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. 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. 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. 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 Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and many others. Samuel V. Chamberlain died in Marblehead, Massachusetts on January 10, 1975.