Born in Massachusetts, Stoddard studied theology at Yale Divinity School after earning his bachelor degree from Williams College. His first travel publication, Red-Letter Days Abroad of 1884, was published ten years after he began to travel the world.
Stoddard also shared his experiences through lectures that he gave throughout North America. His published lectures, which were published in several volumes, were very popular because they covered a wide variety of topics--from art to science, and also contained many photographs.
Later in his life, Stoddard published poetry and writings on religion, an outspoken advocate for the restoration of Jews to Israel.