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Ruth Dennis Grover papers

Identifier: WUA052

Scope and Contents

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.


  • 1880-1995


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

These papers are 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

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 Linear Feet (20 boxes)


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


The collection is arranged in eleven series: Series I. Correspondence; Series II. Personal papers; Series III. Photographs; Series IV. Exhibitions; Series V. Ephemera; Series VI. News clippings; Series VII. Articles about Grover; Series VIII. Cascade Artist Scrapbook, Series IX. Ruth Grover's Library, Series X. Grover sketchbooks and journal, and Series XI. Grover audio/visual materials.

Physical Location

Mark O. Hatfield Library

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Roger Hull, 2007 and 2008.
Guide to the Ruth Dennis Grover papers, 1880-1995
Finding aid processed by Nina Kulander.
© 2013
Description rules
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

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