Cora Ross

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Portrait photograph of Cora Ross, taken by Rufus W. Holsinger in 1911. Reproduced from Jefferson's University.

Cora Ross (born Cora Lee Thompson) was a Black citizen of Charlottesville throughout the twentieth century whose portrait photograph forms a part of the Holsinger Studio Collection.


Ross was born in Virginia on February 18, 1884 to John and Alice Cora Douglass Thompson. She never attended school but was able to read and write. Ross worked as a house cleaner for a private family throughout her life, being listed as a "furner" in a 1955 document.

In 1898, Ross married James Lemuel Ross, with the couple having 12 children together named Viola S Ross, Mable Lee Ross, Hattie A Ross, Mary L Ross, James N Ross, Cara Ross, Beatrice Ross, Houston C Ross, Sylvester Ross, Earline Ross, Dorothy Ross and Fitzgerald Ross. Ross seems to have lived in Charlottesville and Albemarle County for the entirety of her life. On June 21, 1911, Ross had her portrait photograph taken by Rufus W. Holsinger. On October 31, 1914, Ross and an unknown girl in formal attire had their photographs taken by Holsinger. Both of these pictures now form part of the Holsinger Studio Collection.[1]

In 1910, Ross lived in Ward 2 of Charlottesville. In 1920, she lived off of Georgetown Road. In 1930 as well as 1940, she lived at RFD2 Nine Mile Circle in Charlottesville. Between 1955 and 1959, she lived at 335 Sixth Street SW. In 1952, Ross' husband James died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

On November 3, 1969, Ross died of heart disease at her home on 335 Sixth Street SW. She was buried at Lincoln Cemetery.


  1. Web. Ross, Cora, Jefferson's University, 02/25/2022