Partner Sharlot Hall, buried together

Queer Places:
Cooper Union, 30 Cooper Sq, New York, NY 10003, Stati Uniti
The Art Students League of New York, 215 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019, Stati Uniti
Thumb Butte Rd, Prescott, AZ, Stati Uniti
Arizona Pioneers Home Cemetery, Prescott, Arizona 86301, Stati Uniti

Image result for Kate CoryKate Cory[1] (February 8, 1861 – June 12, 1958) was an American photographer and artist. She studied art in New York, and then worked as commercial artist. She traveled to the southwestern United States in 1905 and lived among the Hopi for several years, recording their lives in about 600 photographs.

Kate Thompson Cory was born in Waukegan, Illinois on February 8, 1861.[2] Her parents were James Young Cory (1828-1901), born in Canada, and Eliza P. Kellogg Cory (1829-1903), born in Maine.[3] [4] [5] They also had a son, named James Stewart Cory. An abolitionist, her father was involved in the Underground Railroad. Their home was fitted with a secret room in the basement of the house. From there, his free black servants brought runaway slaves to awaiting boats on Waukegan Harbour, giving the impression that they were doing business for James Cory. During the Civil War the successful newspaper editor often single-handedly ran the ''Waukegan Gazette'' after his employees had left for the war and urged him to remain in Waukegan. The Corys moved to Newark, New Jersey in 1880 and her father, James Cory, managed his Wall Street interests in New York City.[6]

Kate Cory was related to Fanny Cory, illustrator of the ''Little Miss Muffet'' comic book.[7]

Cory studied oil painting and photography at Cooper Union and Art Students League of New York She was an instructor at Cooper Union.

Cory was an American photographer, painter, muralist, and sculptor.[8] She made her living as a commercial artist, contributing drawings to ''Recreation'' magazine and was involved with New York's Pen and Brush Club.

Cooper Union, 30 Cooper Sq, New York, NY 10003

Beginning in 1895, Cory partnered with potter Charles Volkmar to create hand-painted plaques, cups and plates of historic people, like William Penn and Alexander Hamilton. Buildings figured in the designs, such as George Washington's headquarters. The works were painted in blue, primarily by Cory. Their shop, Volkmar and Cory Pottery, was located in Corona in Queens, New York. In 1903 Volkmar opened a pottery business in Metuchen, New Jersey called Charles Volkmar & Son.[9]

At the Pen and Brush Club, Cory met artist Louis Akin, who had just returned from the Southwest. He had made paintings of the Hopi Indians to promote tourism along the Santa Fe Railroad route. Her interest in the western United States had been sparked by Ernest Seton and when Akin told her of his plans to begin an artists' colony in Northern Arizona in 1905, Cory booked passage on a train to Canyon Diablo, Arizona, and then traveled north 65 miles through the desert to the high mesa of the Hopi reservation.[10]

She intended to visit the Hopi mesas where Akin intended to establish an artist colony for a couple of months of a tour of the western United States. When she got off the train she realized that she was the lone art colonist. Except for periods in Canada and California (1909), from 1905 to 1912 Cory lived among the Hopi at Oraibi and Walpi.[11] In Oraibi she lived at the top of a Hopi pueblo, her space rented to her by a Hopi friend, that she accessed via stone steps and ladders.[12] She was the only women brought into the secret life and practices of the Hopis. Cory learned the Hopi language, wrote about Hopi grammar, and mediated a disturbance.[13]

While there, she painted the landscape and the Hopi people. She also took about 600 photographs, recording virtually all aspects of Hopi life, social as well as sacred.[14] She took posed portraits, photographs of ceremonies and images of individuals, "which suggest a warm and spontaneous relationship". Her pictures depicted a traditional Hopi way of life on the precipice of having to assimilate or adapt to modern white America. Cory left the Hopi villages in 1912 and her viewpoints on life changed as a result of her relationships with the Hopi people, including eschewing modern consumerism.[15]

She was not the first to photograph the Hopi; however, due to her intimacy with the culture, she was able to capture a more personal view than earlier photographers.[16] She didn't sell her photographs, but would use them as illustrations for her essays, like ''Life and Its Living in Hopiland - The Hopi Women'', which was published in a magazine in 1909. The same year she received an Honorable Mention for a painting exhibited at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exhibition in Seattle. In 1915 the Smithsonian Institution bought 25 of the paintings Cory made during the time that she lived with the Hopis.

