You are here

Ruskin Society

Image - John Ruskin

John Ruskin

Description of the Ruskin Colony and Commongood Society Collection

The Ruskin Commongood Society attempted to put the ideals of John Ruskin into practice by creating a utopian socialist colony near Tennessee City in Dickson County, Tennessee which existed from 1894 to 1896. We present here manuscript and printed materials related to the Ruskin Commongood Society borrowed from the owner for purposes of digitization.



In 1907, Dr. George McAnelly Miller and his brother-in-law Albert Peter Dickman relocated their families to the shore of Tampa Bay, Florida. They purchased land and started to set up homes, a saw mill, and a school. The Ruskin Commongood Society platted Ruskin on February 19, 1910. Lots were apportioned for a college, business district, two parks, and for the founding families, with only Whites allowed to own or lease land in the community.

The Millers began Ruskin College in 1910 with Dr. Miller and his wife Adeline serving as president and vice-president. By 1913, the community had a cooperative general store, a canning factory, a telephone system, an electric plant supplying electricity to both public and private buildings, a weekly paper, and regular boat freight and passenger service to Tampa. The onset of World War I hastened the demise of the college, which was destroyed by fire in 1918. Dr. Miller died in August 1919.

External Resources

Research on site at Hamilton College

To schedule a research visit, please contact us in advance.

Christian Goodwillie, Director and Curator of Special Collections and Archives
E-mail: cgoodwil (at) hamilton (dot) edu
Telephone: (315) 859-4447

Special Collections
Burke Library
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
Regular hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Materials Digitized

Thanks to the Ruskin Woman's Club, Dr. Arthur McA. 'Mac' Miller, and Dr. Tina Trent for making it possible for these collections to be archived and digitized as part of the Communal Societies Collection of Hamilton College.

  • Manuscript catalogue of the Ruskin Public Library
  • 11 manuscript journals of the Trustees, Executive Board, and Ruskin Women's Twentieth Century Club

These materials are currently available only on our other website.