A Guide to the William Henry Ruffner Papers, 1848-1907 Ruffner, William Henry, 1848-1907, Papers of 24814

A Guide to the William Henry Ruffner Papers, 1848-1907

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 24814


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© 2002 By the Library of Virginia.

Funding: Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Processed by: Description Services Staff

Repository
Library of Virginia
Accession number
24814
Title
William Henry Ruffner Papers, 1848-1907
Physical Characteristics
0.45 cubic feet (102 items and 1 volume); negative photostats.
Physical Location
Personal papers collection. Acc. 24814.
Language
English

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

William Henry Ruffner Papers, 1848-1907. Accession 24814, Personal papers collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

Acquisition Information

Lent for copying by Robert F. Campbell, through Charles W. Dabney, Winter Park, Florida, 26 January 1932.


Biographical/Historical Information

William Henry Ruffner was born 11 February 1824 in Lexington, Virginia, to Henry Ruffner (1790-1861) and Sarah Montgomery Lyle Ruffner (1787-1849). He graduated from Washington College in Lexington in 1842 and returned to receive his MA in 1845. Ruffner attended Union Theological Seminary in Hampden-Sidney, Virginia from 1845 to 1846 and attended Princeton Theological Seminary from 1846 to 1847. He was ordained a Presbyterian minister 14 January 1852 and became minister of Seventh Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsvylania. After resigning for health reasons in 1853, Ruffner returned to Virginia and became a successful farmer. An antislavery advocate and Unionist before the Civil War, Ruffner adhered to the Southern cause after Abraham Lincoln called for troops in response to the firing upon Fort Sumter. After the Civil War, Ruffner became an advocate of public education and was elected the first superintendent for public instruction 2 March 1870. He served until 1882, when turned out of office by the Readjuster party. Ruffner served as a trustee of Washington College and Washington and Lee University from 1865 to 1876. After leaving the superintendent post, Ruffner served as president of the Normal School in Farmville, Virginia, from 1884 to 1887. He then became a surveyor and geologist for the next several years. Ruffner wrote on education and theology. He married Harriet Ann Gray 3 September 1850 and they had four children. Ruffner died in Asheville, North Carolina, 24 November 1908.

Scope and Content Information

Papers, 1848-1907 (bulk 1866-1907), of William Henry Ruffner (1824-1908) of Lexington, Virginia, consisting of abstracts, articles, clippings, legislative bills, biographies, circular letters, diaries, letters, lists, minutes, notes, receipts, and testimonials regarding education in Virginia. Of interest are testimonials for William Henry Ruffner to be Virginia's first superintendent of public instruction, correspondence concerning his plans for education in Virginia, and exchange of ideas with other educators. Also contains notes on the history of education in Virginia. There is a list of teachers in antebellum Virginia. Collection also contains information on John Chavis (ca. 1775-1838), a free black Presbyterian minister in the early 1800s and an article on Jack Neal, a slave. Two letters of interest are: a) 23 February 1853 from Anne S. Rice to Henry Ruffner (1790-1861) about her slaves and the American Colonization Society; and b) 9 May 1900, from Laura A. Holland to William Henry Ruffner about Booker T. Washington. Collection also contains a description of a trip to the Northern Neck of Virginia, and William Henry Ruffner's diary, 1870-1907, describing his travels around the state of Virginia. Also of interest are letters from Stonewall Jackson's (1824-1863) sister-in-law Margaret Junkin Preston (1820-1897) and from Jackson's second wife Mary Anna Morrison Jackson (1831-1915).

