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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Leverett W. Brownell

Dates:  1871 - 1951, 17 June
Born:  US, NY, Nyack
Died:  US, NJ, Paterson

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Leverett W. Brownell
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

Leverett White Brownell was born in Nyack, New York, on November 31, 1871. He became a prolific nature photographer and author during the first half of the twentieth century.
In 1896, he joined the Camera Club of New York. Two years later William E. Carlin and Brownell presented a show of their photographs of birds and animals in their native haunts in the club’s gallery. Brownell contributed work to the club’s members’ exhibitions in 1900 and 1901 and served on its house committee. Alfred Stieglitz, who edited the club’s important quarterly Camera Notes, included in its February 1903 issue both a photogravure and an article by Brownell. The image pictures a bird at its nest and the article was on the importance of realism in nature photography. In 1905, he resigned from the club.
Brownell was living in Paterson, New Jersey, by 1915, when he opened a studio there. He did professional nature work for the Smithsonian Institution and New York’s Museum of Natural History, and was reputed to have amassed one of the largest collections of natural history photographs in the country. He wrote articles for Outing, New England Magazine, Scientific American, and Nature Magazine. His articles also appeared in the American Annual of Photography, in 1902, 1903, 1936, and 1938. Beginning in 1933, he penned a monthly column on nature photography in American Photography that ran for over fifteen years and beginning in 1942 he served as its nature editor. In addition, he authored two books; Photography for the Sportsman Naturalist appeared in 1904, and Natural History with a Camera was published in 1942. Leverett W. Brownell died of a heart attack in his home in Paterson, on June 17, 1951. 
Christian A. Peterson Pictorial Photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Christian A. Peterson: Privately printed, 2012) 
This biography is courtesy and copyright of Christian Peterson and is included here with permission. 
Date last updated: 1 June 2013. 
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
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