The James Reuel Smith Springs and Wells Photograph Collection includes 852 glass negatives, acetate negatives, and photographic prints relating to his book "Springs and Wells of Manhattan and the Bronx, New York City, at the End of the Nineteenth Century," published by the New-York Historical Society in 1938. Smith was born in 1852 in Skaneateles, New York. Family money enabled him to actively pursue his hobby of photographing and investigating springs and wells. He spent much of the years 1897 to 1901 bicycling around northern Manhattan and the Bronx looking for them and photographing them. His enthusiasm was well-matched with his photographic eye and his meticulous note-taking on the locations and conditions of the springs and wells he saw. He died in 1935.