Robert H. Johnston audio recordings

RIT Archives

Table of Contents

Collection Overview
Biographical Information for Robert H. Johnston
Scope and Content
Subject Headings
Information for Researchers
Administrative Information
Related Materials

Collection Overview (Collapse)

Robert H. Johnston audio recordings
Inclusive Date(s)
circa 1970
Audio recordings of Robert H. Johnston during his time at RIT. Dr. Robert H. Johnston spent twenty years as a professor and administrator at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He eventually became the Dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts. In 1990 he was named a Special Assistant to the President of R.I.T. Dr. Johnston most known for developing a system of using digital imaging to decode damaged and ancient texts including the Dead Sea Scrolls.
2.0 Digital file(s) (Digital audio files)
For access, contact RIT Archive Collections.
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 Robert H. Johnston (Collapse)

Robert H. Johnston (1928-2005) was born on July 1, 1928, in Reading, Pa. He served in the Marine Corps during World War II, and then studied art at what was then Kutztown State Teacher's College. He earned a master's degree in art from Columbia University. He taught at Lock Haven University and simultaneously studied for a doctorate in archaeology at Penn State University, which he earned in 1970.

Robert Johnston started at the Rochester Institute of Technology as dan of the College of Fine and Applied Arts, a position he held for nearly 20 years. He later was director of the institute's Chester Carlson Center for Imaging Science. During his time at RIT, he worked in digital imaging to tease out ancient text, often minute fragments of individual characters, that had not been seen for as long as 2,000 years. Along with the Dead Sea Scrolls, texts from the time of Christ, Johnston decoded parts of a 10th-century parchment copy of a famous treatise by the Greek mathematician Archimedes that had been used as the fabric for a 13th-century prayer book, among other projects.

Johnston passed away at his home in Brighton, NY in 2005 at the age of 77.

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Scope and Content (Collapse)

Recordings of two events during Robert H. Johnston's time at RIT. One is Johnston talking about RIT and especially the College of Fine and Applied Arts, School of Arts and Design and the School for American Craftsmen. He discusses how these graduates are prepared for lie and to enjoy the life they choose. The second recording is the audio portion for a slide show narrated by Johnston about the lighlights of RIT.

Original cassette recordings were digitized on 2/20/2015.

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Arrangement (Collapse)

The collection is arranged by title.

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Subject Headings (Collapse)

Personal Name(s)

  • Ellingson, Mark, 1904-1993
  • Johnston, Robert Harold, 1928-2005
  • Miller, Paul A., 1917-2015

Corporate Name(s)

  • Rochester Institute of Technology. College of Fine and Applied Arts.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology. School for American Crafts.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology. Technical and Education Center of the Graphic Arts .
  • Rochester Institute of Technology.


  • Art in universities and colleges -- New York (State) -- Rochester
  • Art students -- New York (State) -- Rochester
  • Arts administrators -- New York (State) -- Rochester
  • Crafts (art genres)
  • Graphic arts -- Study and teaching -- New York (State) -- Rochester


  • Interviews
  • Oral histories

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Information for Researchers (Collapse)

Preferred Citation

Robert H. Johnston audio recordings, 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 Jennifer Roeszies in November 2015.

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Related Materials (Collapse)

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