RAMI Domestic Science Department records

RIT Archives

Table of Contents

Collection Overview
Historical Information for RAMI Domestic Science Department
Scope and Content
Additional Finding Aids
Subject Headings
Information for Researchers
Administrative Information
Related Materials

Collection Overview (Collapse)

RAMI Domestic Science Department records
Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute. Department of Domestic Science.
Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute. Department of Home Economics.
Bulk Date(s)
Inclusive Date(s)
The collection includes various documents, clippings, publications, financial records, enrollment records and board meeting information related to the Domestic Science Department at RIT. The collection spans from 1893-1989.
1.3 Linear feet (1 document box)
C.S. South, Shelf 173
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 RAMI Domestic Science Department (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). Henry Lomb, President of the Board and one of the founders of the Institute, had considered offering coursework to women from the time of the founding. In 1892, five women were appointed to a committee, headed by Mrs. Betsy Andrews (wife of Board member Ezra Andrews) to consider the feasibility of adding cooking instruction to RAMI's offerings. The first domestic science class was held on March 2, 1893; within months, the Department of Domestic Science and Art formally opened with courses in cooking, sewing, emergencies, hygiene, and home nursing. By 1899, the department had grown from 367 to 1,310 students with additional courses in millinery, laundry work, elementary chemistry, physiology, teaching methods, dressmaking, and home furnishing.

The department has continued to evolve throughout the Institute's history. The department also offered teacher training, educating many women to teach home economics in the schools. The normal program was very popular in the early decades of the 20th century. The name was changed to Home Economics in 1920 and renamed the Food Administration program in 1942, reflecting the addition of classes in institutional cooking and dietetics. In 1960, the school was part of the newly formed College of Business, and called the School of Food Administration. In 1974, it became the Department of Food Administration, Hotel, and Tourist Industries Management and later the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management. The department is now part of the College of Applied Science and Technology. In 2010 the school merged with the Department of Service Systems to become the School of International Hospitality and Service Innovation,

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Scope and Content (Collapse)

The Domestic Science Department records contain a wide variety of records relating to the formation, structure and history of the department. A large portion of the collection consists of publications, course guides, enrollment and commencement records, information about alumni and faculty and a variety of original and copied clippings. There are also detailed reports of the history of the department by Miss Mary Bliss, who served as superintendent from 1897-1912 and Alice Lee, a corresponding secretary. The collection also consists of administrative documents including meeting notes, lists of board members and a minute book of the Sub-Committee on Domestic Science from 1893-1895. Included as well is a miscellaneous file which contains blue prints for kitchens and lunchrooms at the downtown campus, student surveys and correspondence.

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Arrangement (Collapse)

This collection is organized by topic and then chronologically within each folder. Materials are contained within 17 folders.

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Additional Finding Aids (Collapse)

In addition to this finding aid, an inventory is available below. For more information, please contact the RIT Archive Collections.

RAMI Domestic Science Department records

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Subject Headings (Collapse)

Personal Name(s)

  • Bliss, Mary

Corporate Name(s)

  • Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute. Department of Domestic Science.
  • Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute. Department of Home Economics.
  • Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute -- Students.
  • Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute.


  • Cooking -- Study and teaching -- New York (State) -- Rochester
  • Home economics -- Study and teaching -- New York (State) -- Rochester
  • Universities and colleges -- Alumni and alumnae
  • Women college students -- New York (State) -- Rochester


  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Publications

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Information for Researchers (Collapse)

Preferred Citation

RAMI Domestic Science Department records, 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 Emily Kolenberg in July 2012.

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Related Materials (Collapse)

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