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Guide to the Ralph Leslie Rusk Papers, 1782-1981

Abstract

Professor of American Literature at Columbia University, 1925-1953. One of the founders of the journal American Literature. Married Clara Gibbs in 1915.

The Ralph Leslie Rusk Papers span the years 1782-1981, and chiefly concern Rusk's teaching and research in American Literature, notably the life and letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson. The collection contains research papers and notebooks, and travel diaries related to Rusk's research and teaching; a large series of correspondence covering the years 1912-1963; teaching materials such as lecture notes; clippings files and articles related to Rusk's publications and related activities; many photographs; Rusk, Gibbs, and Emerson family papers; and papers relating to his wife, Clara Gibbs, including a scrapbook and wedding mementoes. Some of the papers and photographs refer to a period of time spent teaching in the Philippines, around 1912-1914. Collection is minimally processed and described. Acquired as part of the Jay B. Hubbell Center for American Literary Historiography.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
Rusk, Ralph Leslie.
Title
Ralph Leslie Rusk papers 1782-1981
Language of Material
English
Extent
30 Linear Feet, 25,276 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

The Ralph Leslie Rusk Papers span the years 1782-1981, and chiefly concern Rusk's teaching and research in American Literature, notably the life and letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson. The collection contains research papers and notebooks, and travel diaries related to Rusk's research and teaching; a large series of correspondence covering the years 1912-1963; teaching materials such as lecture notes; clippings files and articles related to Rusk's publications and related activities; many photographs; Rusk, Gibbs, and Emerson family papers; and papers relating to his wife, Clara Gibbs, including a scrapbook and wedding mementoes. Some of the papers and photographs refer to a period of time spent teaching in the Philippines, around 1912-1914. The collection is minimally processed and was originally arranged by additions, described below in more detail. Some boxes have been reordered to reflect a chronological or topical sequence, thus, some box numbers appear out of order.

The original collection (6-19-78) (32 items; dated 1939-1956) contains an essay on William Peterfield Trent, and 31 letters regarding Rusk’s academic activities. There are letters from Bliss Perry, Stanley T. Williams, Henry A. Pochmann, George C. D. Odell, Newton Arvin, John Erskine, Randall Stewart, Harry H. Clark, and Ernest E. Leisy.

The addition (9-25-85) (5982 items; dated 1880-1979) relates primarily to Rusk’s research for editing The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and his teaching. Rusk maintained journals and ledgers during research trips in Europe, where he retraced the travels of Ralph Waldo Emerson. There are photostatic copies of Emerson family letters, articles about Emerson and related topics, and a clippings file featuring reviews of Rusk’s book. In addition, Rusk’s lecture notes are held in three volumes, notebooks, and notecard files. There are also photographs, photograph albums, and letters (1912-1914) from the period Rusk spent as a professor at the University of the Philippines. These items including descriptions of the islands and culture. There are also miscellaneous items and scrapbooks.

The addition (12-18-85) (100 items; dated 1883-1980) contains an inventory and appraisal of Rusk’s private library now housed at Columbia University; as well as Clara Gibbs’ scrapbooks, correspondence, and various commencement invitations. There are also items related to their marriage, including her bride’s book, a wedding announcement, and their marriage certificate.

The addition (6-25-86) (16,920 items; dated 1782-1963) contains correspondence, clippings, travel diaries, and pictures for the Rusk and Gibbs families. The clippings refer to Rusk’s books THE LIFE OF RALPH WALDO EMERSON, LETTERS OF RALPH WALDO EMERSON, and THE LITERATURE OF THE MIDDLE WESTERN FRONTIER. The correspondence pertains to Rusk’s research and teaching.

The addition (87-116) (12 items; dated 1941-1981) comprises official documents concerning the deaths of Rusk family members. Acquired as part of the Jay B. Hubbell Center for American Literary Historiography.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Boxes of minimally processed materials have been reorganized into chronological sequence; box numbers therefore appear out of order.

Correspondence ca. 1912-1950s
Box 13
Letters, 1913-1923
Box 29
Letters, 1923-1925
Box 30
Letters, 1925-1927
Box 31
Letters, 1926-1927
Box 32
Letters, 1928
Box 33
Letters, 1929
Box 34
Letters, 1931
Box 35
Letters, 1932
Box 36
Letters, 1933-1934
Box 37
Letters, 1939
Box 38
Letters, 1940-1949
Box 39
Letters, 1943-1944
Box 40
Letters, 1949
Box 41
Letters, 1949-1951
Box 42
Letters, 1952
Box 43
Letters, 1953-1954
Box 44
Letters, 1955-1956
Box 45
Letters, 1957
Box 46
Letters, 1958
Box 6
Letters, 1959
Box 7
Letters, 1960
Box 8
Letters, 1961
Box 1
Letters, 1962-1963
Box 2
Letters - Travel
Box 12
Photocopies of Emerson letters
Box 9
Emerson research: photocopies of Emerson letters
Box 10
Transcriptions of Emerson letters
Box 11
Photocopies of Emerson letters, articles
Box 24
Photocopies of Emerson letters
Box 25
Photocopies of Emerson letters
Box 48
Clara Gibbs Rusk letters
Box 49

Writings

(7 boxes)
Reviews of Writings
Box 5
Writings by Rusk: Novel
Box 14
Writings by Rusk
Box 16
Writings by Rusk
Box 17
Writings - Miscellaneous Authors
Box 28
Writings: Novel
Box 56
Writings: Novel
Box 57
Family Pictures,1880-1981, bulk 1880-1930
Box 3
Tenure as professor at the University of the Philippines, 1912-1914
Box 23
Family Pictures
Box 23
Family Pictures
Box 50
Clippings
Box 4
Lecture Notes
Box 15
Notebooks and Journals
Box 18
Notebooks of Lecture Notes
Box 19
Lecture Notes
Box 20
Miscellany
Box 21
Clippings
Box 22
Miscellany
Box 26
Clara Gibbs Rusk Papers
Box 27
Gilbert Imlay Research
Box 47
Personal Papers, Diaries
Box 51
Student Enrollment Books [closed to access]
Box 52
Recordings
Box 53
Scrapbook
Box 54
Card Files, Playbills
Box 55
Miscellaneous
Box 58

1987 Accession

(1 folder)

Comprises official documents concerning the deaths of Rusk family members. Located in Box 58.

Oversize Material

(2 folders)
Three diplomas
Box Sec. A OV8
Emerson genealogy
Box Sec. A OV8

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Ralph Leslie Rusk Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Provenance

The Ralph Leslie Rusk Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 1978, and 1985-1987.

Processing Information

Processed by Jonathan Grilli.

Encoded by Jonathan Grilli, April 2009

Accessions from 1978, 1985, 1986, and 1987 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.

This collection has been minimally processed and portions of it may not be arranged beyond original order. Please consult with a reference archivist before coming to use this collection.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.