Samuel V. Chamberlain Biography

Samuel V. Chamberlain




Samuel V. Chamberlain, printmaker, photographer, author, lecturer, and teacher, was born in Cresco, Iowa on October 28, 1895. His family moved to Aberdeen, Washington in 1901 and, in 1913, Chamberlain enrolled in the University of Washington in Seattle where he studied architecture under Carl Gould. By 1915, he was enrolled in the School of Architecture of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. With the United States involvement in the first World War, Chamberlain sailed to France where he volunteered in the American Field Service. In 1918, he was transferred to the Unites States Army to complete his tour of duty. After the war, he returned to Boston and resumed his architectural studies, which he eventually discontinued and tried for a few years to work as a commercial artist.

Chamberlain received the American Field Service Scholarship in 1923, which he used to travel in Spain, North Africa and Italy. In 1924 he was living in Paris and in the spring he studied lithography with Gaston Dorfinant and in the autumn and winter months he studied etching and drypoint with Edouard Léon. He published his first etching the following year. In 1927, he studied drypoint with Malcolm Osborne at the Royal College of Art in London.

He taught part time at the School of Architecture, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and the School of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology between his travels abroad. Chamberlain eventually settled for a dozen years in France. He authored, and sometimes co-authored, with his wife Narcissa, Domestic Architecture of Rural France, Clementine in the Kitchen, New England Rooms 1639-1863, and Charleston Interiors.

Chamberlain was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Institute of Architects, the American Society of the French Legion of Honor, the Boston Camera Club, the Boston Printmakers, the Chicago Society of Etchers, Photographic Society of America, the Print Club of Albany, the Society of American Etchers, and was elected an Academician in the National Academy of Design. His work is represented in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the National Academy Museum, the Harvard Art Museums, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston,  the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Samuel V. Chamberlain died in Marblehead, Massachusetts on January 10, 1975.