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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

NORTON, GEORGIE LEIGHTON - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

NORTON, GEORGIE LEIGHTON (29 Nov. 1864-18 Aug. 1923) headed the Cleveland School of Art (see CLEVELAND INSTITUTE OF ART) for 3 decades during the critical period of its development. A native of Newton, Mass., she was the daughter of George and Emily Leighton Norton and a relative of Harvard art historian Charles Eliot Norton. After graduating from the Massachusetts Normal Art School, she became supervisor of drawing in the Medford, Mass., public schools. She was brought to Cleveland as director of the Cleveland School of Art in 1891, shortly after the termination of its unsuccessful affiliation with Western Reserve Univ. (see CASE WESTERN RESERVE). Under her tenure the school twice moved into larger quarters, first from the Case Block into the old Horace Kelley mansion on Willson Ave. (E. 55th St.), then in 1905 into a new building on Juniper at Magnolia Dr. Norton also took several initiatives to make the school's graduates more employable. She introduced a teacher training department in 1906, added ceramics to the curriculum in 1909, and set up a department of commercial art under the instruction of HENRY KELLER†. She became an aggressive fund-raiser in order to realize her goal of providing an endowment for the school, which was done in 1913. In failing health, she hand-picked Henry Turner Bailey as her successor and turned over the directorship in 1919. She continued as associate director until her death after a lingering illness. Unmarried, she was survived by a brother, Charles W. Norton, who had been associated with CSA as an assistant treasurer.

Wixom, Nancy Coe. Cleveland Institute of Art: The First Hundred Years, 1881-1982 (1983).

Last Modified: 21 Jul 1997 01:42:30 PM

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