F.E. and Oscar Ruffini, Texas architects, 1877-1917
Dickey, Susan Jean
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F. E. (1851-1885) and Oscar (1858-1957) Ruffini worked during a transitional period in the professionalization of achitectural practice in Texas and the United States. Yet scholars know little about the professional training and method of practice of the Ruffinis and other independent practitioners. Utilizing their personal papers, architectural specifications and drawings, photographs, extant buildings, newspapers, and a variety of secondary sources including books and journals, the biography answers questions about the professionalization of members of the transitional generation. The Ruf finis, as most of their American contemporaries, trained through apprenticeship, but developed a strong sense of professional identity. The dissertation also examines the role of the Ruf finis in the promotion of professional standards in Texas and surveys their major contributions in the state's architecture. F. E., known as Ernst, is best remembered as the architect of the Main Building (1882-89) of the University of Texas at Austin, but few know that he dominated the design of county courthouses in Texas during his nine-year career. Oscar was the principal architect in San Angelo in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. T^e architectural and historical ii4)ortance of several extant structures by Oscar will be explained.