Ruth Esherick BascomIt is with heavy hearts that we share with you all new of the death of Ruth Esherick Bascom, 93, daughter of the sculptor Wharton Esherick, who died of congestive heart failure at Paoli Hospital on October 23rd. She donated her body for medical education. She was born June 28, 1922 at the family’s home on Diamond Rock Hill, Paoli.

In her youth she was active with the Hedgerow Theatre in Rose Valley, first appearing on stage at age nine in A. A. Milne’s ‘Make Believe” and apprenticing at the theater during her senior year at Radnor High School. For the next 15 years she was a member of the theater’s permanent company, specializing in stage lighting. Her favorite acting role was Madeline in Susan Glaspel’s “Inheritors”.

Ruth in Inheritors

Ruth in a performance at Hedgerow Theatre.

She left to be stage manager for the singer Libby Holman, setting-up stages across the country, including the Dag Hamerskold Auditorium at the United Nations in New York, for her “Blues, Ballads and Sin Songs” tour. (It was Ms Holman’s Christopher Reynolds World Peace Foundation that sent Martin Luther King to India to study non-violent protest under Mahatma Gandhi.)

In 1962 Ruth married Mansfield Bascom, the Director of Architecture and Engineering for the International Basic Economy Corporation in Puerto Rico. Together they were instrumental in preserving her father’s Paoli sculpting studio, a National Historic Landmark for Architecture, with a major collection of his work – woodcuts, sculpture, sculptural furniture and furnishings – to share them with the public as the Wharton Esherick Museum (, converting his furniture workshop into their residence.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by a step-daughter Halsey Bascom and an “adopted” daughter Helyn Sacher. There will be a memorial service for her in the spring, at the museum.

Ruth outside the '56 Workshop (no date)Her obituary will be printed in the Philadelphia Inquirer Saturday, 11/7. Memorial contributions can be made through the Support page on our website – please denote the memorial contribution in the notes section at check out. Thank you.