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Ruth Justus Papers

Identifier: Wing-Modern-MS-Justus

Scope and Content of the Collection

Incoming correspondence, clippings, and calligraphic works documenting Ruth Justus’s teaching and work, primarily between 1958-1961. Letters from 1958-1959 are mostly replying to gifts of the book “This is Minnesota” with poetry by Betty Bridgman and handwritten by Ruth Justus. Letters from calligraphers often remark on Justus’s technique and design. The bulk of correspondence from 1961-1962 relates to the Oct. 1961 Minneapolis Sunday Tribune article featuring Justus titled “They Seek to Revive Lost art of Handwriting.” The letters are from readers inquiring about learning calligraphy and where to purchase relevant books and pens.

Correspondence shows the rise of United States interest in italic script in the late 1950s to the early 1960s, prior to a wide-spread national interest in the late 1960s and early 1970s. There are several significant letters by Raymond DaBoll, Fred Eager, Tom Gourdie, Lloyd Reynolds, and Paul Standard, along with many examples of amateur italic writing.

A copy of “This is Minnesota” by Betty Bridgman, handwritten by Ruth Justus, is individually cataloged as Wing ZP 983 .J99.


  • Creation: 1951-1983
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1958 - 1970



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Ruth Justus Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Ruth Justus Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Ruth Justus

American calligrapher and teacher.

Ruth Eleanor Langley Justus was born in Primghar, Iowa on January 9, 1903 to Ralph Edward and Bessie Dena Langley. Her brother, Roy Langley (1909-1982) was also a calligrapher and Chicago artist. Justus taught calligraphy and italic handwriting at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She married Roy Braxton Justus (1901-1983), an editorial cartoonist for the Sioux City Journal and the Minneapolis Star newspapers on August 25, 1928. They left Iowa for Minnesota in the early 1940s. Justus died in Minneapolis on December 17, 1970.


0.4 Linear Feet (1 box)


Correspondence, clippings, and calligraphic works by Ruth Justus, an American calligrapher who taught at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. The bulk of incoming correspondence from 1958 to 1962 relates to a book calligraphed by Justus titled “This is Minnesota” and reader responses to newspaper articles about learning calligraphy.


Materials arranged alphabetically.

Collection Stack Location

4a 30 4


Gift, William Bond Walker and John B. Balkema, 2002.

Processed by

Robert Williams and Catherine Grandgeorge, 2019.

Inventory of the Ruth Justus Papers, 1951-1983, bulk 1958-1970
Robert Williams
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States