Archaeologist and amateur baroque-art scholar. Norton was the son of Charles Eliot Norton, the Harvard art historian, and Susan Ridley Sedgwick (Norton), who died giving birth to him. He graduated from Harvard University in 1892 and continued study in Germany, attending the courses of Adolf Furtwängler on Greek sculpture, and at the American School of Classical Studies, Athens. An early study of Greek grave reliefs appeared in the Harvard Studies in Classical Philology. He was appointed the first lecturer in Greek art at the School, and in 1899, director of the program, which he held until 1907. He returned to Boston where he married the Boston socialite Edith White (they divorced in 1910) and acted as European art expert for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. In 1903 he traveled to central Asia to conduct field research as part of the Pumpelly Expedition. In 1910 Norton led the dig in the former Greco-Roman outpost of Cyrene, Libya for the Academy, along with Joseph Clark Hoppin and others. The expedition was beset with problems; Norton was nearly assinated by anti-American agitators (his assistant director was killed) and a war erupted between Turkey and Italy, forcing the abandonment of the project. At the outbreak of World War I, Norton traveled to France were he witnessed the (first) battle of the Marne. Appalled at the poor transportation of wounded soldiers, he organized the American Volunteer Motor Ambulance Corps, known locally as "Norton's Corps." It merged with the H. H. Harjes ambulance unit of the French army. In 1917 it was absorbed by the United States army with American entrance into the war. Norton then worked for American Naval Intelligence in France. He contracted meningitis in 1918 in Paris and died shortly there after.
[collected writings:] Bernini, and Other Studies in the History of Art. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1914; Catalogue of the Corbett Collection of Casts from Greek and Roman Sculpture. Portland, OR: The Portland Art Association, 1897; "The Boston Counterpart of the Ludovisi Throne." Journal of Hellenic Studies 34 (1914): 66-75 [Reply to article with same title of E. A. Gardner in v. 33]; [contributor] Waldstein, Charles. The Argive Heraeum. 2 vols. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1902-05; Greek Grave-Reliefs. Harvard Studies in Classical Philology. Boston: Ginn & co, 1897.
[obituaries:] Kelsey, Francis W. "Richard Norton." Art and Archaeology 8 (1919): 329-335; "Prof. R. Norton is Dead in Paris, Organizer and Head of American Ambulance Corps a Victim of Meningitis." New York Times August 4, 1918, p. 19; Sheftel, Phoebe S. "Archaeological Institute of America." Encyclopedia of the History of Classical Archaeology. Nancy Thomson de Grummond, ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996, vol. 1, p. 62;