RIT Archives

The RIT Archive Collections serves as the official repository for university records with historical, administrative and legal value. The department provides the university with an institutional memory, ensuring that a well-rounded view of RIT's unique history, from major decisions made by the trustees to student events, has adequate documentation. Holdings consist of administrative files, publications, photographs, audiovisual materials, artifacts and memorabilia, dating from the mid-19th century to the present, that document the history of RIT and its predecessors, including the Rochester Athenaeum (founded 1829) and the Mechanics Institute (founded 1885).

Very brief descriptions of some of the collections are available on this site. Individuals with an interest in the collections or a question about RIT's history are encouraged to contact the archives staff.

Holdings include:

Administrative Files

Administrative FilesThese records provide detailed documentation of the workings of the management of the university. Dates range from 1829 and the founding of the Rochester Athenaeum, to the present. Created in the course of everyday business, records such as meeting minutes, correspondence, memos and reports are regularly transferred to the archives from a variety of administrative units. Key record groups include Minutes of the Board of Trustees, presidential records, reports of task groups and study committees, accreditation reports and new program proposals.


PublicationsThe department collects official university publications, student publications, college and departmental newsletters, brochures and alumni publications. Published materials provide valuable information, news and images of the time and track everything from academic programs to campus events. Highlights include Reporter Magazine, News & Events, course catalogs since the founding of the Mechanics Institute in 1885, student yearbooks, and sports information brochures and booklets. Scrapbooks and newspaper clippings from 1885 make up another key part of this collection.


Photographic Images

Crowd waiting for RunnersThis collection numbers over 200,000 photographs in a variety of  formats, from lantern slides to digital files. A rich source of RIT's history, the images depict students; faculty and staff; campus events; the downtown and Henrietta campus; buildings and classrooms; and scenes of student life from the late 19th century to the present.


Audiovisual Materials

Various Media Formats (CD, Casette, VHS)In this collection can be found videotapes, motion pictures, audio tapes, CDs, DVDs, and other digital formats. Dating from the last 40 years, recordings document campus events such as commencement speeches, lecture series, building dedications and student activities. Others were created by the university as marketing and news programs and convey vital information about the university during specific time periods. Also included are important oral and video history interviews with students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Artifacts and Memorabilia

Old Mechanic Institutes LogoThe Archives holds hundreds of RIT-related objects, such as mementos of events, plaques, posters, fraternity and sorority paddles, sports uniforms, flags, tickets, pennants and t-shirts from a variety of events, clubs, and programs. Of special mention are an RIT football jersey, a hockey stick from the 1983 NCAA championship game signed by team members and the tiger pelt of SpiRIT, the live tiger mascot who played a brief, but important part in campus life in the early 1960s.

Also included in the archives are scrapbooks assembled by various individuals affiliated with the university and the personal and professional papers of selected RIT faculty and staff.