The Stories They Tell

Walter W. Taylor

In 2011, Paul Taylor donated a set of drawings, a flag and a photograph album to the RIT Archives that had belonged to his father, Walter W. Taylor. Walter W. Taylor attended Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI), now RIT, from roughly 1905 -1908. Taylor went through the Mechanical Course, which prepared students for manufacturing work with classes in mechanical drawing, trigonometry, and machine work.
An avid photographer, Taylor also spent some of his free time photographing the sights around Rochester. The photograph album contains images of the Genesee River, downtown buildings, Letchworth as well as his fellow students relaxing.
Student pranks and hijinks are nothing new, and the amusing story connected to the flag on display illustrates this well. According to his son, the flag, with an ’05 in the RAMI blue and gray colors, was proudly flown by the upperclassmen. There must have been some concern (or it was a dare) that it could be stolen, because the upperclassmen greased the flagpole to prevent anyone from reaching the top. This just made it a more attractive target, and not to be outwitted, Walter and his friends “captured” the flag using an ingenious method. The younger group used a pair of pole climbers (steel devices with sharp points on the side and leather straps to hold them on) to evade the slippery substance and reach the top and the flag. Taylor took the flag with him when he left RAMI and it was presumably with the family and never seen until put on display here 110 years later.

1905 Flag
Dinner Table
Mechanical drawing tool set in RAMI case
Mechanical drawing tools
Photograph of Walter Taylor with friends
Walter Taylor's photograph album
Walter W. Taylor. Drawing Sheet No. 34, Development of ...