Howard Ruffner papers and photographs

Special Collections and Archives

Howard Ruffner papers and photographs

Special Collections and Archives

Howard Ruffner papers and photographs

Howard Ruffner papers and photographs

May 4 Collection - Boxes 190 and 190A

Finding Aid

Prepared by Dyani Scheuerman, June 4, 2003; Updated May 2017; Updated February 2020


Inclusive Dates: 1970-71
Extent: 1.5 cubic feet (1 half-size record storage box, 1 record storage box)
Physical Location: 12th floor


Biographical Note: In 1970, Howard Ruffner was a second year student at Kent State University, majoring in broadcast communications. Prior to attending the University, he had spent four years in the Air Force, where he learned photography. Ruffner was on the staff of the Daily Kent Stater and the Chestnut Burr, editing the yearbook in 1971. He agreed to provide photographs for Life Magazine of the events on and surrounding May 4, 1970. One of his photographs became the cover of the May 15, 1970 issue of Life. Of the students who suffered that day, Ruffner stated, "I saw their faces and I could feel their pain, and I took their pictures so that no one would ever forget what happened at Kent State and the trauma that it caused for our nation." A number of his photographs ended up being used in the various legal proceedings dealing with the May 4 shootings. Ruffner is currently a freelance photographer in Phoenix, Arizona.


Scope and Content: This collection primarily includes photographs that appeared in the 1971 Chestnut Burr. Predominantly they involve the events surrounding May 4, 1970 (on and leading up to the date and also its aftermath), but several other subjects are represented as well. These photographs were taken by a number of different photographers, including Ruffner. Also included are various items related to Ruffner's involvement in photojournalism and the protest movement. Captions for photos have been supplied by Special Collections and Archives staff. Page numbers referring to placement in the 1971 Chestnut Burr are noted.


Arrangement: Photographs are arranged in the order in which they appear in the 1971 Chestnut Burr yearbook. Correspondence is arranged chronologically. Publications and other materials are arranged alphabetically by title or type of material.

Restrictions on Access: Some information included in this collection is restricted due to the presence of information protected by privacy laws. This information has been redacted where present on documents in the collection. Un-redacted originals, in all cases, have been retained by Special Collections and Archives.

Restrictions on Use: The photographs in this collection are not owned by Kent State University. Copyright is held by individual photographers and media organizations listed in the credits on page 392 of the 1971 Chestnut Burr. The photographs are available for research purposes only.

Other Form Available: A digital viewing copy of the 1971 Chestnut Burr yearbook is available online.


