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 Sarah Hayes Woodruff  (1860 - 1924)

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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania      Known for: Still life, portrait and landscape painting

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Still life with boots, sox and Chinese doll
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Sarah Hayes Woodruff   (1860 – 1924)

Sarah Hayes Woodruff was born March 10, 1860 in Girard, Erie County, Pennsylvania.  She was one of three children born to Samuel E. and Eliza Sterrett Woodruff.  Her father was a son of a Presbyterian minister who had moved to Ohio with his family from Connecticut.  Educated in the East, he subsequently studied law in Cincinnati and moved to Girard in 1844 where he opened his law practice.  He married in 1847 and was elected District Attorney a few years later.  He eventually won election as President Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit.  

In 1872 the Woodruff family moved to the city of Erie, Pennsylvania.  Their new residence at 417 State Street was the former home of Callista Ingersoll Gara, who, with her sister, had earlier operated a school for young ladies there and was herself an artist of note.   

Little is recorded about Sarah’s personal history, education, artistic influences or her pursuit of any career other than painting.  She was 24 at the time of the 1884 Erie Exposition and was noted as contributing four works.  Known as a cultured lady, Sarah was among the early proponents of the Art Club, attending its first organizational meeting in 1898.  In addition she acted as the Club’s first secretary and was a member of its council.  She also actively participated in exhibitions, showing her work as late as 1920.  Although the artist did portraits and landscapes, she specialized and was noted for her still life studies, especially flowers.

On December 8, 1924, after having contracted pneumonia, she died in Hamot Hospital at the age of 64.  

In an additional note, her former home at 417 State Street is now the site of the Erie County History Society and 16 of her paintings have been preserved there.   

Biography excerpted from the unpublished manuscript by Dr. Kirk W. Steehler, “Erie Artists – A History of Heroes.”  Courtesy of Erie Art Museum

Submitted by Edward T. Bentley, researcher of Lansing, Michigan

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