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Claudia Cave papers

Identifier: WUA118

Scope and Contents

The Claudia Cave papers include materials related to her art career during the years 1974 to 2016. The collection includes: mail art, sketchbooks, slides of drawings and paintings, photographs, promotional fliers, newspapers, books, digital files, t-shirts, a cardboard cutout of Cave, and correspondence. The mail art consists of 3D pieces as well as national, international, and collaborative art correspondence between Cave and other artists from 1974 to 2003. The sketchbooks contain graphite, ink, and color drawings and paintings from 1989 to 2004. Box 12 contains published books that use Cave’s works as cover art and compilation books of artists’ works that include Cave’s art. Correspondence can be found throughout all three series and includes letters to Cave from friends and colleagues as well as letters from museums and boards concerning exhibits and awards.


  • 1974-2016


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Conditions Governing 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.

Biographical / Historical

Claudia Cave was born in 1951 in Salem, Oregon. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art Education from Western Oregon University in 1975 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Idaho in 1980. Cave participated in the mail art movement between 1974 and 2003. The mail art movement (also known as postal art or correspondence art) began in the late 1950s to early 1960s as artists corresponded with each other by sending artwork through the postal service. Cave’s mail art network included regional, national, and international artists such as Kent Sumner, Julien Howe, L. C. Foster, Kathleen Salt, Chris Hannegan, Bonnie Hull, D. E. May, Guy Bleus, Carlo Pittore, Robin Crozier, Ryosuke Cohen, and Jürgen Kierspel. Cave’s earlier works, including her mail art, are in black and white graphite while her paintings are in gouache and watercolor on paper. Cave’s work is described as vivid and dream-like. She often uses animal imagery, especially dogs, in her works to emphasize the animal-like nature of humans and the human-like nature of animals. Cave’s art has been shown in many exhibits and is included in public and private collections including the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon; the Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon; the University of Oregon science complex in Eugene, Oregon; the Alternative Museum in New York City; the Seattle Art Museum in Seattle, Washington; the Cheney Cowles Museum in Spokane, Washington; and the Hockaday Center for the Arts in Kalispell, Montana. She also has work in the Visual Chronicle of Portland Collection and the Seattle Portable Works Collections. Corporations including Microsoft, Mentor Graphics, and Intel also collect her work. In 2006 she was included in a show at Kaye Academic College of Education in Israel.

According to Cave, her recent work has been primarily experimental. She has not shown her work in exhibits in several years. Cave currently lives with her spouse, artist Kent Sumner, in Corvallis, Oregon where she also maintains her studio.


5 Linear Feet (12 boxes)


The Claudia Cave papers consist of mail art, sketchbooks, slides of drawings and paintings, photographs, promotional fliers, newspapers, books, digital files, t-shirts, a cardboard cutout of Cave, and correspondence related to Cave’s art career during the years 1974 to 2016.


The records are arranged into three series: I. Art, II. Art exhibits or shows, and III. Art in publications. Series I also includes three subseries: A. Mail art, B. Sketchbooks, and C. Drawings or paintings. Files are arranged in original order and in chronological order.

Physical Location

Mark O. Hatfield Library
Guide to the Claudia Cave papers, 1974-2016
Finding aid processed by Jennifer L. Gehringer.
© 2018
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
Processed with funds provided by the National Historical Publications & Records Commission's (NHPRC) Access to Historical Records grant.

Repository Details

Part of the Willamette University Archives and Special Collections Collection Descriptions

Mark O. Hatfield Library
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 United States