Skip to main content

Julia Ruhfel Collection

Identifier: MC-022

Scope and Contents

This collection is organized by material types, and then chronologically within each series (where applicable). Series 1 contains several fashion drawings from the mid to late 1920s. As these drawings are not dated, it is impossible for them to be organized chronologically. Series 2 contains homework and a workbook from Mrs. Ruhfel’s time as a student at Pratt Institute, which are arranged chronologically with the exception of an appointment card from 1909 that was found in the workbook from 1894.The pages within the bound collection of homework should be handled delicately, as the image forming materials are particularly unstable. Series 3 is composed of three oversized textile boxes which store an array of infant and children’s clothing from approximately 1900-1940. These pieces - particularly the earlier ones – should be handled with extra care.


  • Creation: circa 1894-1940

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, contact the Archivist, Pratt Institute Library.

Biographical / Historical

Julia Josephine Eschenbrenner was born on August 24 1877 in Brooklyn, New York. She attended Pratt Institute’s Department of Domestic Arts and graduated in 1895 with a degree in Professional Household Arts. In 1902, Julia married Albert Ruhfel, with whom she had one child before the two separated after only a few years of marriage (though they never formally divorced). In 1908, Julia returned to Pratt Institute to receive a second degree in Trade Dressmaking, which led to her career as a dressmaking instructor in the School of Household Science and Arts from 1916 to 1926. It should be noted that prior to receiving her second degree, Julia had been teaching dressmaking privately to students in her Brooklyn neighborhood.

After ending her ten year residence at Pratt Institute, Julia began making frequent trips to France where she visited her family’s homestead in Lorraine and traveled to Paris to further her knowledge of fabrics and design. She lived in Massachusetts for a brief time in the early 1930s before settling down with her daughter in Rochester, New York in 1935. It wasn’t long after moving that Julia returned to her teaching career as an instructor at the Rochester Home Bureau. In her later years, Julia devoted her time to attending French classes at the local night school and taking part in numerous community activities – making herself a staple in the neighborhood until her death on January 23, 1961.


5.24 Linear Feet (1 box, 3 oversize boxes)

Language of Materials



The Julia Ruhfel Collection consists of classwork, drawings and notes compiled by Mrs. Julia Ruhfel from 1894-1940, who not only earned two certificates from Pratt Institute, but also taught at the school from the years 1916-1926. Mrs. Ruhfel earned her first certificate in 1895 in Professional Household Arts, and her second in 1910 for Trade Dressmaking. It was the latter subject that Mrs. Ruhfel went on to teach at Pratt, as well as to local students in the various cities in which she lived throughout her life.


The records are arranged in three series. The arrangement of the records is as follows:

Series 1: Drawings, approximately 1925

Series 2: Schoolwork, 1894-1909

Series 3: Textiles, approximately 1900-1940

Related Materials

Pratt Institute Photograph Collection (Clothing – CL)

Pratt Institute Photograph Collection (Costume Design – CD)

The School of Home Economics Collection (No. PI-003)

Harmful Language Statement

If you encounter any pejorative language (i.e. racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic) or content in the finding aids or within the content of the collection, please send an email to with the relevant details. For more information about how the Pratt Institute Libraries are addressing offensive language and content across its catalogs and databases, please see the Libraries' Harmful Language Statement:

Guide to the Julia Ruhfel Collection
Ruby Johnstone
February 2016
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Pratt Institute Archives Repository

200 Willoughby Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11205 United States