Site-wide links

Hours of Operation

Monday–Friday
9 a.m.–12 p.m., 1 p.m.–5 p.m.

Saturday–Sunday
Closed

Other times by appointment.

FAQs

Where is the Cary Collection located?
Who can use the Cary Collection?
What are the Collection hours?
How do I search for a book or a topic in which I am interested at the Cary Collection?
What are the Cary Collection's reading room rules?
Who was Melbert B. Cary, Jr.?
Are there digitized materials that I can reference from the Cary Collection?
Do you offer classes in the Cary Collection?
How do I schedule an appointment for a tour or a discussion with the curator?
When do you have exhibitions?
Can I make photocopies of material? May I use my camera?
May I make a donation to the Cary Collection?
Could I just use the reading room as a study space?
What are the Vignelli Center for Design Studies' hours?


Where is the Cary Collection located?
The Cary Collection is on the second floor of the Wallace Center at RIT. Our mailing address is 90 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623-5604. Campus map.

Who can use the Cary Collection?
The Collection has a liberal access policy for all members of the RIT community. We also open to the public. Please contact us if you have a specific research question.

What are the Collection hours?
We are open year-round Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.  Other times are available by appointment. We follow the RIT holiday calendar for closings.

How do I search for a book or topic in which I am interested at the Cary Collection?
The majority of our book collections may be researched online by author, title, subject, etc. in the RIT Libraries electronic catalog. However, there are many paper-based archives and printing technology collections that are not cataloged online. Please refer to the Collections portion of this site to access specific collection finding aids. If you need more help with your search, please visit the collection in person or contact a curator.

What are the Cary Collection's reading room rules?
The Cary Collection has a number of simple rules to ensure the preservation and security of our materials. These rules are subject to change by our staff.

  • No food or beverages are to be brought into the reading room.
  • Personal effects may be stored in our coat closet. These include large bags and backpacks, coats, umbrellas. Handbags must be closed and placed on the floor.
  • Pencils, not pens or markers, must be used.
  • Personal digital cameras are allowed in the Cary Collection, subject to certain rules and conditions.
  • Books must be supported as evenly as possibly to prevent strain on the bindings. Staff will assist as needed.
  • Handle collection materials with clean, dry hands; staff will provide gloves as appropriate.
  • Do not mark pages or write on paper laid on top of a book.
  • Do not use ordinary paper (or Post-It notes) to mark your place in a book. Acid-free bookmarks are available at the desk.

Who was Melbert B. Cary, Jr.?
Melbert B. Cary, Jr., (1892–1941), was the proprietor of the early-twentieth-century business, Continental Type Founders Association, which imported some of the finest European typefaces into the United States from foundries such as Deberny et Peignot in France and Klingspor in Germany. He also ran a small private press, The Press of the Woolly Whale. From 1939 to 1940, Mr. Cary served as president of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, (AIGA).

He and his wife, Mary Flagler Cary, were avid collectors, building important collections in three areas: historic playing cards, musical manuscripts, and books about printing. In the 1960s the Cary estate dispersed these collections to fitting institutions: the playing cards are now held at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the musical scores are part of the Morgan Library in New York City. Much of the Woolly Whale material, together with Mr. Cary’s superb collection of books on printing, formed the basis of the Cary Graphic Arts Collection at Rochester Institute of Technology. The Cary bequest now it supports the curriculum of RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, specifically the Schools of Print Media and Design.

Are there digitized materials that I can reference from the Cary Collection?
Our Image Database is continually updated with new reproductions of works in our collection. The Collections portion of this site also includes rich images of several of our collections, such as the Graphic Design Archive, The Ismar David Collection, and Arts et Métiers Graphiques. Finally, a portion of our Middleton Collection on the History and Practice of Bookbinding has been digitized and is on view at KirtasBooks.com.

Do you offer classes in the Cary Collection?
Yes. Instructors periodically request that our collection be used for teaching. Please contact the curator if you would like to do the same.

How do I schedule an appointment for a tour or a discussion with the curator?
Please call (585) 475-2408 or see our contact page to make an appointment with one of our staff. We are open at regular times throughout the week, so you may drop in at any open time for a quick tour or a chat with the staff.

When do you have exhibitions?
We sponsor three to four exhibitions on site in the Cary Collection every year. For information about what is currently on display in the Wallace Center, visit our Exhibitions page. There is also a portion of the website dedicated to Online Exhibitions which will be continually on view.

Can I make photocopies of material? May I use my camera?
We have a very limited policy about photocopying because the act of doing so may pose a risk to delicate book structures or historic substrates. The curator must approve all photocopying, and our staff will do the handling of items for copying. Copies cost 10 cents each; cash only. However, visitors may use a digital camera to photograph items our collection, as long as the images are not distributed and are properly credited to the Cary Collection.

May I make a donation to the Collection?
Yes! Your support helps us make important acquisitions, sponsor programming such as lectures and exhibitions, and fund materials resources to help conserve our historic collections. Please visit our Donations page to make your gift. If you would like to discuss donating items to the Collection, please contact the curator.

Could I just use the reading room as a study space?
While the Cary Collection’s reading room is a comfortable environment for studying, we must reserve it for the exclusive use of those who are actually using our collections. Please visit us if you would like to view items in the collection or speak with our staff.

What are the Vignelli Center for Design Studies' hours?
Vignelli Gallery Hours: March 8-May 13, 2011
Tuesday, 10am-12pm
Wednesday, 12pm-2pm
Thursday, 10am-12pm
Friday, 12pm-2pm