Cabinet Card Vignette of CSU's First African American Graduate and US Army Second Lieutenant Grafton Norman, Fort Collins, Colorado, circa 1896

Cabinet card vignetted bust portrait of Grafton Norman. S.H. Seckner: Fort Collins, Colorado, n.d., circa 1896. Imprint on recto. Ink identification on verso. Norman wears a sack coat with partially obscured chevrons and medal.

Grafton St. Clair Norman (1875-1945) grew up in Hamilton, Ohio, where and while Alston Ellis was serving as superintendent of public schools. Ellis was a trailblazer in many ways, one of which was desegregating Hamilton public schools as early as 1891. A year later, he was chosen to serve as President of the State Agricultural College of Colorado in Fort Collins, where he invited a young, promising Hamilton student, Grafton Norman, to join him. Norman enrolled in the college, making the most of his college career by participating in numerous organizations, most notably the College Oratorical Association. Norman was a gifted orator, a trait recognized and supported by his peers and instructors through awards and nominations, including the student body's selection of Norman as College orator for the 1896 George Washington birthday celebration. 

After graduating in 1896 with a degree in mechanical engineering and subsequently leaving Fort Collins, Norman enlisted in the US Army, serving as a second lieutenant during the Spanish-American War. Norman pursued a teaching career after the war, instructing pupils at Kentucky's Blue Grass Normal and Industrial School in mathematics and natural science, and at Alabama's Agricultural and Manufacturing College in military sciences. Norman served in France during World War I, and upon returning to the United States, climbed the insurance industry ladder to become State Inspector of the Union Central Relief Association in Birmingham, Alabama. Norman's life was cut short when he was struck by a car on the way home from church in 1945. 


Image somewhat toned. Mount with light soiling/wear and spot of residue lower right corner. Ink and pencil inscriptions on verso.

Estimate: $600 - $800
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

Internet Bidding

Have a Similar Item?

Consign With Us


Cowan’s cannot guarantee items paid for after November 25 will arrive before December 25. For expedited shipping, we recommend using a third-party shipper. 

Cowan’s Cincinnati Office offers an in-house, full-service shipping department which is unparalleled in the auction industry. Shipping costs are provided with your finalized invoice 24-48 hours after auction. For furniture and oversized items, we recommend using third-party services. For more information, click HERE or contact cowansshipping@hindmanauctions.com.  

NOTE: All pickups and preview are by appointment only. To make an appointment, please call 513-871-1670 or email cincinnati@hindmanauctions.com