Image: Guide to The Ruth Dennis Grover papers
Guide to The Ruth Dennis Grover papers
The Ruth Dennis Grover papers
Personal papers
News clippings
Articles about Grover
Cascade Artist Scrapbook
Ruth Grover's Library
Grover Sketchbooks and journal
Grover Audio/Visual materials

Guide to The Ruth Dennis Grover papers


Guide to The Ruth Dennis Grover papers


The Ruth Dennis Grover Papers contain correspondence, photographs, sketchbooks, personal papers such as copies of contracts, school transcripts and financial information.



Source Format

Collection Guide




Willamette University University Archives and Special Collections

Repository Address

900 State Street; Salem, Oregon; 97301 USA; Phone: 503/370/6764; Fax: 503/370/6141; Email:; URL:

Location of Collection

Mark O. Hatfield Library

Collection Number



Materials are in English.


The collection is arranged in eleven series. Series descriptions are at the beginning of each series below.

Biographical/Historical Note

Ruth Dennis Grover was born in 1912 in Portland, Oregon. She spent her early years in Michigan and spent summers with her mother in Oregon. She started her art training in high school, attending art school on Saturdays. She studied under Jean Paul Slusser and Ha A. Fowler at the University of Michigan where she graduated with honors. She also studied at Detroit School of Applied Art and the Meizinger Foundation Art School under Carlos Lopez and Don Gooch. In 1939, after her father’s death, she and her mother moved to Oregon and in 1940 they settled in Wecoma, now Lincoln City. In 1944 she moved to Roads End where she lived until her death in 2003.

Her paintings begin with a natural form though some seem abstract. The subjects of her paintings include growth and decay, constant mutation of form and force, universal repetition and endless variation. Well known for watercolors, she also worked in the encaustic method, an ancient wax and pigment medium with exceptional luminosity and performance. It involves a “heating in” process which creates extraordinarily transparent and brilliant color and unusual texture. Grover worked with various mixed media, acrylics and drawings. Her intense interest in basic natural patterns combined with exploration of various spatial, textural and color relations to produce unique works.

Grover was a member of the Oregon Society of Artists. She exhibited in Agate Shows and was president of the Agate Society for five years and secretary for one year. She also helped develop the Lincoln County Art Center where she taught children and adult classes in the 1940s. In 1952 she established Cascade Artists, a group of amateurs and professionals whose work Grover organized in exhibitions on the coast as well as throughout Oregon, Idaho, Washington and California.

From the 1960s until the end of her life she lived with her companion, Martha Kay Renfroe.


20 cubic feet

Content Description

The Ruth Dennis Grover papers consist of correspondence, personal papers on subjects including contracts, bills, receipts, school transcripts, interview transcript, statements about the artist, and financial information, photographs covering a wide range of subjects including the Oregon coast, Grover’s family and photographs of art works, as well as exhibition items, ephemera, scrapbooks and sketchbooks, material from her personal library and publications about Grover.


Grover, Ruth Dennis (1912-2003)

Renfroe, Martha, Kay (1938- )

Slusser, Jean Paul (1905-1978)

Wren, M.K.


Salem, Oregon

Pacific Northwest Artists Archive

Genre Form


Restrictions on Access

These papers are open to researchers.

Restrictions on Use

Library acts as “fair use” reproduction agent.; For further information, see the section on copyright in the Regulations and Procedures of the Willamette University Archives and Special Collections.; Copyright Information: Before material from collections at Willamette University Archives and Special Collections may be quoted in print, or otherwise reproduced, in whole or in part, in any publication, permission must be obtained from (1) the owner of the physical property, and (2) the holder of the copyright. It is the particular responsibility of the researcher to obtain both sets of permission. Persons wishing to quote from materials in any collections held by University Archives and Special Collections should consult the University Archivist. Reproduction of any item must contain a complete citation to the original.


Finding Aids


The Ruth Dennis Grover papers