Kate Gleason silver tea set

RIT Archive Collections

Table of Contents

Collection Overview
Biographical Information for Kate Gleason
Scope and Content
Subject Headings
Information for Researchers
Administrative Information

Collection Overview (Collapse)

Kate Gleason silver tea set
Collection is a tea set originally owned by RIT benefactor Kate Gleason.
7.0 Item(s) (Located on East Wall of CSS shelf 93)
C.S. South, East Wall, Shelf 93.
RIT Archive Collections
RIT Libraries
Wallace Center
90 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, New York, 14623
(585) 475-2557

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Biographical Information for Kate Gleason (Collapse)

Kate Gleason (1865-1933), an engineering and business pioneer, was a member of a Rochester family that has been associated with RIT since the late 1800s. Raised in upstate New York, at a time when women rarely were leaders in industry and commerce, Kate Gleason overcame innumerable obstacles to excel in business and engineering. Among her many notable accomplishments was the invention of mass-produced, low-cost housing built out of concrete. It earned her the nickname "Concrete Kate", as well as a membership in the American concrete Institute, the first woman to be so recognized.

Young Kate was well read, a wonderful conversationalist, loved riding horses, and was a witty raconteur. She never married, and amassed quite a fortune by the time of her death in 1933.

Credited with several noteworthy firsts, she was the first female to enroll in Cornell University's engineering program (1884)and the first woman to qualify as a member in these eminent organizations:

  • Verein Deutscher Ingenieure, the German Engineering Society (1914)
  • Rochester Engineering Society (1917)
  • American Society of mechanical Engineers (1918)
  • American Concrete Institute (1919)

Gleason was also one of the first women to be a member of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce (1916) and president of a national bank, the First National Bank of East Rochester (1917-1919). She is also believed to be the first woman to have an engineering college named in her honor, the Kate Gleason College of Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

Eleanor Gleason, a lifetime member of the Women's Council at RIT went to France to settle her sister's estate and brought some of her treasures with her back to the United States. About 1958, Eleanor Gleason presented the Kate Gleason silver tea set to the women's dormitory named after her sister, Kate Gleason Hall, on the downtown campus. At the time of the move to the new campus in 1968, the set was given to the President of the Women's Club, Mrs. Betty Glasenapp, to be used by them.

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Scope and Content (Collapse)

Seven silver piece tea set originally owned by Kate Gleason, RIT benefactor.

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Arrangement (Collapse)

The seven piece tea set is housed in one box.

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Subject Headings (Collapse)

Personal Name(s)

  • Gleason, Eleanor
  • Gleason, James E., 1868-1964
  • Gleason, Kate, 1865-1933


  • Tea services

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Information for Researchers (Collapse)

Preferred Citation

Kate Gleason silver tea set, 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 Jody Sidlauskas in July 2012.

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