Cora May Boone Biography

Cora May Boone




Cora May Boone, teacher, watercolorist, enamellist, and printmaker, was born in St. Louis, Missouri to James O. Boone and Sarah Elizabeth (Simms) Boone on 18 November 1865. The Boone family tree proves her to be a direct descendant of the American pioneer Daniel Boone. The Boone family moved to California in 1870 settling in the community of Contra Costa near San Francisco. In the 1890s Boone studied at the Mark Hopkins Institute in San Francisco.

Between July 1892 and June 1893, Boone served as a long-term substitute teacher in the Oakland Public Schools. She continued her studies at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London between 1912 and 1913, and then went to Paris where she studied with Jeka Kemp 1913.

Boone returned to California and was hired full time in August 1913 by in the Oakland Public Schools, a position she held until she retired in 1935. During her teaching career in Oakland she served as Supervisor of Art in the Secondary Schools. She also taught art in public schools in Danville and Benicia, California and was a member of the faculty of the University of California Berkeley for the summer of 1917.

About 1920, Blanche Lazzell taught Boone the techniques of the white-line woodcut, also known as the Provincetown technique or the one-block woodcut. Boone's imagery included florals and figures and were highly decorative. She taught white-line color woodcut technique to other art teachers, including William S. Rice who also excelled in the technique.

Boone was a member of and exhibited with the San Francisco Art Association, the San Francisco Society of Women Artists, and the National League of American Pen Women. She won her first honorable mention at an exhibit at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art in 1904. Her decorative bronzes and copper enamels were included in the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco where she won the bronze medal for copper enamel. In 1916, she exhibited two watercolors at the Annual Jury Exhibition of the San Francisco Art Association and, in 1918, the San Francisco Art Association annual exhibition included six of her watercolors. Boone also exhibited at the California Liberty Fair in 1918, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in 1922, the Oakland Art Gallery [now the Oakland Museum of California] in 1928, the third exhibition of artist members of the National League of Pen Women where she was awarded an honorable mention in 1929, the California State Fair in 1930, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Inaugural exhibition in 1935, and the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939/1940.

Cora Boone’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston; the Oakland Museum of California; and the Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts.

Like many women artists of the time, due to exhibition prejudices, Cora Boone fudged on her year of birth. Her records in the Baird Archive at the University of California, Davis list her birth on 18 November 1871. According to the 1940 Census, Cora Boone was living with her sister Lina Dingle and Cora's age is listed as 75, thus establishing 1865 as her birth year.


Cora May Boone died in Oakland, California on 7 December 1953.