She moved to Prescott, Arizona in 1913 and lived in a stone house built and furnished by Hopi workers. Cory exhibited a painting, ''Arizona Desert'', at the Armory Show of 1913 which sold for $150,[17] and received an honorable mention at the show.[18]

Because of declining attendance at the Prescott Rodeo, Cory helped a group of local men calling themselves "Smoki" (pronounced Smoke-eye) with information about Hopi ceremonies that they performed. When the Smoki grew large enough to need a permanent facility and a museum, Cory assisted with the design and decoration of the buildings. She also painted her largest paintings for display in the Smoki Museum, where they still hang.

In her earnest intention to avoid living a wasteful life, she became known in Prescott for being eccentric. Fellow church members offered to replace her torn and tattered clothes. She was frugal, but gave away two cabins she owned to renters. She removed debris from rain water and used it to develop photographs. Rather than sell her paintings, she bartered them. She was described as having had "a plain, weather-beaten face, pulled-back hair, a determined black-clothed walk with a cane, as if every trip downtown were aimed at confronting the mayor."[19]

Her paintings are in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Sharlot Hall Museum, and the Smoki Museum of American Indian Art & Culture in Prescott.[20] Her work is also owned by the First Congregationalist Church, where Cory was a member.

She died in Prescott on June 12, 1958 at the Arizona Pioneers' Home and was buried at the Pioneers' Home Cemetery[21] near her friend Sharlot Hall. The inscription at her gravesite names her "Artist of Arizona" below which is: "Hers Was The Joy of Giving".[22]

The negatives for the photographs that Cory took between 1905 and 1912 were found in the 1980s in a cardboard box along with other materials donated to the Smoki Museum. Not knowing how to preserve the negatives, the museum gave them to the Museum of Northern Arizona, who was better equipped to maintain and preserve the images. Marc Gaede, director of photography at the museum, Marnie Gaede and Barton Wright created the book ''The Hopi Photographs: Kate Cory: 1905-1912'' based on some of the found images, some of which are ceremonial scenes. Due to concern from the Hopis about the rights to their cultural property, many images will not be published by the museum and are available in a restricted file for viewing by researchers.[23]

The Smoki Museum in Prescott, Arizona has the largest collection of Cory artwork on display.

Her papers are held by the Sharlot Hall Museum.

My published books:

