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Mark Sponenburgh papers

Identifier: WUA120

Scope and Contents

The Mark Sponenburgh papers include materials related to Sponenburgh’s careers as an artist, educator, and scholar. Series I (Art) contains photographs, drawings, and slides of sculpture by Sponenburgh as well as photographs and slides of art by other artists. Series II (Career) consists of materials related to his education at Cranbrook Academy of Arts and Wayne University, his career as an artist and sculptor, and his teaching careers at the National College of Arts at Lahore, Pakistan, the University of Oregon, and Oregon State University. These materials include: correspondence; exhibition fliers and pamphlets; published journal articles; academic journals; photographs; newspaper articles; newsletters and honors regarding the Monuments Men; documents concerning the creation of the Hogue-Sponenburgh collection at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art; syllabi and notes for courses taught by Sponenburgh; documents concerning the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan; and designs and proposals for public sculptures created by Sponenburgh. Series III (Travel) contains photographs and slides from Sponenburgh’s travels, including various cities in France, Pakistan, Egypt, and England.


  • circa 1940-2017


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

Mark Ritter Sponenburgh was born on June 15, 1918, in Cadillac, Michigan and died on December 6, 2012, in Seal Rock, Oregon. He studied sculpture at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan from 1939-1940 and Wayne University in Detroit, Michigan from 1940-1941. In 1942 Sponenburgh enlisted in the United States’ Army and was assigned to Combat Intelligence Training. In 1944 he was assigned to the Corps of Engineers as part of the IXth Engineers Command where he analyzed and reproduced maps for the cartography section at the Command headquarters in Paris, France. His unit participated in the D-Day landings at Normandy, and advanced through France, Holland, Belgium, and the Rhineland during World War II. In June 1945 Sponenburgh requested to transfer to the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archive (MFAA) division. He was originally stationed at the Wiesbaden Central Collecting Point, but transferred in September 1945 to the salt mine at Altaussee, Austria, which was the main Nazi storage depot for Adolf Hitler’s collection of stolen art and cultural objects. As a member of the Monuments Men, Sponenburgh assisted in operations to transfer the items to the Munich Central Collecting Point for sorting, cataloguing, and eventual restitution.

After the end of his military service, Sponenburgh continued his graduate studies at the Ecôle des Beaux Arts in Paris, France. While in Paris, he married Huguette Ozanon. In 1946 the couple moved to Eugene, Oregon for Sponenburgh’s faculty position in Architecture and Allied Arts at the University of Oregon. In 1951 Sponenburgh traveled to Egypt as a Fulbright Scholar at the American Research Center in Cairo, where he continued his studies and research in sculpture, carving, and ancient Egyptian sculpture and art. He returned to Eugene in 1953.

From 1956-1957, Sponenburgh taught as a visiting professor at the Royal College of Arts in London, England. In 1957 he was commissioned by the government of Pakistan to establish the National College of Arts in Lahore, where he served as principal (Dean) of the college and a professor. While working in Pakistan, he organized the first national exhibition of regional Swat folk art. Sponenburgh remained in Pakistan until 1961 when he moved with his wife Huguette to Paris, France, due to her battle with cancer. Huguette Sponenburgh died on June 26, 1961. Sponenburgh returned to Oregon by invitation from fellow MFAA veteran Gordon Gilkey to establish the Art History program at Oregon State University in Corvallis in 1961. Sponenburgh taught at Oregon State until 1983, when he retired as Professor Emeritus.

Sponenburgh was a member of many influential and prestigious organizations including the International Association of Egyptologists, the Royal Society of Arts, the Royal Society of Antiquaries, the International Association of Art Historians, the American Research Center in Egypt, and the Oxford Society. In 1990 Sponenburgh and his wife, Janeth Hogue-Sponenburgh, who he married in December 1962, donated their extensive art collection to Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. This collection helped secure the creation of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University in 1998. The Mark and Janeth Sponenburgh Gallery includes over 250 Ancient, European, Middle Eastern, and Asian art works and historical artifacts.

As a lifelong sculptor, Sponenburgh created over 170 pieces of art in stone, wood, and mixed media, which explored human and animal forms and ocean wave patterns. His work can be found in private and public exhibits throughout the United States and abroad including the Detroit Institute of Arts (Madonna), the Portland Art Museum (Torso and Birds in Flight), the Hallie Ford Museum of Art (The Collector), Willamette University (Town and Gown), Oregon State University (bronze bust of Linus Pauling), the University of Oregon, and the United States’ Embassy in Cairo, Egypt.


7.25 Linear Feet (17 boxes)


The Mark Sponenburgh papers include materials related to Sponenburgh’s careers as an artist, educator, and scholar from 1940-2017.


The records are arranged into three series: I. Art, II. Career, and III. Travel. Files are arranged in original order, alphabetical order, and chronological order.

Physical Location

Mark O. Hatfield Library
Guide to the Mark Sponenburgh papers, circa 1940-2017
Finding aid processed by Jennifer L. Gehringer.
© 2019
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