Henry Newell Cady

Henry Cady headshot

Henry Newell Cady was born on July 8, 1849, in Warren, Rhode Island. He was the first born of four to Warren High School's first principal Isaac Foote Cady and his wife Clementine Lee Cady. Isaac was also a school principal in nearby Barrington and went on to be appointed that town's first librarian in 1880. While the Cadys were not wealthy, they lived a comfortable life afforded by their standing as a highly educated white family at a time when such education was not universally available. Henry graduated from Warren High School in 1865 and Brown University in 1869, then very briefly attended the National Academy of Design in New York.

On Christmas Day in 1872, he married Annie Cole (1850-1911), daughter of Thomas Cole. The Coles were a prominent Warren family, well-connected to the town's extensive mariner and ship building history, itself interwined with the whaling industry as well as the brutal triangular trade enslaved peoples. Together Henry and Annie had three children: two sons, Lawrence and Henry (also known by his middle name, Dewees), and a daughter, Alice.

Unable to support his growing family, Cady, Annie, and the children moved out of Warren in1883, first to South Orange, New Jersey, then to Germantown, Pennsylvannia, and later to Philadelphia. Throughout this time, Henry made a living as a photo-engraver. Annie also had an active career as an author of predominantly children's literature.

In 1895, Cady returned to Warren with his family, where he would remain for the rest of his days. Sadly, Alice would pass only three years later in 1898 at the age of 19. Henry Cady was remarked to be a quiet, unassuming person who preferred to let his artistic works speak for him.

Largely self-taught as an artist, his paintings were mostly of New England coastal scenes in a luminist style inspired by the Hudson River School. Cady became a photographer as well as a painter, photo-engraver, and illustrator. He also wrote children's books about his own childhood growing up along the waters of Narragansett Bay under the penname Wallace P. Stanley. In addition, Cady was a composer and played the organ at a number of local churches. His last composition was written in 1926 when he was completely deaf.

Among the places his artistic works were seen during his lifetime were the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, the St. Louis Exposition of 1904, and the Exposition of American Artists in Springfield, MA. In more recent years, retrospectives of Cady's work have been held at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy, in 1985, and in 1996 at the Bert Gallery in Providence, RI.

Henry Newell Cady died in his Warren home on Wednesday, May 16, 1935, at the age of 85.

Luminism was a mid to late 19th century American style of landscape painting primarily characterized by a keen interest in the effects and movment of light on the landscape. An offshoot of the Hudson River School, Luminist painters often chose aquatic scenes as their subjects, and used aerial perspectives to highlight the vibrant interplay between the horizon, nearby flora or rocky shorelines, and the sunlight reflected on the water. Also key to the technique was an attempt to conceal visible brushstrokes. Luminism has also been considered to represent a contemplative and poetic perception of nature. The term luminism was retroactively applied by art historians of the 1950s.

About the Exhibit
We note that this site is not a comprehensive expression of all Henry Cady's artistic output, but rather seeks to highlight Cady's connections to the town of Warren by focusing on items from within local collections. This exhibit has been created by archivist Jessica Rogers-Cerrato, MFA, MSLIS, on behalf of the George Hail Free Library, in association with the Warren Preservation Society and the Massasoit Historical Association, and would not have been possible without the support of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (RICH) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Thank you to Arthur Jannitto for sharing his collection of Cady paintings. A special thank you to Sarah Weed for her untiring support. All items photographed for the site by Sarah and David Weed, unless otherwise noted.

Recently Added Items

Hand-Colored Photograph of Two Cows


A hand-colored photograph of two cows standing in the grass in front of a bare tree.

Man with Locomotive


A photographic print made from a glass slide. Image of a man standing alongside of the engine of a locomotive.

View Southeast from Scuttle


A photographic print made from a glass slide. Image is of the stone scuttle on the end of the pier in Warren, RI. Paper envelope which held the glass…

Trees on Union Street


A photographic print made from a glass slide of trees in winter along Union Street in Warren, RI. Paper envelope which held glass slide included with…

Kickemuit Narrows from South


A photographic print created from a glass slide. Paper envelope includes further caption. Image of Henry Cady's small sailboat, the Triton, pulled up…

Dewees in Uniform of Warren Artillery


A photographic print created from a glass slide. Paper envelope which held the slide included. Image features Dewees, Henry Cady's son, in the…

Alice and the Snow Lady


A photographic print made from a glass slide. Item also includes paper envelope which held the slide. Image features Henry Cady's daughter, Alice,…

Trolley Car


A photographic print created from a glass plate. Image features a trolley car on its way from Barrignton to Warren, RI, on April 13, 1901.

Rocky Coast with Lighthouse in the Distance


A photographic glass plate featuring an image of large rocks close to shore with a sailboat and a lighthouse visible in the far distance.

Lighthouse in the Distance


A photographic glass plate featuring an image of a sailboat and a lighthouse in the far distance with rocks and waves in the foreground.

Waves along the Sand


A photographic glass plate with an image of waves rolling in along the sandy shore.

Waves Crashing on the Shore


A glass plate featuring an image of waves crashing against rocks along the shore. Paper envelope included with the plate featuring faded caption of…