Ernest Rutherford Groves was NCFR's 3rd President from 1940-42. was born May 6, 1877 in Framingham, Massachusetts to Henry Hunt and Hannah Sweard Groves. He received his B.D. from Yale Divinity School in 1901 and his A.B. from Dartmouth College in 1903. Professor Groves later received honorary doctorate degrees from Florida Southern College in 1942 and from Boston University in 1946.Although Professor Groves served for a short time as a pastor in Maine; he soon began the teaching and research, which would be his life’s work. Among the schools where he served as a faculty member were New Hampshire University, Dartmouth College, Boston University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina. He served as Dean of the Liberal Arts College at New Hampshire University from 1914 to 1920. Professor Groves taught at the University of North Carolina from 1927 until the time of his death. He was also often a visiting lecturer at various schools.
As a sociologist, Professor Groves developed the first college credit course in preparation for marriage (at Boston University in 1922, and at UNC in 1927). He wrote the first college text on the subject of marriage in 1933.
A prolific author, Professor Groves wrote more than twenty books and nearly 200 articles and became one of the leading and most respected family life educators in this country. Professor Groves’ work appeared in the popular journals of the day (Look, Good Housekeeping, Parents Magazine) as well as the academic journals (Social Forces, Journal of Educational Sociology). He served on the editorial boards of many of these publications.
Professor Groves was the first president of the North Carolina Mental Hygiene Society, serving from 1936 to 1938. He was president of the National Conference on Family Relations in 1941. From 1938 to 1940, Groves was chairman of the committee on the Family for the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America. Throughout his career, Professor Groves was an active member in numerous national and state organizations for marriage, family life, and mental hygiene.
Mr. Groves began the successful annual conferences on the Conservation of Marriage and the Family; at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Mrs. Groves had begun the conference at the North Carolina College for Negroes. They became affiliated in 1947. They eventually became known as the Groves Conference of Marriage and the Family, still in existence today.
It will be apparent, when reviewing the correspondence particularly, that Professor Groves was well loved and most respected. He was a compassionate, thoughtful man who gave generously of his time and expertise. Professor Groves devoted a great deal of his time to counseling patients, in person and via the mail. His work was progressive for its time; his advice is most often still applicable today.
Ernest Groves married Dorothy Doe, daughter of New Hampshire Chief Justice Charles Doe, in 1906. They had two daughters, Catherine Groves Peele, and Ernestine Groves O’Kane. Catherine also became a well-known educator and author, and occasionally collaborated with her father and stepmother. Dorothy Doe Groves died in 1916. On February 25, 1919, Ernest married Gladys Hoagland. They also had two daughters, Ruth Elva Petrillo Groves, and Lois Mary Groves McGill.
Ernest Groves died August 29, 1946 in Arlington, Massachusetts, where he was on vacation from teaching summer school at Boston University.