Richard Rutt is a scholar and former bishop who is widely known for his classic book A history of hand knitting, published by Batsford in 1987. Rutt’s library of books, journals, magazines, patterns and cuttings specifically on knitting is held at Winchester School of Art Library. This follows his wish to donate his library to the University of Southampton in order to join it with Montse Stanley’s Knitting Collections as an acknowledgement of their shared interest in knitting and their consequent long standing friendship. A particular distinction and strength of his collection is the range and number of nineteenth century knitting books which commenced publication in the 1830s. They may be seen as a precursor of the contemporary knitting pattern and the “how-to-knit” books which are still being published, over 180 years later. In addition, his library includes a comprehensive run of the knitting magazine Stitchcraft dating from the 1930s to the 1980s which richly illustrates the changing graphic image and layout of knitting patterns through the decades of the twentieth century. He also had an interest in Scandinavian and Korean knitting which is reflected in his collection.
A selection of the 19th century knitting manuals that are held in the Richard Rutt collection have been digitized and are now available to view online.