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Collection Number: 11022

Collection Title: John Ruskin Papers, 1855-1896

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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Size 2.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 113 items)
Abstract John Ruskin was an English art critic, writer, and reformer. The collection includes letters, writings, and other items by or relating to John Ruskin. Included are eleven letters, 1882-1884, from John Ruskin to a Mrs. Tulloch about classes at a rural school for girls, appropriate books for the girls, and other matters; six letters, 1883 and undated, from Ruskin's cousin, Joan Ruskin Severn, about John Ruskin and other matters, about seventy letters, 1880-1887, from Ruskin to Jessie Leete about the progress of his work, various aspects of his personal life, his theories of labor, and other matters; eleven letters, 1881, from Ruskin's secretary, Laurence Hilliard, to Jessie Leete, concerning Ruskin's illness of that year; six letters, 1885-1887, from Ruskin to Sir Frank Short (1857-1945) about etchings of paintings by J. M. W. Turner; scattered other letters from Ruskin; drafts of parts of "Val D'Arno" and "Fors Clavigera" by Ruskin and notes and other items relating to those works; corrected page proofs, with Ruskin's annotations, of "Frondes Agrestes"; Ruskin's annotated copy of James Sowerby's "English Botany" (1863-1870) containing Ruskin's comments on etymolgies of plant names and classifications of plants; two signed photographs of Ruskin; and other items.
Creator Ruskin, John, 1819-1900.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the John Ruskin Papers #11022, Rare Book Literary and Historical Papers, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Purchased from multiple sources.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

John Ruskin, English are critic and writer, set out to establish superiority of modern landscape painters over the Old Masters in his Modern Painters (1843). He lectured on architecture, painting, and political economy of art and issued treatises on drawing and perspective.

Ruskin was the first Slade professor of fine arts at Oxford (1869-1879, 1883-1884). He attempted to inspire radical change in attitudes toward art, religion, and economics. Ruskin died from influenza on 20 January 1900.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection includes letters, writings, and other items by or relating to John Ruskin. Included are eleven letters, 1882-1884, from John Ruskin to a Mrs. Tulloch about classes at a rural school for girls, appropriate books for the girls, and other matters; six letters, 1883 and undated, from Ruskin's cousin, Joan Ruskin Severn, about John Ruskin and other matters, about seventy letters, 1880-1887, from Ruskin to Jessie Leete about the progress of his work, various aspects of his personal life, his theories of labor, and other matters; eleven letters, 1881, from Ruskin's secretary, Laurence Hilliard, to Jessie Leete, concerning Ruskin's illness of that year; six letters, 1885-1887, from Ruskin to Sir Frank Short (1857-1945) about etchings of paintings by J. M. W. Turner; scattered other letters from Ruskin; drafts of parts of "Val D'Arno" and "Fors Clavigera" by Ruskin and notes and other items relating to those works; corrected page proofs, with Ruskin's annotations, of "Frondes Agrestes"; Ruskin's annotated copy of James Sowerby's "English Botany" (1863-1870) containing Ruskin's comments on etymolgies of plant names and classifications of plants; two signed photographs of Ruskin; and other items.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1855-1896 and undated.

107 items.

Primarily letters from Ruskin to various business and personal correspondents.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. Jessie Leete Letters, 1880-1887.

72 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Letters from John Ruskin to Jessie Leete, the governess for whom he wrote The Bible of Amiens. Topics include his state of mind and preoccupations during his later years; the progress of his work; relations with other girls; recurring attacks of insanity; recommendations for reading; family background; views on prose composition; gratitude for letters from Leete; pleasure at her impending marriage and relief at its cancellation; activities at Brantwood, his estate in Coniston, Lancashire; theories of labor; Carlyle's posthumous reputation; hopes for the future; and growing need for seclusion. Among the letters are eleven by Ruskin's secretary, Laurence Hilliard, during Ruskin's second attack of madness in February and March 1881 that record the progress of the "Master's" illness and slow recovery.

Folder 1

1880 #11022, Subseries: "1.1. Jessie Leete Letters, 1880-1887." Folder 1

Folder 2

1881 #11022, Subseries: "1.1. Jessie Leete Letters, 1880-1887." Folder 2

Folder 3

1882-1887 #11022, Subseries: "1.1. Jessie Leete Letters, 1880-1887." Folder 3

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. Mrs. Tulloch Letters, 1882-1884 and undated.

