Bevier Memorial Building collection

RIT Archives

Table of Contents

Collection Overview
Historical Information for Bevier Memorial Building
Scope and Content
Subject Headings
Information for Researchers
Administrative Information
Related Materials

Collection Overview (Collapse)

Bevier Memorial Building collection
Inclusive Date(s)
Materials related to the Bevier Memorial Building at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The building was constructed in 1911 using funds given by Susan Bevier. The collection contains invitations to the building's open, postcards and greetings cards depicting the building, and clippings. There is also a report on the building's historical significance.
2.0 Folder(s) (Box 37)
C.S. South, Shelf 787, Box 37
RIT Archive Collections
RIT Libraries
Wallace Center
90 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, New York, 14623
(585) 475-2557

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Historical Information for Bevier Memorial Building (Collapse)

Susan A. Bevier (1821-1903) was born in May 1821 and eventually married Henry H. Bevier. Although Henry was originally from Binghamton, NY, he moved to New York City sometime after 1863. The Beviers were a prominent family in Manhattan, having achieved financial success. Susan Bevier, an art enthusiast, visited family and friends in Rochester, NY every summer. She actively collected artwork and was a proponent of art education. Thus, when Mrs. Bevier passed away in 1903 she left a large portion of her estate to the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (renamed the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1944).

Susan Bevier had already given financial support to the Institute's Department of Fine Arts. The money she left in her will was to be used to construct and equip a fine arts building, as well as support the program's instruction costs. The building was to have a permanent gallery, classrooms, and workshops. In addition, an auditorium was to be included in the structure and named in memory of Bevier's daughter, Alice D. Bevier. Alice died on March 2, 1896. Mrs. Bevier also specified in her will that any remaining funds should be used to purchase artwork for the school on an annual basis.

The Bevier Memorial Building was erected in 1910 on the site of Colonel Nathaniel Rochester's house. Colonel Rochester purchased land in 1803 that eventually became the city of Rochester, NY. The building, designed by architect Claude F. Bragdon, housed the Institute's various art programs, as well as the Bevier art collection and officially opened on December 4, 1911. When the Institute relocated its campus from the city of Rochester to the suburbs of Henrietta in 1968, the university leased the Bevier Memorial Building to "Action for a Better Community," a community action organization for Monroe and Ontario counties. In 1974, the Institute considered demolishing the building, but alumni and local residents were able to convince the Rochester Preservation Board to designate the building as a "landmark of the City of Rochester" and the land parcel as a "landmark site." Since then, several individuals have owned the building in the hopes of renovating it. In 1982, the building was leased by the New York State Department of Health. As of 2011, the building was not currently in use.

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Scope and Content (Collapse)

The Bevier Memorial Building collection contains materials related to the building and its history. The collection includes information on the building, invitations to the building's opening, postcards and greeting cards depicting the building, and clippings. In addition to a timeline of the building's ownership history, there is a copy of a report published by the Rochester Preservation Board. The report outlines the group's findings and discusses the building's historical and architectural significance to the city of Rochester. With the exception of one clipping from 1902, the clippings in the collection deal with the university's plans to demolish the building, the efforts to save the structure, and its uses following the Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) relocation to the suburbs of Henrietta in 1968.

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Arrangement (Collapse)

Materials are contained in two folders with clippings being housed separately in the second folder. The clippings are arranged chronologically.

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Subject Headings (Collapse)

Personal Name(s)

  • Bevier, Alice, d. 1896
  • Bevier, Susan, 1821-1903 -- Estate
  • Bevier, Susan, 1821-1903
  • Bragdon, Claude Fayette, 1866-1946

Corporate Name(s)

  • Bevier Gallery Collection.
  • Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute. Bevier Memorial Building.
  • Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology.

Family Name(s)

  • Bevier family


  • College benefactors -- New York (State) -- Rochester
  • College buildings -- New York (State) -- Rochester


  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Ephemera
  • Invitations

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Information for Researchers (Collapse)

Preferred Citation

Bevier Memorial Building collection, RIT Archive Collections

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open to researchers.

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Administrative Information (Collapse)

Collection ID


Processing Information

Finding aid created by Lara Nicosia in March 2011.

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Related Materials (Collapse)

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