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Collection Overview

Ruskin, John, 1819-1900.
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections and Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Princeton University Library Collection of John Ruskin Materials
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
2 boxes and 2.42 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Boxes 1, P-000131


Consists of correspondence, manuscripts, and miscellanea of the nineteenth-century English art critic, social reformer, and educator John Ruskin.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of selected letters and manuscripts by Ruskin. Correspondents include Jean Ingelow, Constance and Eva Layton, Henry Attwell, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. There are seven letters to George Allen, Ruskin's publisher, in which the author discusses his work. Of the manuscripts included in the collection, one is a three-page portion from chapter three of Unto This Last; and other is one page from The Queen of the Air. Both have holograph corrections and emendations. Furthermore, there is a small watercolor of a mountain scene painted by Ruskin, with autograph annotations on the verso. Also present are a few letters to Princeton librarian Laurence Heyl from other librarians, discussing the Ruskin material.

The following standard abbreviations, or their variations, are used to identify materials in this collection: ALS = autograph letter signed, AMs = autograph manuscript, AN = autograph note, and DS = document signed.


The collection is primarily arranged in accession number order.

Collection Creator Biography:

Ruskin, John, 1819-1900.

John Ruskin, English writer, artist, art critic, and collector, was born on February 8, 1819, in London, England. Educated at Oxford University, Ruskin met J. M. W. Turner in 1840. Ruskin wrote Tuner's entry in the 1843 Modern Painters and later became his patron. After leaving Oxford, Ruskin began lecturing and writing about art and society and quickly became an eminent critic. In the 1850s, he supported the Pre-Raphaelites, who had been influenced by his writings on "truth to nature." Ruskin's 1849 book, The Seven Lamps of Architecture, argued that art represented the moral state of society. In the 1870s, he established the Guild of St George, an idealistic social group.

Collection History


This collection was formed as a result of departmental practice of combining into one collection manuscript material of various accessions relating to a particular author.


No appraisal information is available for materials processed before 2017. Post 2017, mo materials were removed during processing beyond routine appraisal practices.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Karla J. Vecchia in 2004 . Finding aid written by Karla J. Vecchia in 2004.

Biography written by Alyxandra Cullen, '09.

Finding aid updated by Faith Charlton in 2019.

Some administrative materials were added to the collection file in 2019.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Princeton University Library Collection of John Ruskin Materials; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Boxes 1, P-000131

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The following sources were consulted during preparation of biographical note: Grove Art Online.

Subject Terms:
Art critics -- England -- 19th century.
Genre Terms:
Watercolors -- England -- 19th century.