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University of Texas at Austin

Ruth Ainsworth Collection:

An Inventory of Her Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Ainsworth, Ruth
Title: Ruth Ainsworth Collection
Dates: circa late 1930s-1985, undated
Extent: 7 document boxes (2.94 linear feet)
Abstract: The collection includes manuscript material documenting Ainsworth's career as a children's literature writer from the 1930s to the late 1980s. Items include typescripts, handwritten drafts, correspondence, proofs, clippings, notes, and an award (Dutch).
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-00041
Language: English; one document in Dutch
Access: Open for research. Researchers must create an online Research Account and agree to the Materials Use Policy before using archival materials.
Use Policies: Ransom Center collections may contain material with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in the collections without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Ransom Center and The University of Texas at Austin assume no responsibility.
Restrictions on Use: Authorization for publication is given on behalf of the University of Texas as the owner of the collection and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder which must be obtained by the researcher. For more information please see the Ransom Centers' Open Access and Use Policies.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation Ruth Ainsworth Collection (Manuscript Collection MS-00041). Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin.
Acquisition: Purchase, 1985 (R 2283), and gift, 1988 (G 4088)
Processed by: Irene Lule, 2018>

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Ruth Gallard Ainsworth Gilbert was born in Manchester, England, on October 16, 1908. After the death of her father in 1909, Ainsworth and her family moved to Felixstowe, Suffolk. She later moved to Leicester, where she worked as a nursemaid, teacher, and a junior school mistress. She married Frank Gilbert on March 29, 1935, in Leicester and had three sons. Throughout her career, Ainsworth used her maiden name professionally. During World War II, the family left London for Wales. The Gilberts later moved to Harpenden before settling in Corbridge, Northumberland, where Ainsworth remained for the rest of her life.
Ainsworth's first publication came with Windfalls (1928), which was focused on her poetry. She began her career as a writer of children's literature with the publication of her stories in The Kiddies’ Magazine in the 1930s. Over the course of over 50 years, Ruth published a wealth of material geared towards children. Her works included both original stories and re-telling of classic tales. Ainsworth also collaborated with Ronald Ridout for a series of educational books. She also contributed numerous scripts to British Broadcasting Corporation programs, Listen with Mother , and contributed material to several anthologies. Along with children's literature, Ainsworth also published The Evening Listens (1953), a book of poetry geared towards adults.
Ruth Ainsworth Gilbert died on May 16, 1984, in Corbridge, Northumberland.


"Ruth (Gallard) Ainsworth." Contemporary Authors Online , (accessed July 2018).
"Life with Ruth Ainsworth." Ruth Ainsworth , (accessed July 2018).

Scope and Contents

The collection includes manuscript materials documenting Ainsworth's career as a children's literature writer from the late 1930s to the late 1980s. Items include typescripts, handwritten drafts, correspondence, proofs, clippings, and one award (Dutch). It is arranged into two series: A. Works, circa 1930-1980s, undated and B. Personal and Career Related, 1975-1984, undated. The Works series is further divided into two subseries: A. Manuscripts and B. Book Withdrawals.
The material in the collection was arranged into parcel envelopes labeled by Frank Gilbert, Ruth Ainsworth's husband, using the English alphabet. Each envelope contained detailed notes providing information and context about Ainsworth's work. Also included in the parcels were books that were separated and transferred to the Ransom Center library and form the Ruth Ainsworth Book Collection. A concise order could not be determined from Gilbert's original arrangement, but as the notes provide information about the material in the specific parcels, the arrangement was maintained. For parcels that contained only books, Gilbert's notes and the envelopes remain with this material. The dates of materials were taken from the notes as a vast majority of the material is undated. Excluding one note, all of the notes are also undated.
Subseries A. Manuscripts contains Ainsworth’s drafts, notes, and correspondence. A bulk of the materials are typescripts and handwritten drafts of Ainsworth's work. Much of the handwritten drafts are in notebooks, notepads, and a couple of planners. There is some correspondence with publishers, scripts for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), a few illustration proofs, and a very small number of clippings. In addition to providing notes and arranging the collection, Gilbert also annotated some of the material in pen (typically, red) and pencil. He also transcribed or copied some of Ainsworth’s material.
Folders with Gilbert's notes and envelopes were arranged in Subseries B. Book Withdrawals.
Series II. Personal and Career Related contains biographical material and an award.
The condition of the collection is fair with some minor wear and discoloration. A number of the notebooks and notepads are difficult to open or the pages have loosened from the binding.

Related Material

The Harry Ransom Center also has the Ruth Ainsworth Book Collection, which includes over 150 cataloged titles in English, French, German, Swedish, Dutch, and Norwegian.

Separated Material

Books were transferred to the Ruth Ainsworth Book Collection. Any corresponding notes and envelopes were left with the collection.

Index Terms


Ainsworth, Ruth.


Authors--Britis--20th century.
Children’s literature.

Document Types

Drafts (documents).
Notes (documents).

Container List