Lenore Doster, later Lenore Doster Cooke and daughter of Frank
Doster and Caroline Doster, was born May 12, 1871 in Marion,
Kansas. She grew up in the Flint hills of Kansas.
mother was an artist as was noted in the 1880 census records.
Caroline’s father was Jackson Riddle, who was a Civil War photographer.
Doster was born in Winchester, VA and later served as a private in the
Union Army, 11th Cavalry. It is thought during this time frame he
met William Merritt Chase, and they became friends. Lenore’s brother,
born in 1872, was named Chase.
Her father went on to become the
Chief Supreme Court Justice of Kansas, and the family moved to
Topeka. He served from 1896-1902, and was regarded as the last of the
important leaders of Kansas populism. He died in 1933.
went to New York City to study with William Merritt Chase during the late
1890’s. She taught watercolor painting at the New York School of Art,
directed by Chase and in the Masters in Art Vol. 7-9 page 383, Lenore is noted as a teacher in 1906 along with William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri. She specialized in portraits. She also
was assistant in the department of normal training and design, which
prepared students to become public school teachers. In those
days, a proper lady did not sell her work, so she did not market her
Lenore married Harry L. Cooke on September 25,
1899. He died in 1904 in Chattanooga TN. In 1907, she returned to Topeka from New
York City, saying that "she would rather identify herself with the art
of her own State and the West as it is far more attractive to her than
life in the East and the field is broader." (Topeka Daily).
She suffered from weak lungs and passed away at Pasadena, California on November 14, 1919, aged only 48.
Her work includes:
A pen and ink sketch done in 1897, it is of Broadway actor, “Fred Thorne”.
Her watercolors are:
Girl with the Violin 1898
Her works are scattered and just being recognized.
Michael J. Brodhead, Persevering Populist: The Life of Frank Doster, 1969
Topeka Daily Capital, September 8, 1907, "A Kansas Artist Who Prefers To Work in her Native State.", Courtesy of Joyce Shupe
Vol I, Kansas a cyclopedia of state history, Skyways.lib.ks.us
Doster Genealogy, Ben Hill Doster, Richmond VA, William Byrd Press, 1945
Masters in Art Vol. 7-9 page