Franklin Lewis Gifford was born in Woods Hole on July 18, 1854. He spent all but six of the eighty-two years of his life in Woods Hole where he conducted a successful business as a house painter and an interior decorator for fifty-four years prior to his retirement in 1930. The first three of the six years of his absence from this town were spent in New Bedford where he learned his trade and the second three years in Attleboro to gain business experience. While he had been interested in oil painting as a hobby, it was not until his retirement in 1930 that he was able to devote himself to it completely. He pursued this interest until his death in 1936.
Franklin Lewis Gifford was a descendent of William Gifford, one of the first settlers in Woods Hole. A descendent of William was Braddock Gifford, the village smith during the early part of the nineteenth century. His son, Barzillai Gifford, a leading citizen of the village and expert on interior ship's carpentry, was the father of Franklin Lewis Gifford.
Franklin Gifford's artistic achievements were spontaneous. He never had formal instruction in art, but felt that paint and canvas provided the best means at his disposal to represent what he knew from his own life and from tradition about the early history of Woods Hole. These canvases together with the historical notes he prepared for the exhibition of his paintings in 1932 have provided a basis for the text… [that accompanies the paintings].
Through the kindness of Mr. George A. Griffin a part of a map of Woods Hole prepared by Franklin Gifford is also reproduced in this volume to show the location of buildings as they existed in 1845. Wherever possible each house shown in the paintings that follow is identified with its key number on Mr. Gifford's map.
Adapted from the account by T. S. Perry Griffin contained in "Historic Woods Hole" 1932
The text above, except where noted, is from Historical Paintings of Woods Hole, by Franklin Lewis Gifford (Woods Hole Public Library, 1962).