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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
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): 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


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 photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

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:
Firestone Library (mss): 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.