Joseph Rubinfine

May 8, 1938August 6, 2019

Joseph Rubinfine of Merritt Island passed away on Tuesday, August 6, 2019. He is survived by his wife Ruth and his beloved dogs Willie Hightail and Bonnie. He was born in New Jersey on May 8, 1938, and spent the first half of his life helping his parents on their farm. Later he moved to Florida in 1987, first to Jupiter, then to Merritt Island. Always interested in history, he became a leading dealer in American historical manuscripts, and a member of many historical organizations, a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society and of the Manuscript Society. He also spent about 15 years training as a runner and competed in 24 marathons, including four Boston Marathons, the highest an amateur runner can reach. He was interested in animal welfare and made large donations to several organizations involved with that activity during his lifetime. Donations in his memory may be made to Georgianna United Methodist Church, Canine Companions for Independence and Southeastern Guide Dogs.


  • Celebration of Life Service

    Saturday, August 17, 2019


Joseph Rubinfine

have a memory or condolence to add?

Rev. Frank Mann

January 21, 2020

As a Catholic priest all I can say is that Joe truly always exhibited a kind and welcoming heart. Although I insisted he call me “Frank”, he was always warmly defiant and addressed me as “Father Frank”. He was respectful to anyone who was blessed to have met him. I told him once that if I ever became a Pope, (never happen of course!) I could finally afford something from his amazing inventory! His passion for animal welfare is something that is at the heart of my life as well. I can only think of one thing at my closing: perhaps, as his entered the gates of paradise, Joe couldn’t help but ask the Lord, “Is it possible if I may ask for your autograph?” Eternal joy and freedom be given unto you Joe as you are reunited with your family members, friends and companion animal friends who passed on before you! Reverend Father Frank Mann

Edie Eisenstein

November 12, 2019

Joe will be missed by friends and colleagues in the book world. Deepest condolences to you and all of us.

Terry Alford

August 31, 2019

Joe was a wonderful friend. He was intelligent, loyal, and had the respect of all who knew him. Joe had a great eye for historical materials and an keen appreciation for human story that they contained.
An esteemed colleague and a gentleman.
Farewell, Joe. A race well-run


August 14, 2019

Joe was an exemplary human being. He was my friend and trusted autograph dealer since the late 1980's. He stood out among his competitors in that field and for me was the very finest of all of them. I am sorry that I did not get to know him better because he was an interesting man and I will miss him.

Ned Downing
August 12,2019

Cheryl Clark

August 13, 2019

John and I are so saddened to learn of Joe's passing. I was privileged to work for him and his wife Ruth for several years.
Joe' vast knowledge of American history was widely recognized, and his reputation as a documents dealer was one of unquestionable honesty and integrity.
As a dedicated marathon runner, Joe would occasionally limp into the office (that was moans and groans day); for the dreaded dental appointment (that was wear a red shirt day), and eating Sam's hot dogs (well, that was every day!)
An honest and good man, he is very much missed.

Dennis Bucher

August 13, 2019

Oh Gee, Oh Gee. So many wonderful memories. What a great guy.

Dennis Bucher
New Jersey

Gabe Brady

August 12, 2019

I have bought and sold items to Joe for thirty years. He was always a gentleman and a class act. I spoke with him approximately a week before he passed. My prayers go to Ruth and her family. I thank God we had him for over eighty years.

Rusty Mott

August 11, 2019

I think we met Joe and Ruth Rubinfine in the mid-60s. Joe would come to our house and buy manuscript material from my mother who handled that part of our family business. We were near each other as exhibitors at the Boston book fair a few times, and I sold a few things to Joe over the years after he moved to Florida. He was a sometimes customer of my wife, a book binder, who made protective cases for some his autograph treasures. Joe was an outstanding autograph and manuscript dealer, but, more importantly, he was a thoroughly decent and honorable man. Veta and I are deeply sorry to read of his death, and extend our sincere condolences to his wife Ruth.

Edward Bomsey

August 10, 2019

Joe was a wonderful mentor to me as well. He was one of the first people I ever bought an autograph from and his catalogues were always an education. I remember once exhibiting at a Washington DC-area autograph show that was held the day of the DC Marine Corps Marathon. Joe showed up after completing the race, his face still flushed, and he made the rounds of the tables and bought some goodies to take home from several of us. Joe's smile could light a room and my sincerest sympathies go to Ruth on her, and our, loss.

Philip Downs

August 8, 2019

Joe’s loss leaves a void but he is in a better place in Heaven. He was my mentor and friend. Words cannot express my grief.