Leigh Harrison Hunt was born on May 19, 1858 in Galena, Illinois, the son of businessman Leigh A. Hunt and Eliza (Harrison) Hunt. He was a maternal descendant of Benjamin Harrison, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
The family moved to New York City in the early 1860s, and in 1877, Hunt graduated from the City College of New York, receiving medals in history, belles-lettres, mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, and English. He was also appointed as tutor in the City College's Art Department. In the same year, he entered Bellevue Medical School to study anatomy but was persuaded to finish the course and was graduated with the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1880.
While continuing to teach at City College, Dr. Hunt taught histo-pathology at the medical school, and for a brief time practiced medicine. In 1882, he received an M.S. degree and soon after abandoned all medical pursuits to devote himself entirely to producing art and teaching art history. Hunt was made head of the art department in 1918 and continued in that position until his retirement in 1928.
Hunt was a member of several art-related organizations including the New York Etching Club, the Salmagundi Club, the Society of American Etchers and the Artists' Fund Society. In 1931, he founded the Haden Etching Club whose members were artists who were also physicians.
Hunt and his wife, Grace (née Grace Anna Storrs), enjoyed travel and made frequent voyages to Europe between the 1880s until the outbreak of the first World War in 1914. Several of their voyages were on R. M. S. Lusitania.
Leigh Harrison Hunt died Dec 16, 1937 in New York City.