Kate Cory

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Kate Cory
Kate Cory, unknown photographer, circa 1905-1912.png
Kate Cory in front of her loom, unknown photographer, circa 1905-1912, Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona
Born (1861-02-08)February 8, 1861
Waukegan, Illinois
Died June 12, 1958(1958-06-12) (aged 97)
Prescott, Arizona
Nationality American
Education Cooper Union, Art Students League of New York
Known for Photographer, sculptor, painter and muralist
Kate T. Cory, Inside the Kiva, oil, 1905-1912, Waukegan Historical Society
Kate T. Cory, Indian with Hoe, 1906, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Kate T. Cory, Piki making, photograph, 1905-1912, Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff. The image is representative of the personal nature of the composition - taken from the floor level, capturing light and shade and focused on every day life.[1]
Kate T Cory, Untitled photograph of Comanche dance, 1905-1912
Kate T. Cory, Young married woman with corn pollen and braids, 1905-1912, Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff
Kate T. Cory, Buffalo Dancer, oil, 1919, Smoki Museum, Prescott, Arizona
Kate T. Cory, Sun Ceremony, circa 1920, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Kate Cory (1861–1958) 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.

Early life[edit]

Kate Thompson Cory was born in Waukegan, Illinois on February 8, 1861.[2][3] Her parents were James Young Cory (1828-1901), born in Canada, and Eliza P. Kellogg Cory (1829-1903), born in Maine.[4][5][6] They also had a son, named James Stewart Cory.[5] 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.[7]

Kate Cory was related to Fanny Cory, illustrator of the Little Miss Muffet comic book.[8]

Career[edit]

New York[edit]

Cory studied oil painting and photography at Cooper Union[7] and Art Students League of New York[9] She was an instructor at Cooper Union.[10]

Cory was an American photographer, painter, muralist, and sculptor.[2] She made her living as a commercial artist, contributing drawings to Recreation magazine and was involved with New York's Pen and Brush Club.[9]

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.[11]

Hopi villages 1905-1912[edit]

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.[7] 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,[7][9] and then traveled north 65 miles through the desert to the high mesa of the Hopi reservation.[12]

Kate Cory, at a Hopi village, circa 1905-1912

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.[13] From 1905 to 1912 Cory lived among the Hopi at Oraibi and Walpi.[9] 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.[14] 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.[10]

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.[15] 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.[13]

...her willingness to make do with leftovers, to recycle; her disregard for material possessions; her tendency to barter rather than buy; and her limited appetitie and consumption. All suggest why the pared-to-the-bones Hopi lifestyle attracted her and what she learned from her years on the mesas.
— I Became the Colony: Kate Cory's Hopi photographs[1]

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.[1] In 1915 the Smithsonian Institution bought 25 of the paintings Cory made during the time that she lived with the Hopis.[10]

Prescott[edit]

She moved to Prescott, Arizona in 1913[9] and lived in a stone house in the Idylwild Tract.[17] Cory exhibited a painting, Arizona desert, at the Armory Show of 1913 which sold for $150,[18] and received an honorable mention at the show.[19]

During a time when the Bureau of Indian Affairs was taking steps to drive out Native American practices, Cory and Sharlot Hall helped local white residents who called themselves "Smokis" with information about Hopi ceremonies so that they provided demonstrations of Moki and Hopi ceremonial practices. The ceremonies included the Snake Dance, the Butterfly Festival, and the Ceremony of New Fire were conducted in a natural amphitheater beginning about 1920. Started as a form of entertainment, the ceremonies became one way to help to keep the traditional rituals for fertility, rain and bounty alive.[20] She illustrated the fictional book of the "Smoki Tribe", The Story of the Smoki People, written by Sharlot Hall and helped raise funds for the town's Frontier Rodeo Days where the Smokis performed.[21]

Cory made paintings of the Prescott community and Native Americans in her later years.[22]

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.[1] She was described as a lesbian and 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."[23]

Her paintings are in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Sharlot Hall Museum, and the Smoki Museum in Prescott.[17][24] Her work is also owned by the First Congregationalist Church, where Cory was a member.[17]

Death[edit]

She died in Prescott on June 12, 1958 at the Arizona Pioneers' Home and was buried at the cemetery there[3][17] near her friend Sharlot Hall.[24] The inscription at her gravesite names her "Artist of Arizona" below which is: "Hers Was The Joy of Giving".[25]

Legacy[edit]

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. Nothing 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.[26]

