“Kent filled a unique spot in making history available to the general public. He probably did more to popularize history than any other writer; that was his unique gift.”
Oklahoma native Kent Ringelman Ruth seamlessly wove history and journalism into a prolific writing career. He spent most of his life in Geary and contracted polio when he was an infant. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, he was the travel writer, historian, and columnist for The Oklahoman for nearly 40 years. His widely-read “Window on the Past” columns were collected in several books and he was the author of many other works including Oklahoma Travel Handbook (1977), Oklahoma: A Guide to the Sooner State (1957), How to Enjoy Your Western Vacations (1956), Windows on the Past: Historic Places in Oklahoma (1984), Great Day in the West: Forts, Posts and Rendezvous Beyond the Mississippi (1963), and Colorado Vacations (1959). In 1989, Ruth received an award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for his “inspiration and unending leadership in historic preservation in the state of Oklahoma.” Throughout his career he served on such boards as the Oklahoma Historical Society and the Oklahoma Heritage Association (now the Oklahoma Hall of Fame), and was a charter member of the Indian Territory Posse of the Oklahoma Westerners.
In 1969, Kent Ruth began documenting nearly 500 nominations for Oklahoma sites to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. He also traveled the entire U.S. twice every year, with his sister driving while he gathered information for his newspaper column.
Ruth was born and raised in Geary, Oklahoma.