Photo of Harriet Joor and Joor’s Jar with Lid & Dewberry Design
Harriet Joor (NC 1885) by Bernadette Floresca
Harriet “Hattie” Coulter Joor was a ceramics designer and pottery decorator known for being among the earliest and most prominent Newcomb Pottery artists.
At the age of thirteen, Joor, the daughter of a botany professor at Tulane, enrolled in art courses at Newcomb College’s preparatory school where she demonstrated a highly developed artistic aptitude and affinity for sketching plants and flowers. She attended Newcomb College focusing on both science and art, and after graduating in 1895, she was one of the first nine students enrolled in the Newcomb Pottery program. Between 1895 and 1900, Joor and her fellow ceramicists produced vessels using a range of techniques in surface decoration, reflecting the pottery’s early experimental years.
After earning a graduate degree in art in 1901, Joor was selected to attend Arthur Wesley Dow’s Summer School in Ipswitch, Massachusetts, making her the first Newcomb alumna to attend the prestigious program. She spent two years teaching wounded World War I veterans in Washington D.C., and went on to teach at Newcomb College and the University of Chicago before finally settling at Southwestern Louisiana University in Lafayette, where she remained for fifteen years. In addition to her work as a professor in Newcomb’s art department, Joor was an artist working in embroidery and photography.
Aside from academic teaching, Joor had a productive career as an artist and as a creative writer. She was a staff writer for The Craftsman magazine but also wrote articles in publications like Harlequin and International Studio. During the 1910s, she became a homesteader in South Dakota, where she lived in a sod house on the prairie.
In 2019, Newcomb Archives acquired approximately eight linear feet of Joor’s personal papers consisting of documents and correspondence from her time as a student and art professor at Newcomb College, photographs and documents about her homesteading adventures in South Dakota, popular poetry books, a portfolio of student artwork, various personal writings, and other miscellaneous documents and ephemera associated with her escapades as one of Newcomb College’s most popular artists.