See my published books


  1. ^ Kate Cory, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  2. ^ [http://www.sharlot.org/archives Search: Kate Cory] Death and Dispositions. Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
  3. ^ Tricia Loscher. [https://www.jstor.org/stable/41696677 "Kate Thomson Cory: Artist in Hopiland."] ''The Journal of Arizona History.'' 2002 . 43:1. p. 1.
  4. ^ Kate Cory, Waukegan, Illinois 1880 census. Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. (NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  5. ^ Brookhaven Press. ''[https://books.google.com/books?id=wE40AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA331 The Past and Present of Lake County, Illinois: Containing a History of the County--its Cities, Towns, &c., a Biographical Directory of Its Citizens, War Record of Its Volunteers in the Late Rebellion, Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent Men, General and Local Statistics, Map of Lake County, History of Illinois, Illustrated, History of the Northwest, Illustrated, Constitution of the United States, Miscellaneous Matters, Etc., Etc]''. Brookhaven Press; 1877. ISBN|978-1-58103-880-4. p. 331.
  6. ^ [http://www.waukeganhistorical.org/people-journal/kate-cory.html ''Kate Cory''.] Waukegan Historical Society. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
  7. ^ Claudette Simpson, [https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=886&dat=19740913&id=rLtaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=WVADAAAAIBAJ&pg=2662,4020841 "A Little Background on Artist Kate Cory."] ''The Prescott Courier.'' September 13, 1974. p. 16.
  8. ^ Petteys, Chris, ''Dictionary of Women Artists'', G K Hill & Co. publishers, 1985
  9. ^ Edwin Atlee Barber. ''[https://books.google.com/books?id=KxckAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA82 Marks of American Potters]''. Patterson & White Company; 1904. pp. 82–83.
  10. ^ Patricia Trenton; Sandra D'Emilio; Autry Museum of Western Heritage. ''[https://books.google.com/books?id=Q0PoEZcs_csC&pg=PA133 Independent Spirits: Women Painters of the American West, 1890-1945]''. University of California Press; 1995. ISBN|978-0-520-20203-0. p. 133.
  11. ^ Opitz, Glenn B., ''Mantle Fielding's Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers'', Apollo Books, Poughkeepsie, NY, 1988
  12. ^ Stewart B. Koyiyumptewa; Carolyn O'Bagy Davis. ''[https://books.google.com/books?id=xHMYX9_ojJYC&pg=PA41 The Hopi People]''. Arcadia Publishing; 2009. ISBN|978-0-7385-5648-2. p. 41.
  13. ^ "Many and Varieties of Activities of Women: Working among the Indians." ''Atlanta Constitution Magazine Section''. December 15, 1915.
  14. ^ cite book|last=Trenton (ed.)|first=Patricia|title=Independent Spirits: Women Painters of the American West, 1890-1945|year=1995|publisher=University of California Press|location=Berkeley, Los Angeles|page=134
  15. ^ Susan Bernardin. ''[https://books.google.com/books?id=FAZ43yXhTfIC&pg=PR73 Trading Gazes: Euro-American Women Photographers and Native North Americans, 1880-1940]''. Rutgers University Press; 2003. ISBN|978-0-8135-3170-0. Chapter Two: I Became the Colony - Kate Cory's Hopi photographs. p. 73–74.
  16. ^ cite journal|last=Laird|first=W. David|title=The Hopi Photographs: Kate Cory, 1905-1912 by Marie Gared; Barton Wright; Marc Gaede|journal=Journal of Arizona History|year=1989|volume=30|issue=3|pages=352–354
  17. ^ Brown, Milton W., ''The Story of the Armory Show'', The Joseph H. Hirshhorn Foundation, 1963, p. 232
  18. ^ Michael Leja. ''[https://books.google.com/books?id=V2OH5ZKaPgoC&pg=PA222 Looking Askance: Skepticism and American Art from Eakins to Duchamp]''. University of California Press; 1 March 2007. ISBN|978-0-520-24996-7. p. 222.
  19. ^ John Weston. ''[https://books.google.com/books?id=zV9luHa-A5AC&pg=PA117 Dining at the Lineman's Shack]''. University of Arizona Press; 2003. ISBN|978-0-8165-2283-5. pp. 117, 118.
  20. ^ [http://www.smokimuseum.org/kate_t_cory.htm ''Kate T. Cory.''] Smoki Museum. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
  21. ^ [http://www.sharlot.org/archives/manuscripts/personal/Kate_Cory_Collection.pdf ''Kate Cory Collection: 1905-1912, Finding Aid''] Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
  22. ^ [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=COR&GSpartial=1&GSbyrel=all&GSst=5&GScntry=4&GSsr=1601&GRid=8102027& Kate Cory.] Find a Grave. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  23. ^ Susan Bernardin. ''[https://books.google.com/books?id=FAZ43yXhTfIC&pg=PR76 Trading Gazes: Euro-American Women Photographers and Native North Americans, 1880-1940]''. Rutgers University Press; 2003. ISBN|978-0-8135-3170-0. Chapter Two: I Became the Colony - Kate Cory's Hopi photographs. p. 76.