May 4 Collection - Box 190
Folder -- Contents

Photographs from 1971 Chestnut Burr

  1. Lewis, Jerry M., Chestnut Burr, page 14, 1971
    Author: Ruffner, Marguerite (Heine)
  2. Lewis, Jerry M., Chestnut Burr, page 14, 1971
    Author: Ruffner, Marguerite (Heine)
  3. Lewis, Jerry M., Chestnut Burr, page 14, 1971
    Author: Ruffner, Marguerite (Heine)
  4. Women at Computers, Chestnut Burr, page 16, circa 1971
    Author: Ruffner, Marguerite (Heine)
  5. Tennis Player, Chestnut Burr, page 20, circa 1971
    Author: unidentified
  6. Tennis Player, Chestnut Burr, page 21, circa 1971
    Author: unidentified
  7. Track and Field, Chestnut Burr, pages 24-25, circa 1971
    Author: Likely Jim Peck
    Scope and Content: Contains 11 photographs.
  8. Track and Field, Chestnut Burr, pages 26-27, circa 1971
    Author: Likely Howard Ruffner
    Scope and Content: Contains 13 photographs.
  9. Long Jumper, Chestnut Burr, page 26, circa 1971
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  10. Long Jumper, Chestnut Burr, page 26, circa 1971
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  11. Runner, Chestnut Burr, page 27, circa 1971
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  12. Victory Bell, Chestnut Burr, page 32, May 1, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  13. Speaker at Rally on the Commons, Chestnut Burr, page 32, May 1, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  14. Rally on the Commons, Chestnut Burr, page 32, May 1, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  15. Speaker at Rally on the Commons, Chestnut Burr, page 32, May 1, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  16. ROTC Building Fire, Chestnut Burr, page 34, May 2, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  17. Burned ROTC Building, Chestnut Burr, page 34, May 1970
    Author: Likely Greg Hoey
  18. Burned ROTC Building, Chestnut Burr, page 35, May 1970
    Author: Likely Greg Hoey
  19. Burned ROTC Building, Chestnut Burr, page 35, May 1970
    Author: Tolliver, Lafayette
  20. Burned ROTC Building, Chestnut Burr, page 35, May 1970
    Author: Tolliver, Lafayette
  21. ROTC building, Chestnut Burr, page 36, May 1970
    Author: Likely Greg Hoey
  22. National Guardsmen by Burned ROTC building, Chestnut Burr, page 36, May 1970
    Author: Tolliver, Lafayette
  23. Damaged Campus Day Sign, Chestnut Burr, page 36, May 1970
    Author: Moore, Doug 
  24. National Guardsmen by Military Vehicle, Chestnut Burr, page 36, May 1970
    Author: Likely Tom McGrew
  25. National Guardsmen Surrounding ROTC Building, Chestnut Burr, page 36, May 1970
    Author: Moore, Doug
  26. National Guardsmen by Military Vehicle, Chestnut Burr, page 36, May 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  27. Governor Rhodes at Kent State, Chestnut Burr, page 37, May 3, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  28. Governor Rhodes at Kent State, Chestnut Burr, page 37, May 3, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  29. National Guardsmen on Campus, Chestnut Burr, page 37, May 1970
    Author: Likely William Armstrong
  30. National Guardsmen and Students, Chestnut Burr, pages 38-39, May 1970
    Author: Likely Greg Hoey
  31. Students Talk to National Guardsmen, Chestnut Burr, page 38, May 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  32. National Guardsmen Talk to Students, Chestnut Burr, page 38, May 1970
    Author: Likely Tom McGrew
  33. Woman and National Guardsman, Chestnut Burr, page 39, May 1970
    Author: Likely Tom McGrew
  34. Silhouette of National Guardsmen with Rifles, Chestnut Burr, page 39, May 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  35. National Guardsman and Students, Chestnut Burr, page 40, May 1970
    Author: unidentified
    Scope and Content: Includes two photographs. One of the photographs does not appear in the Chestnut Burr, but appears to have been considered for page 40 of the publication.
  36. Law Enforcement Officer with Gun, Chestnut Burr, page 41, May 1970
    Author: Likely Tom McGrew
  37. National Guardsmen in Military Vehicle, Chestnut Burr, page 42, May 4, 1970
    Author: Davis, Jack
  38. National Guard Personnel in Gas Masks, Chestnut Burr, page 42, May 4, 1970
    Author: Davis, Jack
  39. Protesters, Chestnut Burr, page 42, May 4, 1970
    Author: McGuire, William
  40. National Guardsmen, Chestnut Burr, pages 42-43, May 4, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  41. Protesters, Chestnut Burr, page 42, May 4, 1970
    Author: Davis, Jack
  42. National Guardsmen in Gas Masks, Chestnut Burr, page 42, May 4, 1970
    Author: Davis, Jack
  43. National Guardsmen with Rifles, Chestnut Burr, page 43, May 4, 1970
    Author: Davis, Jack
  44. National Guardsmen with Rifles, Chestnut Burr, page 43, May 4, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  45. Reporters on Campus, Chestnut Burr, page 43, May 4, 1970
    Author: Davis, Jack
  46. National Guardsmen and Students on the Commons, Chestnut Burr, page 43, May 4, 1970
    Author: Davis, Jack
  47. National Guardsmen in Vehicle and Students, Chestnut Burr, page 45, May 4, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  48. National Guardsmen and Tear Gas, Chestnut Burr, page 48, May 4, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  49. Canfora, Alan Waves Flag, Chestnut Burr, page 48, May 4, 1970
    Author: Filo, John
  50. National Guardsmen Advancing Up Hill, Chestnut Burr, page 49, May 4, 1970
    Author: McGuire, William
  51. Students Running and Throwing an Object, Chestnut Burr, pages 48-49, May 4, 1970
    Author: Moore, Doug
  52. National Guardsmen Advancing, Chestnut Burr, page 49, May 4, 1970
