Dr. Clair Robertson
Dr. Letha Clair Robertson
[Unidentified man, half-length portrait, body in profile to left, facing front, with beard] Photo appears to show Thomas Hicks. (Hicks identification provided by Clair Robertson, 2010, based on a portrait in Scribners, April 1895, p. 442.) A previous identification suggested another artist, Aaron Draper Shattuck.
Dr. Robertson teaches Art History I, Art History II and the Honors classes LOOTED! Art History through the Stolen Object and Swords and Sandals: Art History I through the Epic Motion Picture at the Spring Creek Campus. She earned her PhD in art history from the University of Kansas. She also holds a BA in art history from UT Arlington and a MA in art history from TCU. She is a expert 19th-century New York City portraitist Thomas Hicks (1817-1890). Hicks is known for his portraits of luminaries such as President Abraham Lincoln, authoress Harriet Beecher Stowe, actor Edwin Booth, and Arctic explorer Elisha Kent Kane. Her research examines how portraiture, photography, the birth of the public relations industry and the mass media intersect during the nineteenth-century to form the foundation of American celebrity culture. She is the only scholar who researches Hicks and serves as a consultant regarding the artist's work for private collectors, auction houses, and museums across the country. She has earned fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D. C. She is currently preparing a manuscript about Hicks's life and art which is based in part on her dissertation, "The Art of Thomas Hicks and Celebrity Culture in Mid-Nineteenth-Century New York." Dr. Robertson recently published "Hometown Hero: Dr. William J. Goodman and the Civil War," an article about an East Texas doctor's Confederate service on the Gulf Coast. The article was the culmination of research conducted for "The American Civil War's Impact on Tyler," an exhibition she curated for the Tyler Museum of Art in 2015. Dr. Robertson is also currently researching art made by Civil War POWs. She presented “The Art of the Civil War Prisoner: Carved Powder Horns from Camp Ford, Texas” in a panel entitled “New Perspectives on the American Civil War” at the 2016 Southeast College Art Conference (SECAC). Inspired by former students who were veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Dr. Robertson is also researching art created by combat soldiers. She has taught art history for twelve years and is a member of the Honors faculty at Collin College. When not researching art or teaching, she enjoys spending time out-of-doors with her Australian cattle dog Charlie and her Australian cattle dog/border collie mix Hank.