...although Cory is still as interested in her image's composition - its lines and texutures, lights and darks - as in its subject, this shot of a man intent on spinning wool is not a familiar or predictable image. Perhaps the man's position straddling shade and sun reflects the worlds he also straddles, which are visually conveyed in his cropped hair and Anglo clothes and in his skill at spinning wool, its presence in the Southwest the result of encounters between the Spanish and Native peoples.
— : I Became the Colony - Kate Cory's Hopi photographs[27]

The Smoki Museum in Prescott, Arizona, who have Cory's personal photograph album, were asked by the Hopis to ensure that the names of Hopi elders who have died are not used or published. The collection of images has provided a rich archive of information for present day Hopis to research their cultural heritage from that time period.[26]

Her papers are held by the Sharlot Hall Museum.[17]

Works[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Kate Cory. A Legend of Thumb Butte.[17]
  • Kate Cory; Marc Gaede; Barton Wright. The Hopi photographs: Kate Cory, 1905-1912. University of New Mexico Press; 1986. ISBN 978-0-8263-1058-3.

Paintings[edit]

  • A Study of Kachinas for Children, watercolor, Smoki Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • Blonde Woman, oil, c. 1935, Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • Bouquet of Two Red Poppies, watercolor, c. 1935, Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • Brown Haired Woman, oil, 1935, Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • Butterfly Maiden, oil, Smoki Museum, Prescott, Arizona[24]
  • Buffalo Dancer, oil, 1919, Smoki Museum, Prescott, Arizona[24][28]
  • Colorado River, oil, 1929, Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • Desert Valley Landscape, oil, c. 1935, Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • Feather Ceremony at Sunrise, oil, c. 1950, Prescott Public Library, Arizona[28]
  • Five Indian Women with Baskets and Cooking Fire, oil, c. 1935, Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • Hopi Butterfly, oil, Smoki Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • Hopi Butterfly (2), oil, Smoki Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • Hopi Girl, oil, c. 1935, Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • Hopi Indian Maiden, oil, private collection[28]
  • Indian Maiden, oil, before 1916, Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, Chicago, Illinois[28]
  • Indian with Hoe, oil, 1906, Smithsonian American Art Museum[28]
  • Inside the Kiva, oil, 1905-1912, Waukegan Historical Society, Illinois[7][28]
  • Local Wild Flowers, Granite Mountains in the background, oil, 1937, Federal Art Project, Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • Local Wild Flowers with rocky hills in the distance, oil, 1937, Federal Art Project, Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • Man, Full Length, oil, Smithsonian American Art Museum[28]
  • Mana with Ceremonial Robe (Portrait of Hopi Indian Woman), oil, 1909, Waukegan Historical Society, Illinois[28]
  • Mesa with Indian Village in Distance, oil, Smithsonian American Art Museum[28]
  • Migration of the Hopi Tribe in the Early 20th Century, oil, 1939, First Congregational Church, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • Moonlight Frolic, oil, before 1914, Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, Chicago, Illinois[28]
  • Mother and Child, oil, Smithsonian American Art Museum[28]
  • Mountain Landscape, oil, 1937, Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • Native American Carding Wool, oil, Prescott Public Library, Arizona[28]
  • Navajo Brush Shelter, oil, c. 1930, Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • Old Man, oil, c. 1935, Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • Prescott, Arizona, oil, private collection[28]
  • Pueblo of Walpi, oil, before 1916, Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, Chicago, Illinois[28]
  • Return of the Kachinas, oil, Smoki Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • Sun Ceremony, oil, Smithsonian American Art Museum[28]
  • Sunset or Sunrise over Mountain Valley, oil on masonite, c. 1935, Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • TAWEA, oil, c. 1935, Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • The Baker, oil, Smoki Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • The Kachina, oil, Smithsonian American Art Museum[28]
  • The Migration, oil, Smoki Museum, Prescott, Arizona[24][28]
  • The Snake Myth, oil, Smoki Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • The Weaver, oil, 1900-1905, Waukegan Historical Society, Illinois[28]
  • US Army Biplane Flying across the Hills, oil, c. 1935, Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • Woman Nursing a Baby, oil, c. 1935, Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]
  • Wu Wu Ceremony, oil, Smoki Museum, Prescott, Arizona[28]

Photographs[edit]

A few of the photographs taken of the Hopi between 1905 and 1912:[29]