    Author: Filo, John
  53. National Guardsmen Near the Pagoda, Chestnut Burr, page 50, May 4, 1970
    Author: Filo, John
  54. National Guardsmen at the Taylor Hall Balcony, Chestnut Burr, page 50, May 4, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
    Scope and Content: Includes two copies of the photograph.
  55. Students Running for Cover, Chestnut Burr, page 50, May 4, 1970
    Author: Moore, Doug
  56. Vecchio, Mary Ann Crying above Jeffrey Miller, Chestnut Burr, page 51, May 4, 1970
    Author: Filo, John
  57. Frank, Glenn and Students, Chestnut Burr, page 51, May 4, 1970
    Author: Moore, Doug
  58. Miller, Jeffrey in Pool of Blood, Chestnut Burr, page 51, May 4, 1970
    Author: Filo, John
  59. National Guardsmen around Slain Student, Chestnut Burr, page 51, May 4, 1970
    Author: Filo, John
  60. Student Jumping in Pool of Blood, Chestnut Burr, page 51, May 4, 1970
    Author: Moore, Doug
  61. Cleary, John, Receiving First Aid, Chestnut Burr, page 51, May 4, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  62. Circle of Students Surrounds Injured Student, Chestnut Burr, page 51, May 4, 1970
    Author: McNees, Ronald P.
  63. Shattered Car Windows, Chestnut Burr, page 52, May 4, 1970
    Author: Likely John Filo
  64. Injured Person on Stretcher, Chestnut Burr, page 52, May 4, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  65. National Guardsmen in Formation, Chestnut Burr, page 52, May 4, 1970
    Author: likely John Filo
  66. Faculty Speak into Megaphones, Chestnut Burr, page 52, May 4, 1970
    Author: likely John Filo
  67. National Guardsmen and Police, Chestnut Burr, page 52, May 4, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  68. National Guardsmen and Students, Chestnut Burr, page 53, May 4, 1970
    Author: Unidentified
  69. Students and Law Enforcement Officers, Chestnut Burr, page 53, May 4, 1970
    Author: Unidentified
  70. Lewis, Jerry M., Scranton Commission, Chestnut Burr, page 56, August 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  71. Canterbury, Robert H., Scranton Commission, Chestnut Burr, page 56, August 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  72. Court Stenographers, Scranton Commission, Chestnut Burr, page 56, August 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  73. DelCorso, Sylvester T., Scranton Commission, Chestnut Burr, page 56, August 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  74. Warren, George V., Scranton Commission, Chestnut Burr, page 56, August 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  75. Satrom, Leroy, Scranton Commission, Chestnut Burr, page 57, August 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  76. Scranton, William, Scranton Commission, Chestnut Burr, page 57, August 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  77. Alewitz, Meyer, Scranton Commission, Chestnut Burr, page 57, August 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  78. Ortique, Revius, Jr., Scranton Commission, Chestnut Burr, page 57, August 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  79. Scranton Commission, Chestnut Burr, page 57, August 1970
    Author: Likely Howard Ruffner
  80. Scranton Commission Audience, Chestnut Burr, page 57, August 1970
    Author: Likely Joann Schulte
  81. Lewis, Jerry M., October 16, 1970, Chestnut Burr, page 58, October 16, 1970
    Author: Likely Ronald P. McNees
  82. Student at Festival of Life, Chestnut Burr, page 62, October 1970
    Author: Likely Howard Ruffner
  83. Student in Line to Purchase Food, Chestnut Burr, page 80, circa 1971
    Author: unidentified 
  84. Registration Computers, Chestnut Burr, page 87, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  85. Registration Computers, Chestnut Burr, page 87, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  86. Registration Computers, Chestnut Burr, page 87, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  87. Registration Computers, Chestnut Burr, page 87, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  88. Registration Computers, Chestnut Burr, page 87, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  89. Monkey in Psychology Research Lab, Chestnut Burr, page 97, circa 1971
    Author: Likely Jim Hudak
  90. Scene from Philadelphia Here I Come, Chestnut Burr, page 113, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  91. Scene from Philadelphia Here I Come, Chestnut Burr, page 113, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  92. Vicchy, Frank, Swimming Coach, Chestnut Burr, page 127, circa 1971
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  93. Gymnast, Chestnut Burr, page 131, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  94. Gymnasts, Chestnut Burr, page 131, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  95. Gymnasts, Chestnut Burr, page 134, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  96. Gymnast, Chestnut Burr, page 134, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  97. Gymnast, Chestnut Burr, page 135, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  98. Gymnast, Chestnut Burr, page 135, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  99. Fencer, Chestnut Burr, page 136, 1970
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  100. Blue Key Club, Chestnut Burr, page 245, circa 1971
    Author: Likely William McGuire
  101. Campus Scene, Chestnut Burr, page 370, circa 1969
    Author: Ruffner, Howard
  102. Ruffner, Howard, Chestnut Burr, page 386, 1969-1970
    Author: Likely Jim Peck
  103. Ruffner, Marguerite (Heine), Chestnut Burr, page 391, circa 1971
    Author: Likely Howard Ruffner

