RIT Libraries collection

RIT Archives

Table of Contents

Collection Overview
Historical Information for RIT Libraries
Scope and Content
Subject Headings
Information for Researchers
Administrative Information
Related Materials

Collection Overview (Collapse)

RIT Libraries collection
Rochester Institute of Technology. Academic Affairs. RIT Libraries.
Inclusive Date(s)
Promotional materials, clippings, reports, memos, and evaluations regarding RIT libraries.
1.67 Linear feet (4 Document boxes)
C.S. South, Shelf 794, Boxes 78-80A
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 RIT Libraries (Collapse)

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) can trace its origins to the founding of the Rochester Athenaeum in 1829. After joining with several different Rochester institutions during the 19th century, the Athenaeum finally merged with the Mechanics Institute (founded in 1885) in 1891 to form the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI). RAMI changed its name to the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1944 to better reflect the university's role in the field of technical education.

From its beginnings, the library has been an important part of the Rochester Institute of Technology. One of the primary benefits of being a member of the Rochester Athenaeum was having access to the organization's collection of books and journals. These materials were not limited to the field of science, but spanned a variety of subject areas. The Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics' Association (RAMA) had an extensive library collection, which was open to its 2,000 members. Unfortunately for the Institute, RAMA fell on hard times during the 1870s and by 1877 the situation was so dire that creditors were forced to sell the organization's library collection. When the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI) was formed in 1891, the school only had a small collection of books available to its students.

RAMI's library started as a single room in the Eastman building with a small number of books. In 1910, the Institute hired its first librarian, Eleanor Gleason. The library grew gradually over the years so that by 1944 the university had a collection of 12,000 books and 300 periodicals available for its students. Yet, when the Middle States Association's accreditation team visited the university in 1958, they were not satisfied with the size of the library, finding it too small and understaffed. In 1958, the newly named RIT converted the Hathaway Bakery to house the library's collection. This was the first attempt by the Institute to create a true academic library that fully supported the university's programs.

When the Institute relocated from the city of Rochester to the suburbs of Henrietta in 1968 the Wallace Memorial Library was built. Named for Charles F. and Florence M. Wallace, benefactors of the college, the library was built to accommodate the 6,500 students enrolled at the university. As enrollment continued to increase during the twentieth century, an expansion was added. The expansion - dedicated in 1991 - enabled the Institute to integrate Eisenhower College's Ellis D. Slater Library's collection into its holdings. Eisenhower College had been acquired by RIT in 1979, but was forced to close its doors shortly after.

As of 2003, the Wallace Memorial Library had over 400,000 titles in its collection. The library, now part of The Wallace Center, continues to serve the needs of the RIT community.

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Scope and Content (Collapse)

The RIT Libraries collection gives broad coverage of the libraries from the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute to the present Wallace Center on the RIT Henrietta campus. Documentation includes memoranda, library events, circulation and collection holding statistics, bookplates, clippings, 1991 addition and renovation, and the dedication of the Wallace Library. Also included are evaluations of library services, space studies, strategic plans, and library publications, handbooks, and guides.

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Arrangement (Collapse)

Collection materials are roughly arranged by subject.

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Subject Headings (Collapse)

Corporate Name(s)

  • Rochester Institute of Technology. Academic Affairs. RIT Libraries.
  • Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute. Library.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology. Academic Affairs. Wallace Memorial Library.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology. Library.


  • Academic libraries -- New York (State) -- Rochester
  • Libraries -- New York (State) -- Rochester
  • Library administrators -- New York (State) -- Rochester


  • Administrative records
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Promotional materials

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Information for Researchers (Collapse)

Preferred Citation

RIT Libraries 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 Amy Vilz in November 2011.

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Related Materials (Collapse)

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