Up From Slavery


Booker T. Washington

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Mrs. Viola Ruffner is wife of General Ruffner, the owner of the West Virginia salt-furnace and coal mine that employed many newly freed black Americans. Washington was employed by the Ruffners as a live-in servant, and he credits his time working for Mrs. Ruffner as key to his development of a strong work ethic and cleanliness. She is described as particular and severe, yet compassionate and sympathetic to Washington’s desire for an education.
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Mrs. Ruffner Character Timeline in Up From Slavery

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Ruffner appears in Up From Slavery. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: The Struggle for an Education
The Dignity of Labor Theme Icon
Gradual Racial Progress Theme Icon
...home of General Lewis Ruffner, the owner of the mine. The job was to assist Mrs. Viola Ruffner , the General’s wife, in attending to the house. Mrs. Ruffner had a reputation among... (full context)
The Dignity of Labor Theme Icon
Meritocracy Theme Icon
Mrs. Ruffner instilled in Washington a desire for cleanliness and orderliness that he adopted and applied to... (full context)
Chapter 4: Helping Others
The Dignity of Labor Theme Icon
...the house was often messy, Washington was able to find work with his old friend Mrs. Ruffner and in a coal mine in order to support his struggling family. With his home... (full context)