Nina Howell Starr (1903-2000) was a photographer, art dealer, and art historian who worked primarily in New York City. Born in Newark, New Jersey in 1903 as Cornelia Margaret Howell, Starr attended Wellesley College and graduated from Barnard in 1926. Also in 1926, she married Nathan Comfort Starr, an English professor, and, over the years the couple lived in Massachusetts, Maryland, Florida, and New York City.
In 1963, at the age of 60, Starr received the first M.F.A. in photography granted by the University of Florida. Starr exhibited widely in both solo and group exhibitions, including Magic Lantern (Photographer's Gallery, London, 1976), and the Strength of Women (Witken Gallery, 1991), and numerous shows featuring photographs of outsider art. Her "New Yorker" project became an exhibition in 2016. Her work is owned by several prominent museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography.
As art historian, self-proclaimed critic, and civil rights and feminist advocate, Starr lectured widely, wrote articles and letters to editors, and corresponded with many notable art world figures. She became especially interested in outsider and folk art. Starr met outsider artist Minnie Evans in 1962 and became Evans' lifelong friend, advocate, and representative dealer. She wrote about Evans and introduced Evans' works to galleries and other exhibition spaces in New York, including the Whitney Museum, where she guest-curated an exhibition of Evans' work in 1975.
Starr was an active member of professional organizations including the Photographic Historical Society of New York, Professional Women's Photographers, Inc., and the Museum of American Folk Art where she served on the Advisory Committee.
Nina Howell Starr died in 2000 in Connecticut at the age of 97.