14 items.

Letters from John Ruskin to Mrs. Tulloch, a teacher of needlework and sewing at a rural school for girls, about her classes and books suitable for her pupils, among them the novels of Kate Greenaway. Also included are three letters from Joan Ruskin Severn concerning her cousin John (whom she calls "the master"), her husband Arthur, her husband's father Joseph (1793-1879), and her children. There is also a clipping of a letter from John Ruskin, published in the Manchester City News in 1884, about the destructive effect of railroads on the countryside, found among these letters.

Folder 4

Mrs. Tulloch letters #11022, Subseries: "1.2. Mrs. Tulloch Letters, 1882-1884 and undated." Folder 4

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.3. Other Letters, 1855-1896 and undated.

23 items.

Primarily business correspondence of John Ruskin, including six letters to Sir Francis "Frank" Short (1857-1945) about etchings of Turner's painting that Short was making; letters about illustrations for various publications; a letter to W. Riley about the Abbeydale estate; and a letter to Mr. Rogers returning a manuscript. Also included is a photocopy of a letter signed by Ruskin that had been tipped inside a copy of Modern Painters; a photocopy of a letter from Aubrey De Vere (1788-1846), poet and historical dramatist, transmitting a book to Ruskin and commenting at length on Irish history; and a letter from John Taylor (1829-1893), author of Ruskiniana, a bibliography of the writings of Ruskin, inquiring about early articles on Ruskin.

Folder 5

Other letters #11022, Subseries: "1.3. Other Letters, 1855-1896 and undated." Folder 5

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Volumes, 1863-1875.

9 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Folder 6

Volume 1: 1863-1870, 235 pp. Volume 1 (text) of James Sowerby's English Botany or Coloured Figures of British Plants, with underlining and brief annotations by John Ruskin. #11022, Series: "2. Volumes, 1863-1875." Folder 6

Folder 7

Volume 2: 1863-1870, 161 pp. Volume 1 (plates) of James Sowerby's English Botany, with annotations through Plate 92, some extensive, by John Ruskin. #11022, Series: "2. Volumes, 1863-1875." Folder 7

Folder 8

Volume 3: 1863-1870, 246 pp. Volume 2 (text) of James Sowerby's English Botany, with accent marks, underlining, and brief annotations by John Ruskin. #11022, Series: "2. Volumes, 1863-1875." Folder 8

Folder 9

Volume 4: 1863-1870, 160 pp. Volume 2 (plates) of James Sowerby's English Botany, with brief annotations and a few transpositions of Roman numerals into Arabic by John Ruskin. #11022, Series: "2. Volumes, 1863-1875." Folder 9

Folder 10

Volume 5: 1863-1870, 268 pp. Volume 3 (text) of James Sowerby's English Botany, with an annotation on page 2 by John Ruskin. #11022, Series: "2. Volumes, 1863-1875." Folder 10

Folder 11

Volume 6: 1863-1870, 183 pp. Volume 10 (text) of James Sowerby's English Botany, no annotations. #11022, Series: "2. Volumes, 1863-1875." Folder 11

Folder 12

Volume 7: 1863-1870, 160 pp. Volume 10 (plates) of James Sowerby's English Botany, no annotations. #11022, Series: "2. Volumes, 1863-1875." Folder 12

Folder 13

Volume 8: 1873-1874, 250 pp. Autograph working manuscript and notes for Val D'Arno and Fors Clavigera, comprising text, with annotated passages for lectures 6-10 of Val D'Arno ("Marble Couchant," "Marble Rampant," "Franchise," "The Tyrrhene Sea," and "Fleur-de-Lys") and for letters 35 (December 1873) and 36 (January 1874) of Fors Claviegera. Also included are notes contrasting Ruskin's own drawings favorably with those of Giulio Romano, the draft of a letter defending his concept of economic supply and demand, tables of chess moves, and part of a critique of Bewick's woodengraving. #11022, Series: "2. Volumes, 1863-1875." Folder 13

Folder 15

Volume 9: 1875, 180 pp. Corrected page proofs (with Ruskin's autograph annotations) of Frondes Agrestes. #11022, Series: "2. Volumes, 1863-1875." Folder 15

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Pictures, Undated.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

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Processing Information

Processed by: Suzanne Ruffing, May 1996

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

This collection was processed with support, in part, from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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