  • Corn crop covers the roof
  • Hopi maiden
  • Hopi man
  • Hopi school girls in cauldron
  • Hopi spinner
  • Hopi water carrier
  • Hopi weaver
  • Hopi woman in traditional dress
  • Landlady putting bread in oven
  • Navajo Woman at New Oraibi
  • Old Oraibi
  • Piki making
  • Pottery firing
  • Young Hopi woman having her hair dressed
  • Young married woman with corn pollen and braid

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Susan Bernardin. 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. 74.
  2. ^ a b Petteys, Chris, Dictionary of Women Artists, G K Hill & Co. publishers, 1985
  3. ^ a b Search: Kate Cory Death and Dispositons. Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
  4. ^ Tricia Loscher. "Kate Thomson Cory: Artist in Hopiland." The Journal of Arizona History. 2002 . 43:1. p. 1.
  5. ^ a b 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.
  6. ^ Brookhaven Press. 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.
  7. ^ a b c d e Kate Cory. Waukegan Historical Society. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
  8. ^ Claudette Simpson, "A Little Background on Artist Kate Cory." The Prescott Courier. September 13, 1974. p. 16.
  9. ^ a b c d e Opitz, Glenn B., Mantle Fielding's Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers, Apollo Books, Poughkeepsie, NY, 1988
  10. ^ a b c "Many and Varieties of Activities of Women: Working among the Indians." Atlanta Constitution Magazine Section. December 15, 1915.
  11. ^ Edwin Atlee Barber. Marks of American Potters. Patterson & White Company; 1904. pp. 82–83.
  12. ^ Patricia Trenton; Sandra D'Emilio; Autry Museum of Western Heritage. Independent Spirits: Women Painters of the American West, 1890-1945. University of California Press; 1995. ISBN 978-0-520-20203-0. p. 133.
  13. ^ a b Susan Bernardin. 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.
  14. ^ Stewart B. Koyiyumptewa; Carolyn O'Bagy Davis. The Hopi People. Arcadia Publishing; 2009. ISBN 978-0-7385-5648-2. p. 41.
  15. ^ Trenton (ed.), Patricia (1995). Independent Spirits: Women Painters of the American West, 1890-1945. Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 134. 
  16. ^ Laird, W. David (1989). "The Hopi Photographs: Kate Cory, 1905-1912 by Marie Gared; Barton Wright; Marc Gaede". Journal of Arizona History 30 (3): 352–354. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f Kate Cory Collection: 1905-1912, Finding Aid Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
  18. ^ Brown, Milton W., The Story of the Armory Show, The Joseph H. Hirshhorn Foundation, 1963, p. 232
  19. ^ Michael Leja. 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.
  20. ^ "Whites Preserve Indian Custom." Appleton Post Crescent. August 15, 1924. p. 2.
  21. ^ Skirting Traditions: Arizona Women Writers and Journalists 1912-2012. Wheatmark, Inc.; 2012. ISBN 978-1-60494-597-3. pp. 5-6.
  22. ^ Tricia Loscher. "Kate Thomson Cory: Artist in Hopiland." The Journal of Arizona History. 2002 . 43:1. pp. 1–40.
  23. ^ John Weston. Dining at the Lineman's Shack. University of Arizona Press; 2003. ISBN 978-0-8165-2283-5. pp. 117, 118.
  24. ^ a b c d e Kate T. Cory. Smoki Museum. Retrieved March 31, 2014. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Smoki" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  25. ^ Kate Cory. Find a Grave. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  26. ^ a b Susan Bernardin. 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.
  27. ^ Susan Bernardin. 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. 87.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap Search: Kate Cory. Smithsonian Institution, SIRIS Online Collections system. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
  29. ^ Susan Bernardin. Trading Gazes: Euro-American Women Photographers and Native North Americans, 1880-1940. Rutgers University Press; 2003. ISBN 978-0-8135-3170-0. p. x.

Further reading[edit]

  • Marnie Gaede, et al. The Hopi Photographs: Kate Cory, 1905-1912. Chaco Press; 1986.
  • "Images of Hopi" Plateau. Magazine of The Museum of Northern Arizona. 1991.
  • Gary Fillmore. "Shadows on the Mesa-Artists of the Painted Desert and Beyond". Schiffer Publishing; 2012
  • Ginger Johnson. Kate T. Cory: Artist of Arizona, 1861-1958. 1996.
  • Tricia Loscher; Kate Cory. Kate Thomson Cory: Artist and Ethnographer of Arizona. Arizona State University; 2000.
  • Peter E. Palmquist. "Women Photographers and the American Indian," in An Idaho Photographer In Focus. Pocatello, Idaho: Idaho State University, 1993, pp. 121–149.