Contents List

Folder 1
1: Minutes of Board of Trustees of Washington College, Lexington, Virginia, 21 June 1848
2 p.
Folder 1
2: Letter. Henry Ruffner, Louisville, to Mrs. George E. Dabney, Lexington, Virginia, 29 May 1849
4 p.
Folder 1
3: Letter. Anne S. Rice, [Mrs. John Holt Rice], Rice Hill, to [Henry Ruffner?], 23 February 1853
4 p.
Folder 1
4: Letter. W. H. Ruffner, Winchester, Virginia, to Mrs. W. H. Ruffner, 7 July 1861
6 p.
Folder 1
5: Letter. James M. Brown, Ka. C. H., to W. H. Ruffner, 9 July 1861
4 p.
Folder 1
6: Letter. Henry Ruffner, Kanawha Salines, to daughter Julia, 7 May 1861
2 p.
Folder 2
7: Letter. W[illiam] H. McGuffey, University of Virginia, to Wm. Henry Ruffner, 21 May 1866
2 p.
Folder 2
8: Letter. Francis H. Smith, Virginia Military Institute, to W. H. Ruffner, Lexington, Virginia, 22 January 1867
2 p.
Folder 2
9: Letter. Joseph Henry, Smithsonian Institute, to W. H. Ruffner, Lexington, Virginia, 4 June 1869
3 p.
Folder 2
10: Recommendation to Virginia State Legislature for W. H. Ruffner to be made superintendent of Public Instruction
Printed copy of this is entitled "Testimonials of W. H. Ruffner, Lexington, Virginia."
Folder 2
11: Testimonials of W. H. Ruffner by S. Maupin, Judge Egbert R. Watson, Hon. John B. Baldwin
Only the first signature on each testimony is given.
Folder 2
12: Letter. A. Leyburn, Elmwood, to R. E. Lee, Lexington, Virginia, 5 February 1870
1 p., printed.
Folder 2
12a: Letter. General R. E. Lee, Lexington, Virginia, to A. Leyburn, Elmwood, 5 February 1870
1 p., printed.
This letter is the reply to Item 12
Folder 2
13: Letter. B[enjamin] M. Smith, Union Theological Seminary, Hampden-Sydney, to Col. William McLaughlin, House of Delegates, Richmond, Virginia, 9 February 1870
2 p.
Folder 2
14: Letter. W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, to Mrs. W. H. Ruffner, 2 March 1870
1 p.
Folder 2
15: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 25 March 1870
8 p.
Folder 2
16: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Lexington, Virginia, 9 April 1870
4 p.
Folder 2
17: Letter. W. H. Ruffner, University of Virginia, to Mrs. W. H. Ruffner, 24 April 1870
4 p.
Folder 2
18: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 2 May 1870
6 p.
Folder 2
19: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 3 May 1870
8 p.
Folder 2
20: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 9 May 1870
3 p.
Folder 2
21: Letter. W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, to daughter Ann, 13 May 1870
2 p.
Folder 2
22: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 21 May 1870
4 p.
Folder 2
23: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 28 May 1870
7 p.
Folder 2
24: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 29 May 1870
2 p.
Folder 2
25: Letter. W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, to Misses Ruffner, 29 May 1870
4 p.
Folder 2
26: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 8 July 1870
7 p.
Folder 2
27: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Lexington, Virginia, 26 August 1870
4 p.
Folder 2
28: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Lexington, Virginia, 7 September 1870
4 p.
Folder 2
29: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 15 September 1870
4 p.
Folder 2
30: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 14 October 1870
7 p.
Folder 2
31: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 19 October 1870
7 p.
Folder 2
32: Letter. B[arnas] Sears, Staunton, to W. H. Ruffner, 16 November 1870
3 p.
Folder 2
33: Letter. B[arnas] Sears, Staunton, to W. H. Ruffner, 17 November 1870
2 p.
Folder 3
34: Letter. Francis H. Smith, Virginia Military Institute, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 13 January 1871
1 p.
Folder 3
35: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 18 February 1872
5 p.
Folder 3
36: Letter. W[illiam] H. McGuffey, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, 28 February 1872
2 p.
Folder 3
37: Letter. B[arnas] Sears, Staunton, Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, 5 August 1872
4 p.
Folder 3
38: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 8 August 1872
5 p.
Folder 3
