Skip to Main Content

Norton, Charles Eliot

American, 1827 - 1908


The son of Professor Andrews and Catherine (Eliot) Norton, Charles Eliot Norton is best known as a professor of the history of art at Harvard University (1874-98). He attended Harvard himself, graduating in 1846 at the age of nineteen. He received the additional honorary degrees of Litt. D. from Cambridge University, England, (1884), L.H.D. from Columbia University (1885), LL.D.'s from Harvard (1887) and Yale (1901), and a D.C.L. from Oxford University. Upon graduating from Harvard in 1846, he entered into a job with an importing firm in Boston. Three years later he went as supercargo on an East India voyage, and later made several trips to Europe. In Switzerland he befriended Ruskin; this friendship is recorded in the 1904 publication, Letters of John Ruskin to Charles Eliot Norton (2 vols.). Norton married Susan Ridley Sedgwick on 21 May 1862; they had three sons and three daughters before his wife died at Dresden in 1872. Known as a Dante scholar and an authority on art, he translated Dante's Vita Nuova and Divina Comedia, and was the first president of the Archaeological Institute of America from 1879-90. He also served as President of the Dante Society. He wrote and edited several books on art and letters, and was Editor of the North American Review from 1862-68. In 1865 Norton and four others co-founded the Nation as a critical journal to maintain standards in politics, literature and art.


Boston Evening Transcript. [obits., etc.] October 20, 21, 22, 1908.
Emerson, E.W., and W. F. Harris. Charles Eliot Norton. 1912.
Howe, M.A. DeW., and Sara Norton. Letters of Charles Eliot Norton with Biographical Comment, containing a list of his writings. 1913.
Whitehill, Jane, ed. Letters of Mrs. Gaskell and Charles Eliot Norton, 1855-65. 1932.
Vanderbilt, Kermit. Charles Eliot Norton; Apostol of Culture in a Democracy. Cambridge, Mass.: 1959.

Related Content

  • Sort by:
  • Results layout:
Show  results per page

Works of Art

  • Filters:
  • Sort by:
  • Results layout:

Limit to works on view

Limit to works with online images

Limit to works of classification:

Limit to works of artist nationalities:

Limit to works belonging to editions:

Limit to works created between:

Limit to works containing styles:

Limit to works containing photographic processes:

Find works executed in:

Find works containing subject terms:

Find works with an alternate reference number (for example, Key Set number) containing:

Show  results per page
The image compare list is empty.