lectures. vol. 1. Chicago: G.L. Shuman. via. Hathi Trust.
  29. ^ Stoddard, John Lawson. John L. Stoddard lectures. vol. 2. Chicago: G.L. Shuman. via. Hathi Trust.
  30. ^ Stoddard, John Lawson. John L. Stoddard lectures. vol. 3. Chicago: G.L. Shuman. via. Hathi Trust.
  31. ^ Stoddard, John Lawson. John L. Stoddard lectures. vol. 4. Chicago: G.L. Shuman. via. Hathi Trust.
  32. ^ Stoddard, John Lawson. John L. Stoddard lectures. vol. 5. Chicago: G.L. Shuman. via. Hathi Trust.
  33. ^ Stoddard, John Lawson. John L. Stoddard lectures. vol. 6. Chicago: G.L. Shuman. via. Hathi Trust.
  34. ^ Stoddard, John Lawson. John L. Stoddard lectures. vol. 7. Chicago: G.L. Shuman. via. Hathi Trust.
  35. ^ Stoddard, John Lawson. John L. Stoddard lectures. vol. 8. Chicago: G.L. Shuman. via. Hathi Trust.
  36. ^ Stoddard, John Lawson. John L. Stoddard lectures. vol. 9. Chicago: G.L. Shuman. via. Hathi Trust.
  37. ^ Stoddard, John Lawson. John L. Stoddard lectures. vol. 10. Chicago: G.L. Shuman. via. Hathi Trust.
  38. ^ Stoddard, John F. (1899). "From the Atlantic to the Pacific". Open Library. Werner. Retrieved 2022-05-24.
  39. ^ Stoddard, John Lawson. John L. Stoddard lectures. Supplement no. 1/vol. 10. Chicago: G.L. Shuman. via. Hathi Trust.
  40. ^ Stoddard, John Lawson. John L. Stoddard lectures. Supplement no. 2/ vol. 12. Chicago: G.L. Shuman. via. Hathi Trust.
  41. ^ Stoddard, John Lawson. John L. Stoddard lectures. Supplement no. 3/vol. 13. Chicago: G.L. Shuman. via. Hathi Trust.
  42. ^ Stoddard, John Lawson. John L. Stoddard lectures. Supplement no. 4/vol. 14. Chicago: G.L. Shuman. via. Hathi Trust.
  43. ^ Stoddard, John Lawson. John L. Stoddard lectures. Supplement no. 5/vol. 15. Chicago: G.L. Shuman. via. Hathi Trust.
  44. ^ Stoddard, John L. (1901). Gibraltar - John L. Stoddard's Lectures. Norwood Press.
  45. ^ Stoddard, John L. (1904). "Beautiful scenes of America from Battery Park to the Golden Gate". Open Library. The Saalfield Publishing Co. Retrieved 2022-05-24.
  46. ^ Stoddard, John L. Poems. Chicago: George L. Shuman, 1910. via Hathi Trust.
  47. ^ Stoddard, John L. Poems On Lake Como. Chicago and Boston: G. L. Shuman & co., 1914. via Hathi Trust.
  48. ^ Stoddard John L. Amerikas Stellung zum Weltkriege. January 1915. via EBSCO, Accessed May 24, 2022.
  49. ^ Stoddard, John L. Wilson oder Hughes? :Von John L. Stoddard. January 1916. via EBSCO. Accessed May 24, 2022.
  50. ^ Stoddard John L. Was sollen wir mit Wilson tun? [Umschlagtitel.]. January 1916. via EBSCO, Accessed May 24, 2022.
  51. ^ Christ and the Critics. Vol. I Hilarin Felder John L. Stoddard. Blackfriars. 1924;5(52):253-255.via JSTOR, Accessed May 24, 2022
  52. ^ Walsh FA. Saint Gregory the Great Pierre Batiffol John L. Stoddard. The Catholic Historical Review. 1930;16(2):224-225. Via EBSCO. Accessed May 24, 2022.
  53. ^ a b Ellis J. The “Stoddard Lectures” in The Great Gatsby. American Literature. 1972;44(3):470. via JSTOR, accessed May 23, 2022. doi:10.2307/2924157

Further reading[edit]

  • John L. Stoddard by D. Crane Taylor (1935).

External links[edit]