University of Texas, Alexander Architectural Archive

Frederick E. Ruffini:

An Inventory of his Collection

Collection Summary

Creator: Ruffini, Frederick E. (1851-1885)
Title: Frederick E. Ruffini collection
Abstract: Frederick Ernst Ruffini (1851-1885) was trained in architecture in Cleveland before moving to Austin in 1877 to become a partner to Jasper N. Preston for two years before continuing architectural practice on his own. His work included courthouses, jails, and buildings for institutions such as the Texas School for the Deaf and the University of Texas, for whom he designed the Old Main Building. The Frederick E. Ruffini collection consists of 47 drawings, 1 letterbook, 15 specifications, photographic prints.
Identification: 1992004, 2006008
Quantity: 47 drawings, 1 letterbook, 15 specifications, photographic prints
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Biographical Sketch of Frederick E. Ruffini

"Frederick Ernst Ruffini [1851-1885], architect, was reared in Cleveland, Ohio. He received his architectural training there and gained considerable architectural experience in Cleveland before he moved to Austin in 1877 as partner to Jasper N. Preston. The partnership lasted two years, after which time Ruffini practiced alone. In his advertisements Ruffini listed as examples of his work many courthouses and jails as well as public and commercial buildings. Most of his courthouses have been replaced by later structures. The mansard roofed courthouse of his design in Blanco was built in 1885; it was still standing in the early 1990s. His outstanding buildings in Austin included the Millett Opera House; Texas School for the Deaf; the Hancock Building on West Pecan Street (now West Sixth Street), where Ruffini had his offices; the Hancock Opera House; and the most important of all, the Old Main Building of the University of Texas. That structure was begun in 1882, but only the west wing was completed when Ruffini died in November 1885. The central tower and last wing were completed according to his plans following his death. The large watercolor that his brother, Oscar Ruffini, painted of the Old Main Building was hanging in the Barker Texas History Center in Sid Richardson Hall at the University of Texas at Austin in 1972. Plans for the erection and completion of the west wing of the Old Main Building are in the university archives. Of all the buildings Ruffini designed in Austin only the Millett Opera House, now much altered, was still standing in 1990. A number of architectural drawings and watercolors of building specifications were on file in the Texas State Archives. Among the collection of drawings were plans for nine courthouses in Georgetown, Franklin, San Marcos, Sulphur Springs (Hopkins County), Quitman, Longview, Corsicana, Blanco, and Henderson. Plans for jails (prisons) included those for New Braunfels, McKinney, Franklin, Groesbeck, and Burnet (with sheriff's residence). Ruffini was married. When his wife Elsie died in October 1885, they had three surviving children; F. E. Ruffini died less than one month later, on November 16, 1885."

Source: "RUFFINI, FREDERICK ERNST." The Handbook of Texas Online.

[Accessed Wed Sep 11 9:25:59 US/Central 2002]

Scope and Content of the collection

The Frederick E. Ruffini collection consists of 45 drawings, 1 letterbook, 15 specifications, photographic prints.


Restrictions on Access

Access is by appointment only to any serious scholar. Rolled materials must be flattened before viewing. A three-day advance notice is required to flatten rolled materials. Portions of this collection are not processed and may not be accessible.

Restrictions on Use

Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Texas as the owner of the collection and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder which must be obtained by the researcher. For more information please see the Alexander Architectural Archive's Use Policy.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Texas Online Catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Ruffini, Frederick E.(1851-1885)
Architecture, Modern--19th century--Texas.
Architecture, Modern--20th century--Texas.
Architecture--Texas--Designs and plans.
Public architecture--Texas.
Public buildings--Texas.
German American architects--Texas.
School facilities--Texas.
Universities and colleges--Texas--Buildings.
Austin (Tex.)--Buildings, structures, etc.
Texas Hill Country (Tex.)--Buildings, structures, etc.
Document Types:
Architectural drawings--Texas--Modern architecture--1877-1937.
Specifications--Texas--Modern architecture--1877-1937.
Photographs--Texas--Modern architecture--1877-1937.
Legal documents--Texas--Modern architecture--1877-1937.

Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources for further information.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Frederick E. Ruffini collection, Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

Processing Information

Processing is not completed. Please see archival staff for more information.

References to works by or about Frederick E. Ruffini

These citations are taken from the Texas State Library and Archive Commission website.

Chubb, Curtis Evans. Biography of the Old Blanco County Courthouse.San Antonio, Tex.: Burke Pub. Co, 1999.

Prestiano, Robert. "Oscar Ruffini: the early years." Fort Concho Report, 16 (Summer 1984): 3-23

Dickey, Susan Jean. F.E. and Oscar Ruffini: Texas architects, 1877-1917. (Doctoral dissertation, Texas Tech University, 1993).

Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Pioneer Texas architects: F.E. and Oscar Ruffini, 1870-1917.(web exhibit)

Detailed Description of the Collection

This collection has not been processed. See archival staff for more information.