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Ruth Carter Stevenson, 1923-2013

Ruth Carter Stevenson at the Amon Carter Museum in 1961

The only daughter of longtime Fort Worth publisher and promoter Amon G. Carter and creator of a museum of American art dedicated in his name has died at age 89.

Ruth Carter Stevenson’s death Sunday night at her Fort Worth home was announced in a statement issued Monday by the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. The statement says she was instrumental in seeing her father’s wish for a museum specializing in Western art to be created. The art collected by the longtime publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram formed the core of the museum’s collection when it opened in January 1961.

Stevenson was a longtime patron of the arts in Fort Worth, a vigorous city booster and a trailblazer for women. For instance, she was the first woman to be appointed to the board of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

In a statement, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art’s board of trustees and staff said they mourned the passing of their longtime president of the board. “The daughter of the museum’s namesake, Amon G. Carter Sr. (1879–1955), Stevenson was solely responsible for seeing that her father’s wish to establish a museum for the city of Fort Worth was realized. Under her leadership, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art opened to the public in January 1961,” according to the statement.

The Amon Carter Museum of American Art, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2011, was honored with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s annual Spirit of Enterprise Award, the first time the award had gone to an arts organization for its contributions to the economic development of the community.

Stevenson was born in Fort Worth, attending North Hi-Mount Elementary School, Stripling Middle School, and Arlington Heights High School. After studying on the east coast, she returned to Fort Worth in 1949.

While much of her focus was on the Amon Carter Museum, her work in the arts community extended beyond the museum. At the age of 26, she was elected to the board of the Fort Worth Art Association. During her first year in this capacity, she helped organize the first major American art exhibition in Fort Worth, which included works by Winslow Homer. The following year, working with the Junior League, she helped lead an art education program designed for every fifth-grader in Fort Worth.

In 1960, Stevenson began a 23-year association with the Fort Worth City Art Commission, often serving as chairman. In 1963, she founded the Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. The same year she was also appointed to the board of regents of the University of Texas, becoming only the second woman to serve in that capacity up to that point.

After her brother Amon G. Carter Jr. died in 1982, she assumed the presidency of the Amon G. Carter Foundation. She served on the Amon Carter Museum of American Art’s board for more than 50 years, overseeing its expansion several years ago.

In 2007, Stevenson received the International Award of Excellence in Conservation from Fort Worth’s Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT). – the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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