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Anna Belle Crocker

American, 1868-1961


Milwaukee 1868

Occupation or Type


Northwest artist

Oregon artist


Anna Belle Crocker came to Portland with her parents in 1878. Their home was on the site of the present Benson Hotel. After she graduated from the Art Students League in New York, William Ladd, one of the founders of the Portland Art Museum, appointed her to a dual position of museum curator and school principal, replacing Henrietta Failing on her retirement. To prepare for this position she immediately embarked for Europe to study museums. She remained curator and, in effect, the director for twenty-seven years. Her own artistic specialty was portrait painting.

Crocker's enthusiasm for helping others realize their artistic potential gained her the respect and admiration of those with whom she had contact. She traveled widely and often in order to keep abreast of new directions in the art world. She lectured frequently both at the school and in a memorable series of twelve lectures on the understanding of painting and sculpture. She also wrote the book, It Goes Deeper than You Think. Crocker was one of the few women allowed entry to the Portland Sketch Club in 1896.

Artist biography reproduced with permission from the authors, Oregon Painters: the First Hundred Years (1859-1959), Ginny Allen and Jody Klevit.



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