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Harriet "Hattie" Coulter Joor
American Newcomb College Newcomb Ceramicist
(Navarro County, TX, 1875 - 1965 (March 28), Lafayette, LA)
Harriet “Hattie” Joor was an artist, designer, and educator who was an early graduate of the Newcomb program.
Born January 20, 1875 in Navarro County, Texas, Joor moved to New Orleans in 1884 when her father accepted a position as professor of botany and museum curator at Tulane University. Though only thirteen, Joor was able to enroll in art courses at Newcomb College’s preparatory school, where she showed an aptitude for botanical drawing and design.
Joor was in the first pottery decoration class at Newcomb in the fall of 1894. She received a Bachelor of Science from Newcomb College the following year. After undergraduate, Joor enrolled as a Graduate Art student in 1900, and was one of the first two Newcomb students to attend Arthur Wesley Dow’s summer school in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1900. Hired as a pottery designer for the developing Newcomb Pottery in 1900, Joor utilized Dow’s teaching style, which “promoted analysis of the physical properties of working materials.” According to scholar Maggie Dimock, this “may have inspired Joor to recognize the compositional benefit of incising the clay to heighten the effect of her design.” The incised designs that dominated Newcomb style from 1901-1910 can be directly linked to Joor’s style.
While at Newcomb, Joor became an accomplished artist. In 1904, three of her pieces were exhibited at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri. Several articles she wrote about ceramics and textile design were published in national syndicated magazines, including House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, and Women’s Home Companion. Joor also sold her own work directly, making handmade household items in her private studio, from which she also taught private art lessons.
Joor left New Orleans when she was hired to teach pottery at the University of Chicago's School of Education. In 1906, she took a position as a staff writer for The Craftsman magazine, which was overseen by Gustav Stickley. Leaving Chicago in 1911, Joor set up a homestead in Ada, South Dakota, living in a sod house. The 1920 census shows Joor living in Washington, D.C., working as an art teacher for “Reconstructive Aid” for soldiers returning from WWI at Walter Reed Hospital.
In 1923, Joor accepted a teaching position at the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now University of Lafayette, Louisiana) and moved back to Louisiana. She retired from the institution at the end of the 1939–40 academic year.
Harriet Coulter Joor died in Lafayette, Louisiana, March 28, 1965.