Skip to Main Content
University of Oregon
UO Libraries

Historic Knight Library: Art & Architecture

Guide to the art and architecture of the 1937 historic Knight Library, University of Oregon, Eugene.

CLARENCE E. BATES (1910-1999)

Clarence E. Bates assisted Arthur Clough in wood carving works for the historic Knight Library.  He was the principal carver of the works Diana and Pan designed by Phyllis Muirden Ryder

Clarence Bates, La Grande, Oregon, 1941. Minor White, American, 1908–1976

Clarence Bates, La Grande, Oregon, 1941. Photographer: Minor White, American, 1908–1976. Courtesy of The Minor White Archive, Princeton University Art Museum, bequest of Minor White. © Trustees of Princeton University


Clarence Emory Bates was born near Oakridge, Oregon, on June 9, 1910, to John and Margery Bates.  His father was a logger who moved his family to Idaho for several years before returning to Oakridge.   Despite her husband's 1925, Margery Bates managed to raise five children alone including two, Raymond and Clarence, who pursued careers in art.

Clarence Bates was educated at the University of Oregon and in 1934 entered the Cornish School, now the Cornish College of the Arts, in Seattle. Upon returning to Oakridge in 1935, Bates worked on local WPA projects before obtaining WPA funding in February 1936 to assist with carving wood panels for the new library which was under construction. The following year he was assisting with teaching sculpture at the School of Architecture and Allied Arts while continuing to help Arthur Clough with carved wood projects. Beginning in 1939, Bates was employed with the Salem, Oregon, Art Center funded by the WPA where he had a management position and taught sculpture and wood carving.  

In 1943, Bates enlisted and his World War II service included supervising Red Cross Arts & Crafts programs in the South Pacific.  He settled in the Monterrey Peninsula in 1946 where he taught art in different local institutions and became highly regarded for his landscape paintings which can be seen today at online auction sites like Bates died in Carmel, California, on January 27, 1999.

Chat Email Phone Text



"Art Center Committee Discusses Education." Daily Capitol Journal (Salem, Oregon), May 30, 1940, 8.

"Art Center Notes". Statesman Journal (Salem, Oregon), November 26, 1939, 7.

"Bates Classes Continue."  Daily Capitol Journal (Salem, Oregon), June 15, 1940, 4.

Clarence Bates.

"Sale of Original Pieces Starts at Art Center." Daily Capitol Journal (Salem, Oregon), October 10, 1940, 13.

U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2011.

"University Student Talks at Service" Eugene Guard (Eugene, Oregon), March 25, 936, 5.

Who's Who in Northwest Art.  Edited by Marion Brymner Appleton.  Seattle: Frank McCaffrey, 1941.