Correspondence

  1. May 2, 1975. Long, Phil. Kent, Ohio. To Howard. Thanks Ruffner for use of photograph.
  2. October 14, 1977. Thomas, Charles. Arlington, VA. To Benjamin Civiletti. Requests that the documents regarding the burning of the ROTC building be released.
  3. October 17, 1977. Thomas, Charles. Arlington, VA. To Howard Ruffner. Regarding Ruffner's desire to obtain copies of FBI files on himself.
  4. January 28, 1978. Thomas, Charles. Arlington, VA. To Howard Ruffner. Regarding Bill Ferster's plan for a short film about Kent State.
  5. January 31, 1978. Ruffner, Howard. Cleveland Heights, Ohio. To Bill Ferster. Gives permission for the use of several photographs in a film.
  6. January 31, 1978. Thomas, Charles. To Andrea Biren. Discusses technical details about weapons which he believes dispute prior claims made by Guardsmen.
  7. February 3, 1978. Thomas, Charles. Arlington, V.A. To Howard Ruffner. Discusses photographs of Ruffner's which he feel dispute prior claims made by Guardsmen, evidence from trial that went missing, Michener book.
  8. February 14, 1978. Ruffner, Howard. Cleveland Heights, Ohio. To Charles Thomas. Encloses said photographs.
  9. February 21, 1978. Thomas, Charles. Arlington, V.A. To Howard Ruffner. Response in agreement with Ruffner's letter.
  10. March 30, 1978. Thomas, Charles. Washington, D.C. To Alan Freeman. Attempting to locate some of Ruffner's photographs which he feels belong in the National Archives.
  11. April 10, 1978. Thomas, Charles. Arlington, V.A. To Howard Ruffner. Lists Ruffner's photographs included in National Archives. Notes discrepancy in the amount of photographs different sources claim there are.
  12. December 1, 1978. Ruffner, Howard. Cleveland, Ohio. To Charles Thomas. Gives permission to use photographs in Gallery magazine.
  13. February 28, 1979. Silber, Glenn. Madison. To Howard Ruffner. Regarding film documentary on the antiwar movement.
  14. May 2, 1979. Munves, James. New York. To Howard Ruffner. Requesting photographs for Cover-Up at Kent State.; June 17, 1979. Munves, James. New York. To Howard Ruffner. Inquiring as to whether Ruffner received last letter.; June 22, 1979. Munves, James. New York. To Howard Ruffner. Includes photocopies of photographs he desires.
  15. Undated. Charlie [Charles Thomas]. To Howard. Includes newsclip which discusses photographs of unknown origin which have just been released, and may be related to an attempted cover-up.

