Learn more



Frances S. Pollard,  Nora Houston (1883-1942) Dictionary of Virginia Biography, Library of Virginia (1998– ), published 2018 (http://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/dvb/bio.asp?b=Houston_Nora, accessed June 11, 2018).

Nora Houston: Artist and Activistby  Colleen Yoder (M.A. Thesis, California State University, Dominguez Hills, 2010).  Yoder, formerly Museum Curator at the Museum of Virginia Catholic History and Diocesan History in Richmond, has written the first biographical study of Houston. She draws on Houston’s paintings and her papers at the Virginia Historical Society, in Richmond, Va. and Virginia Commonwealth University.


In the early 1900s, a new generation of socially-conscious women initiated reforms to improve the quality of life for the nation’s poor. One of these initiators was artist and suffragist, Nora Houston. Born into a white, affluent Virginian family, Houston defied the traditional role of the “southern lady” with her choice of career and lifestyle. Houston’s art provided a lens through which marginalized citizens could be viewed. Her portraits of the working class provide irreplaceable records of those who defined America during this time.

“Virginia Honors Her Daughter: Nora Houston,” Art Digest, Feb. 15, 1942: p.26.

Marian Wardle, ed.,  American Women Modernists: The Legacy of Robert Henri, 1910-1945 (Brigham Young University Museum of Art, 2005). Houston was one of a group of influential woman artists and art educators, identified by Wardle, whose work is being rediscovered. Renowned for teaching and mentoring generations of American artists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Henri was an important influence for Houston.

Estill Pennington, A Southern Collection: Selected Works from a Permanent Collection of Painting in the South Prepared for the Opening of the Morris Museum of Art, September 24, 1992 (1992). Two works by Houston are featured in  this book highlighting the collection of the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Ga.

Lynn Bayliss, The Dooley’s of Richmond, University Press of Virginia, 2017.

Harry Kollatz, Jr., An Artist’s Creation, Richmond Magazine, May 26, 2011.

Oral history interview with Adele Clark, February 28, 1964. Documenting the American South, Southern Oral History Program, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


Three Generations of Women Artists: William Ludwell Sheppard, Nora Houston, Adele Clark, Edmund Minor Archer.  Catalogue from an exhibition at the Valentine Museum in Richmond, November 1957-March 1958.  The catalogue is available for research at VCU (Special Collections) and other libraries.

Appalachian Exposition (1910: Knoxville, Tenn.). Catalogue of the Fine Arts Section of the Appalachian Exposition, Sect. 12 to Oct. 12, 1910.

Catalog of an exhibition held January 30 – February 15, 1940 [Virginia Museum of Fine Art], “Virginia Artist Series No. 8.” Essay by Thomas C. Colt, Jr.

Research collections:

Virginia Historical Society
Richmond, Va.
Houston Family Papers, 1850-1893; collection guide available.

Adele Clark Papers, 1855-1976collection guide available.

Virginia Commonwealth University (Archives and Special Collections, James Branch Cabell Library):
Adele Goodman Clark Papers, 1849-1978; collection guide available.

Equal Suffrage League Records, 1909-1938;  collection guide available.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Library (Archives and Special Collections)
Richmond, va.
Exhibition file: Nora Houston [Virginia Artist Series, no. 8], Jan. 30-Feb. 15, 1940.
Artist file: miscellaneous uncataloged material.

Morris Museum of Art (Center for the Study of Southern Art)

Vertical file, 1940-.

The Johnson Collection Library
Spartanburg, SC

Artist file. “Portrait of the Gibson Children” a.Transparencies b. Bio. essays from Mayo Gallery.