Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Ricketts mss. III, 1856-1979, consist of the papers and correspondence of Coella Lindsay Ricketts, 1859-1941, calligrapher and illuminator, and of the work of The Scriptorium operated by Ricketts in Chicago. Included are files for the period when The Scriptorium was managed by his daughter, Julia (Ricketts) King, and his son-in-law, Jasper Seymour King. With the collection are medieval and historical documents assembled by C.L. Ricketts, ranging from the 13th century to 1848.

The first section of the collection consists of biographical materials, 1856-1963, for Helen Louise (Ricketts) Goodman, Julia Marguerite (Ricketts) King, Coella Lindsay Ricketts, Hettie (Merriam) Ricketts, and several other members of the Ricketts family.

Part two contains the correspondence and business papers, 1875-1979, including letters to Ricketts from his wife Hettie written while he was in Europe and she was running the business in Chicago; letters from employees during his absences; correspondence with European acquaintances, scholars, and dealers in books on calligraphy; and letters of introduction for Ricketts from American diplomats and others to European institutions and individuals owning manuscripts. Some of the letters from Europe during World War I comment on the war. Other correspondence includes letters to Ricketts in Chicago from Hettie and their two daughters, Helen and Julia, while the three of them were in Europe, 1909-1910, and a bound volume of Golden Anniversary letters written by various people in 1935 in honor of Ricketts' fifty years of The Scriptorium. For a partial list of the correspondents present in the collection see the Inventory in the Vertical File: Ricketts mss. III.

Part three: Financial records, 1883-1979. Included are bank records; bookseller invoices; business records for The Scriptorium; invoices; medical receipts; North Shore Syndicate papers; property deeds and real estate taxes; materials relating to Ricketts' second-hand book business that he operated in the early 1900's; and stocks and bonds.

Part four: Miscellaneous materials arranged alphabetically by topic. These include: "The Book," the 67 illuminated leaves, copied from such sources as the Book of Kells and the Lindesfarne Gospels, with which Ricketts planned to illustrate his projected work on the story of ancient art; bookplates, designed by Ricketts and others; Caxton Club materials, 1900-1935; certificates and diplomas; fraternity certificates; illuminations, 19th century, chiefly Irish; medieval documents - photographs and modern holograph reproductions (in four oversize boxes); memorials, resolutions and testimonials (ca. 1400 items); penmanship classes, taught by Ricketts, 1881-1892; photographs and pictures; The Scriptorium - memorabilia and realia; and John Vinycomb, a calligrapher Ricketts met in Ireland - includes biographical materials, photographs, and examples of Vinycomb's work.

Part five: Printed materials, including ephemera, etc. from World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893.

Part six: Writings, arranged alphabetically by author.

Part seven: Original medieval and historical documents collected by C.L. Ricketts, 13th century-1848.

See inventory in the Vertical File for a detailed listing of the collection.

Collection size: 12,000 items

Related manuscripts: Ricketts mss., Ricketts mss. II

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.