39: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 27 December 1872
3 p.
Folder 3
40: Letter. Judge Ro[bert] W. Hughes, Abingdon, Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, 24 April 1873
10 p.
Folder 3
41: Letter. Edward S. Joynes, Lexington, Virginia, to [W. H. Ruffner], 26 April 1873
2 p.
Folder 3
42: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 5 May 1873
2 p.
Folder 3
43: Letter. Hugh Blair Grigsby, Charlotte Court House, Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 8 May 1873
2 p.
Folder 3
44: Letter. B[arnas] Sears, Richmond, Virginia, to General [___] Anderson, 5 December 1873
4 p.
Folder 3
45: Letter. George F. Hoar, Washington, to W. H. Ruffner, 3 January 1874
2 p.
Folder 3
46: Letter. John Eaton, Washington, to W. H. Ruffner, 6 January 1874
2 p.
Folder 3
47: Letter. B[arnas] Sears, Staunton, Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, 8 January 1874
2 p.
Folder 3
48: Letter. Hugh Blair Grigsby, Charlotte Court House, Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 16 February 1874
2 p.
Folder 3
49: Letter. Sarah Nicholas Randolph, Shadwell Depot, Albemarle County, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 28 April 1874
3 p.
Folder 3
50: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 25 May 1875
3 p.
Folder 3
51: Senate Bill No. 251
A Bill to establish and maintain a normal school and to provide otherwise for the training of teachers for the public schools of Virginia. No official date on bill, but pencil note of 1872 or 1873.
Folder 4
52: Receipt, 9 March 1877
1 p.
For Bonds belonging to the Virginia Agricultural & Mechanical College and to Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute.
Folder 4
53: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, Virginia, 21 November 1877
4 p.
Folder 4
54: Notes. "Trip to the Northern Neck" by W. H. Ruffner, Hague 10 May 1878, Farnham, Richmond County, 11 May 1878, Heathsville, 13 May [1878], Lancaster Court House, 14 May [1878], and Richmond City, 16 May [1878].
15 p.
Folder 4
55: Article. "Congress and the Education of the People." Extract from Educational Journal of Virginia, March 1880
12 p.
Folder 5
56: Letter. Robert C. Winthrop, Boston, Massachusetts, to W. H. Ruffner, 3 December 1881
3 p.
Folder 5
57: Letter. Henry Barnard, Hartford, Connecticut, to [W. H. Ruffner], 5 December 1881
2 p.
Folder 5
58: Letter. S[amuel] C. Armstrong, Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, Hampton, Virginia, to General William Mahone, United States Senator, 5 December 1881
3 p., copy.
Folder 5
59: Letter. George W. Dame, Danville, Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, 23 January 1882
1 p.
Folder 5
60: Letter. S[amuel] C. Armstrong, Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, Hampton, Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, 16 October 1882
6 p.
Folder 5
61: Letter. John Eaton, Washington, to W. H. Ruffner, 17 [___] 1884
3 p.
Folder 5
62: Letter. Fitzhugh Lee, Evergreen near Alexandria, Virginia, to Grover Cleveland, [Washington], 21 November 1885
1 p.
Folder 5
63: Letter. W. H. Ruffner, State Normal School of Virginia, Farmville, to Grover Cleveland, [Washington], 27 November 1885
1 p.
Folder 5
64: Letter. J. T. L. Preston, Lexington, Virginia, to J. R. Tucker, 19 December 1885 with endorsement, J. R. Tucker, 22 December 1885
4 p.
Folder 5
65: Letter. J. R. Tucker, Washington, to Lucious Q. C. Lamar, Secretary of the Interior, [Washington], 22 December 1885
1 p.
Folder 5
66: Letter. J. R. Tucker, Washington, to the President of the United States [Grover Cleveland, Washington], 23 December 1885
2 p.
Folder 6
67: Letter. J. R. Tucker, Washington, to W. H. Ruffner, 6 January 1886
1 p.
Folder 6
68: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Lexington, Virginia 1 November 1890
3 p.
Folder 6
69: Letter. John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Lexington, Virginia, 1 January 1891
2 p.
Folder 6
70: A card. "Mr. Ramsdell & Mr. Ruffner." W. H. Ruffner, Lexington, 25 October 1873
3 p.
Folder 7
71: Letter. W[illiam] T. Harris, U. S. Commissioner of Education, Washington, D. C., to W. H. Ruffner, Buena Vista, Virginia, 31 March 1896
2 p.
Folder 7
