Katherine Ruffin

Lecturer in Art, Director of the Book Studies Program

Katherine McCanless Ruffin is the Director of the Book Studies Program and Lecturer in Art at Wellesley College. She holds an A.B. in Philosophy from Bryn Mawr College, an M.F.A. in the Book Arts from the University of Alabama, and a Ph.D. in Library and Information Science from Simmons University.

Katherine has been teaching in the Book Arts Lab in Clapp Library at Wellesley College since 2000 and her teaching practice is focused on incorporating letterpress printing, bookbinding, and papermaking with various aspects of the liberal arts. In addition to teaching classes and workshops in the Book Arts Lab and the Papermaking Studio, she oversees the activities of the Annis Press, which is the imprint of the Book Arts Lab. Beginning in fall 2014, Katherine became the coordinator of Wellesley’s library-based Book Studies activities. Katherine teaches a class on the History of 19th and 20th Century Typography and Printing at Rare Book School with John Kristensen of Firefly Press. She also teaches the book arts in the Masters of Art Education Program at the Boston University College of Fine Arts.

Katherine’s research interests include book studies in the liberal arts curriculum, pedagogy for the book arts, and the history of the book, particularly typography and printing. Her dissertation was titled “Carl Purington Rollins and the Bibliographical Press at Yale University.” In 2017, she gave the Hofer Lecture at Harvard University’s Houghton Library: “Books as Portals: Reading and Responding to Historical Collections in the 21st Century.”

Katherine has published limited edition books and broadsides under the imprint of Shinola Press since 1994. The School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama hosted a solo exhibition of her work in the spring of 2016. From 2016 to 2020, Katherine was the Vice President for Publications for the American Printing History Association. She serves on the Board of Advisors for the Bookbinding Program at the North Bennet Street School and on the Advisory Board for the Program in the History of the Book in American Culture at the American Antiquarian Society.