Kate Gleason College of Engineering photographs

RIT Archives

Table of Contents

Collection Overview
Historical Information for Kate Gleason College of Engineering
Scope and Content
Additional Finding Aids
Subject Headings
Information for Researchers
Administrative Information
Related Materials
Other Descriptive Data

Collection Overview (Collapse)

Kate Gleason College of Engineering photographs
The collection is comprised of color photographs, slides, and negatives of the Kate Gleason College of Engineering (KGCOE) at RIT during the late 1980's and mid-1990's. They include informal academic shots in classrooms and labs, events held by KGCOE such as Funfest and Casino Night, and snapshots of the 1995-1996 commencement ceremony.
1.0 Linear feet (2 document boxes)
C.S. East wall, Shelf 45
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 Kate Gleason College of Engineering (Collapse)

RIT's Kate Gleason College of Engineering provides a nurturing educational environment within which to earn a highly marketable degree that serves students well, whether they choose to pursue a career in industry or attend graduate school in engineering or a related field. The college offers undergraduate and graduate programs in a full spectrum of engineering disciplines.

The college ranks highly in the nation among engineering colleges that offer the master’s degree, the Kate Gleason College of Engineering is totally committed to student success and strives to provide students with a career-oriented education of the highest possible quality and the capabilities for lifelong learning. The college recently added the nation’s first Ph.D. program in microsystems engineering.

Catherine (Kate) Anselm Gleason was born in Rochester during 1865, the same year that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and the Civil War ended. Her parents, William Gleason and Ellen McDermott Gleason, each emigrated from Ireland to Rochester with their respective families while still in their youth. As a teenager, William became an apprentice and eventually achieved the status of mechanic and tool maker. He married and became a widower, leaving him alone with his young son, Tom. He wed for a second time to Ellen and opened his first machine shop in 1865, shortly before Catherine was born. Catherine was the first of their four children (James, Andrew, and Eleanor).

While growing up in Rochester, Catherine who was commonly called “Kate” was an active, strong-willed child and a proverbial tomboy. She was also intelligent and mechanically inclined, beginning to read books regarding machines and engineering at the age of nine. Her older half brother, Tom, had become his father’s helper in the machine shop. When Kate was eleven years old, Tom developed typhoid and died. The family was distraught over their loss and her father found himself without a helper or the income to hire a suitable replacement. In his anguish, Kate’s father discussed the situation with her mother and she overheard him make the statement “if only Kate were a boy.”

A few days after overhearing her father’s comment, the eleven year old Kate went to his shop to ask him if she could work there. Remarkably, he agreed. Thus began Kate’s career in 1877 within the tool machining industry which lead to her eventually becoming one of the first women engineers in the United States. Kate worked very hard and quickly became an asset to the growing business. At the age of fourteen, she requested the company bookkeeping position and her father agreed. As her brothers got older, they too joined the business. In 1884, she became the first woman engineering student to enroll in the Mechanical Arts program at Cornell University. When the firm began to struggle financially, Kate was summoned home. Health issues ended a later return to Cornell and she never graduated, although she earned the title of engineer through training and self-learning.

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Scope and Content (Collapse)

The Kate Gleason College of Engineering photographs consists of informal color photographs, slides, and negatives of the Kate Gleason College of Engineering (KGCOE) at RIT during the late 1980's and mid-1990's. They include informal academic shots in classrooms and labs, some labeled Vibrations Machine Vision Ergonomics and IME, 6/95. There are approximately eighty 3.5 x 5 inch color photographs with negatives. Informal snapshots of events held by KGCOE include Freshman Funfest, Casino Night and Dedication in 1998. The collection also includes snapshots of the 1995 and1996 KGCOE commencement ceremony and a videotape about the collecge called Building on Excellence from 2000.

Most of the photographs in this collection are unidentified.

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Arrangement (Collapse)

Photographs are arranged loosely by subject or event and then chronologically in two boxes.

Box 1

  • Folder 1 - Freshman Funfest, 1997,1998
  • Folder 2 - Other Events - Dedication, 11/20/1998; Holiday party, 12/18/1998; Casino night, 1997

Box 2

  • Folder 3 - Academics
  • Folder 4 - Unidentifeds
  • Folder 5 - Commencement 1995-1996

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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. Kate Gleason College of Engineering photographs

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Subject Headings (Collapse)

Personal Name(s)

  • Gleason, Kate, 1865-1933

Corporate Name(s)

  • Rochester Institute of Technology. College of Engineering.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology. Kate Gleason College of Engineering.


  • Classrooms -- New York (State) -- Rochester
  • Commencement ceremonies -- New York (State) -- Rochester


  • Negatives (photographic)
  • Photographs
  • Slides (photographs)

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Information for Researchers (Collapse)

Preferred Citation

Kate Gleason College of Engineering photographs, RIT Archive Collections

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open to researchers.

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Administrative Information (Collapse)

Collection ID


Accession Information

Accession number(s): 2007:075

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Jody Sidlauskas in December 2012.

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Related Materials (Collapse)

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Other Descriptive Data (Collapse)

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Bibliography (Collapse)

Gleason, Janis. The Life and Letters of Kate Gleason. ROchester, N.Y.: RIT Press, 2010.

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