Lemuel Wiles Collection

Collection Owner:
Cover Image:
Lemuel Wiles' painting titled, Last Day of Summer
Last Day of Summer - Image Source

Collection Facts

Dates of Original:

Historical Context

Artist Lemuel M. Wiles was born to parents Daniel Wiles & Nancy Stowell in West Perry in 1826, a hamlet about one mile from the Perry Public Library. His work is recognized as part of the Hudson River School. He showed an early interest in sketching, but his parents urged him to become a teacher. He graduated from the New York State Normal School in Albany in 1847. His career as artist and teacher progressed together. Wiles was a student of J.F. Cropsey and William Hart for short periods, but he was largely self-taught. He was head master of a private school (1852-7) in Buffalo, librarian in Utica (1857-63), and for many years was art director at Ingham University in LeRoy, New York. Wiles married Rachel Ramsay, an art student, in 1854; and they had one son, Irving Ramsay Wiles (1861-1948), who became a prominent and sought-after portrait painter. Lemuel Wiles and his artist son conducted a summer art school from 1888 to 1904. The Silver Lake Art School building, erected on the west side of the lake in 1890, has since been destroyed by fire. Irving Wiles had a daughter, Gladys Lee Wiles Jepson, (1888-1983) who also became an artist. Elizabeth R. Clark Payne was one of Wiles' students 1883-1884 during his tenure at Ingham University. She and the Wiles family remained close after she left to study at the University of Michigan and then settled in Nashville, Tennessee to become the librarian at the Peabody Normal College.

Scope of Collection

Digital Collection includes 3 categories of items: paintings, sketches & letters with attachments. There are 44 painting by Lemuel Wiles & 1 painting by Irving Wiles. There are 118 sketches by Lemuel Wiles throughout his career including some of the preliminary sketches of paintings found in the collection. There are 86 letters, broadsides, & postcards sent between Lemuel Wiles, Rachel Ramsey Wiles, & Irving Wiles in various locations including Perry, New York, Silver Lake, New York, 106 West 55th Street, New York, Peconic, Long Island, New York and former student Elizabeth Clark Payne in Michigan and Tennessee.