72: Letter. W. H. Ruffner, Lexington, Virginia, to John E. Massey, 29 April 1897
5 p., copy.
Folder 7
73: Letter. W. P. Huston, Lexington, Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, 21 Novembr 1898
2 p.
Folder 7
74: Letter. W. H. Ruffner, Lexington, Virginia, to A[mory] D. Mayo, [___] January 1900
40 p.
Notes of William Henry Ruffner concerning his work in public education.
Folder 7
75: Letter. W. H. Ruffner, Lexington, Virginia, to Mrs. Stephen Holland, Bedford City, Virginia, 2 May 1900
7 p., draft.
Folder 7
76: Letter. Mrs. Laura A. Holland, Bedford City, Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Lexington, Virginia 9 May 1900
3 p.
Contains interesting facts about Booker T. Washington, whose mother, Jane Burroughs, was owned by Mrs. Holland's father, James Burroughs, of Halesford, Franklin County.
Folder 8
77: Letter. [W. H. Ruffner], Lexington, Virginia, to [John A.] McGilvray, 31 January 1902
3 p., draft.
Folder 8
78: Letter. William A. Anderson, Richmond, Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Lexington, Virginia, 27 April 1904
5 p.
Folder 8
79: Letter. [W. H. Ruffner], Lexington, Virginia, to William T. Harris, 18 November 1904
2 p., draft.
Folder 8
80: Letter. Bruce R. Payne, Williamsburg, Virginia, to W. H. Ruffner, Lexington, Virginia, 20 March 1905
1 p.
Folder 9
81: Abstract. Rockbridge County Order Book 6, p. 10, April term 1802
Regarding John Chavis (ca. 1775-1838).
Folder 9
82: Abstract. From article on the Lexington Newsletter of 1819-1823, by W. H. Ruffner, published in the Rockbridge County News, 30 March 1895
1 p.
Folder 9
83: Abstracts. From the minutes of the Orange Presbytery, 8 April 1809-14 April 1842
17 p.
Signed D. J. Craig, stated clerk of Orange Presbytery, regarding John Chavis (ca. 1775-1838).
Folder 9
84: Letter. D. J. Craig, Reidsville, North Carolina, to H. P. Huston, [___] January 1898
3 p.
Folder 9
85: Letter. W. H. Roberts, Philadelphia, to W. P. Huston, Lexington, Virginia 20 January 1898
3 p.
Enclosure: references to John Chavis (ca. 1775-1838) in the minutes of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. from 1801 to 1839.
Folder 9
86: Letter. William C. White, Warm Springs, Virginia, to W. P. Huston, Lexington, Virginia, 16 February 1898
6 p.
Enclosure: references to John Chavis (ca. 1775-1838) in the minutes of Lexington Presbytery, 1799-1800.
Folder 9
87: Abstracts. Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of North Carolina, 1896-1898
3 p.
Folder 9
88: Article. "An Educated Negro Preacher of a Century Ago" by William Henry Ruffner, n.d.
5 p.
Folder 10
89: Article. "Jack Neal," Kanawha Pieces No. 8, by [Henry Ruffner], n.d.
22 p.
Folder 10
90: List of Ante-bellum school teachers, n.d.
Folder 10
91: Notes on education in Virginia, n.d.
Physical Location: Located in Oversize
28 p.
Pages 17 and 18 are wanting. There are two pages numbered 24 and two pages numbered 25.
Folder 10
92: Sketch of Henry Ruffner and William Henry Ruffner, n.d. and copy of letter, B[arnas] Sears, Richmond, to General Joseph R. Anderson, 13 December 1873
18 p.
Folder 10
93: Notes. Entitled "Private and Corporate Schools," n.d.
5 p.
Folder 10
94: Unpublished anecdotes of George Washington by Henry Ruffner, n.d.
4 p.
Stories told to Ruffner by Edward Graham of Washington College.
Folder 10
95: Newspaper clipping. "Henrico College." Unidentified.
Folder 10
96: "Education in Virginia." Notes by W. H. Ruffner, n.d.
Physical Location: Located in Oversize
16 p.
Folder 10
97: Notes on the life of William Henry Ruffner made by his daughter Anne H. Ruffner, n.d.
Physical Location: Located in Oversize
82 p.
Folder 10
98: Letter. Margaret J. Preston, Lexington, Virginia, to [W. H.] Ruffner, n.d.
2 p.
Folder 10
99: Letter. M. A. Jackson (Mrs. Thomas Jonathan Jackson), Cottage Home, to W. H. Ruffner, n.d.
2 p.
Folder 10
100: Miscellaneous notes.
Folder 10
101: Letter. Unidentified. Possible W. H. Ruffner, Richmond, to his wife, n.d.
1 p., incomplete.
Folder 10
102: Letter. S[amuel] C. Armstrong, New York, to W. H. Ruffner, n.d.
4 p.
Folder 11
103: Diary of William Henry Ruffner, 2 March 1870-24 August 1907
300 p.
Principally a travel journal, giving very brief notations of places visited and speeches made.