May 4 Collection - Box 190A
Folder -- Contents

Publications, papers, and documents

  1. American Report, November 12, 1971
  2. "An Appeal for Justice." June 21, 1971.
  3. Civil trial interview of Ruffner. Part 1.
  4. Civil trial interview of Ruffner. Part 2.
  5. Civil trial interview of Ruffner. Part 3.
  6. Civil trial interview of Ruffner. Part 4.
  7. Contemporary, May 6, 1990.
  8. Copyright registration form for Chestnut Burr
  9. Criminal trial interview of Ruffner. November 7, 1974.
  10. Deposition of Ruffner in Krause vs. Rhodes. Part 1. October 21, 1974.
  11. Deposition of Ruffner in Krause vs. Rhodes. Part 2. October 21, 1974.
  12. FBI file on Ruffner.
  13. For the Record, June 11, 1990
  14. Gallery, April 1979
  15. High School Press Institute Review, August 21, 1970
  16. Interview between Howard Ruffner and [Jeffrey] Zink. June 30, 1970.
  17. Kent, June 1970
  18. "Kent - Aftermath." by Jerry M. Lewis
  19. "Kent State: Murder and Coverup." Charles Thomas (includes note from "Charlie"). June 9, 1978.
  20. KSU Position Paper. Statement of Policy. October 14, 1970.
  21. KSU Position Paper. Presidential Policy on Examination of Issues. October, 1970.
  22. Life, May 15, 1970
  23. "May 4, 1970 - Date Nation Won't Forget"
  24. Newsclip: "KSU Photo Featured in Exhibit," Record Courier, September 18, 1970.
  25. Newsclip: "Kent State and Watergate," World, June 5, 1973
  26. Newsclip: "The Other Kent State Photographer: Howard E. Ruffner," Plain Dealer Magazine, April 29, 1979
  27. Newsclip: Photograph of Ruffner
  28. Newsweek, May 18, 1970
  29. "Not a Great Deal of Error ... ?" by Carl M. Moore and D. Ray Heisey. Criticism of Kent State: What Happened and Why by James Michener.
  30. Official Kent State University Bulletin, June 10, 1970
  31. "On the Slain Collegians" by Herman Melville
  32. Paper recommending emergency communication systems
  33. Politics and Education, V.1.1.
  34. The Post-American, Spring 1972
  35. Reader's Digest Guidelines, March 1971
  36. Report and recommendations to University Commission to Implement a Commitment to Nonviolence
  37. "Reporting the Kent State Incident"
  38. Restatement of University policy, October 19, 1970.
  39. Rough draft script for Unnecessary, Unwarranted, and Inexcusable by Alva I. Cox, Jr.
  40. Scranton Commission interview of Ruffner.
  41. State Grand Jury interview of Ruffner.
  42. Statement of Charles Thomas, National Archives, on possible coverup. December 18, 1978.
  43. Subpoena for Ruffner's court appearance on September 23, 1970
  44. Subpoena for Ruffern's court appearance on October 22, 1974
  45. Subpoena for Ruffner's court appearance on December 19, 1978
  46. Time, May 18, 1970
  47. Trial proceedings of Krause vs. Rhodes. Part 1. December 19, 1978.
  48. Trial proceedings of Krause vs. Rhodes. Part 2. December 19, 1978.
  49. Trial proceedings of Krause vs. Rhodes. Part 1. December 20, 1978.
  50. Trial proceedings of Krause vs. Rhodes. Part 2. December 20, 1978.

Miscellaneous items

  1. Armband
  2. Camera lens belonging to Ruffner, used by John Filo on May 4, 1970.
  3. Catalog for Farrar Straus Giroux, Fall-Winter 1972-1973. Includes The Murders at Kent State by Peter Davies.
  4. Certificate of excellence from "Cover '71" art exhibit, October 26, 1971.
  5. Fliers for "Kent State: A Wake," Occidental College presentation.
  6. Flyer for "Bearking Witness," an art exhibit featuring Ruffner.
  7. Flyer for "To Heal Kent State" by Kim Sorvig
  8. Flyer for Kent State: May 4, 1970
  9. Invitation to 1971 Publications Banquet.
  10. Invitation to "Cover '71" art exhibit. October 26, 1971.
  11. Invitation to "Artists for Justice," May 19, 1974.
  12. List of film production companies
  13. Map of campus including area of protests
  14. Map of campus showing where students were wounded
  15. Maps showing Ruffner's position upon taking photographs
  16. Poster for Moratorium
    Physical Location: This item is filed in the map case.
  17. Press pass.
  18. Press release, postcard, and seed packet for "Simple Gestures: A Commemorative Installation" by Eve Birch
  19. Protest buttons
  20. Raw audio recording of 1971 Chestnut Burr record insert
  21. Reprints of Ruffner's photographs torn from book