Frederic G. Renner Western American History Scholarship

The Frederic G. Renner Western American History Scholarship supports graduate students in the History Department who are working toward their M.A. or Ph.D. and whose focus of study is Western American history. 

The Renner Scholarship was established after the death of Ginger Renner, a nationally recognized Western art dealer and an expert on Charles Russell. In 1973, she married Frederic Gordon Renner, who, until his death in 1987, was considered the world’s foremost authority on Charles Russell. The Renners met in Great Falls in 1970 at the second annual Russell Art Auction. A Great Falls native, Fred Renner developed a passion for Charles Russell at a young age. His parents were friends of Charles and Nancy Russell, and Renner’s first memories were of Russell’s action-filled paintings displayed in the businesses of downtown Great Falls. Renner started collecting Charlie Russell postcards at the age of five. In 1938, he acquired his first original Russell artwork—Meat for the Wagons—after mortgaging his house to raise the money to buy it.

In 1961, Renner retired from his position as soil conservation and range management specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to devote himself full time to Russell research and collecting. He assembled an archive of more than 4,000 records on Russell’s artistic output, as well as a large collection of Russell paintings, sculpture, personal effects, and memorabilia. Upon Fred Renner’s death, Ginger assumed her husband’s role of foremost Russell expert and authenticator, serving for two decades as an advisor and consultant to auction houses, museums, and galleries. She was a founding member of the Russell Museum’s national advisory board, formed in 1983, and sat on its board of directors. She was a generous contributor to the museum’s development fund and a major resource for the Russell catalogue raisonné, which was completed in 2007 by the Charles M. Russell Center at the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City.