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:RUF 1992004; 2006008; 2006014
Quantity:47 drawings, 1 letterbook, 15 specifications, photographic prints
Language:Materials are in English.
Repository:Alexander Architectural Archives, 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 Most of his courthouses have been replaced by later structures.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.


Policies Governing Use and Access

This collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using archival materials. As all or portions of this collection may be housed off-site, advance notice of at least three working days is required for retrieval. Certain items may require additional time for flattening or humidifying before they can be viewed. Access is by appointment only. Please contact the archives' reference staff for further information.

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. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasions of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person).

The Alexander Architectural Archives operate in accordance with applicable federal or state laws and regulations, providing unrestricted access to university records not covered by state and federal right to privacy acts.

The Alexander Architectural Archives, The University of Texas Libraries, and The University of Texas at Austin, assume no responsibility for infringement of literary property rights and copyright or for liability to any person for defamation or invasion of privacy that results from a researcher's use of collections.

Researchers agree to indemnify and hold harmless The University of Texas at Austin, and their officers, employees, and agents from and against all suits, claims, actions, and expenses arising out of use of collections held by the libraries. Please alert staff if anything inappropriate is found during research.

Copyright interests in this collection may not have been transferred to the University of Texas. Researchers assume full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply. Additionally, the public use of material must be cited. See citation information below.

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


Frederick E. Ruffini collection, Alexander Architectural Archives, 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.