Allen Ruff Papers
Scope and Content of the Collection
Working papers, correspondence and publications of Allen Ruff.
Includes a working and final version of his doctoral dissertation and other papers on the subject of socialist publishing in the Midwest. Research files consist mostly of photocopied material from archives and books dating from 1855 through 1997, but also include some original Kerr Co. catalogs and promotional material from ca. 1976-1997. These research files arrived from the donor in his own order, and that order was maintained in processing the collection. Also includes card files created by Ruff, indexing names and resources related to Kerr Company publications and the International Socialist Review.
Separated Material: One microfilm reel of Proletarian (Detroit, Michigan), Vol. 2 No. 1 - Vol. 14 No. 7 (May 1919-July 1931), copied from the New York Public Library and ordered by Allen Ruff in 1990, was cataloged separately.
- Creation: 1855-1997
- Ruff, Allen, 1949- (Person)
Materials are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
The Allen Ruff Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).
Ownership and Literary Rights
The Allen Ruff 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 Allen Ruff
Wisconsin-based journalist, book seller, social and political activist and blogger.
Allen Ruff grew up in New Haven, CT and received a B.A. in American Studies from the American University in Washington D.C. He moved to Madison, Wisconsin to attend University of Wisconsin, where he received a M.A. and Ph.D. in History. His dissertation "'We Called Each Other Comrade' : Charles Kerr and the Charles H. Kerr and Company Publishers, 1886-1928" was developed into the book 'We Called Each Other Comrade': Charles H. Kerr and Company, Radical Publishers, published by University of Illinois Press in 1997, and updated and reissued in 2011 by PM Press.
Early in his career, Ruff published and presented several papers about the Charles H. Kerr publishing company, including "Repression of the Press in the World War I Era: The Case of Charles H. Kerr and Company" (1988) which he presented at the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians and "Socialist Publishing in Illinois: Charles H. Kerr and Company of Chicago" (Illinois Historical Journal, Illinois State Historical Society) for which he was given the Harry E. Pratt Award. Ruff's essay "Path Not Taken: the Proletarian Party and Early History of Communism in the United States" was published in the collection Culture, Gender, Race, and U.S. Labor History (Contributions in Labor Studies), by Greenwood Press (1993). In 2007 Ruff published a novel, Save Me, Julie Kogon.
Ruff is the Thursday host of "A Public Affair" on community radio station WORT/89.9 FM (Madison, Wisconsin). He currently lives in Madison.
For information about Charles H. Kerr Co. publishing, see the Newberry’s inventory of the company records, Midwest MS Kerr.
2.5 Linear Feet (9 boxes and 1 oversize folder)
Publications and working papers of Ruff, mostly in preparation for his book "We Called Each Other Comrade": Charles H. Kerr and Company, Radical Publishers (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997). The bulk of the material is photocopied documents used in research.
Papers are organized in the following series
- Series 1: Works, undated, 1976-1988
- Box 1
- Series 2: Research files, undated, 1855-1997
- Boxes 2-6, oversize folder
- Series 3: Photographs, 1902 and 1982
- Box 6
- Series 4: Index files, undated
- Boxes 7-9
Collection Stack Location
1 31 5, 1 43 10
Gift, Allen Ruff, 2009.
Polly Smith, 2012.
Genre / Form
- Book catalogs -- 1851-1900
- Book catalogs -- 1901-1950
- Book catalogs -- 1951-2000
- Card files -- 1951-2000
- Dissertations -- 1951-2000
- Photocopies -- 1951-2000
- Inventory of the Allen Ruff Papers, 1855-1997
- Polly Smith
- Language of description
- Script of description