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Susan Bevier estate records

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RITArc-0001

Scope and Contents

The Susan Bevier estate records consist of documents related to Bevier's estate and its relation to the Rochester Institute of Technology. The collection contains a variety of legal documents including a copy of Bevier's last will and testament, an estate inventory, and several legal agreements. Bevier left $50,000 of her $100,000 estate to the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (Rochester Institute of Technology) when she passed away in 1903. The collection includes correspondence related to the Institute's use of the funds. The correspondence discusses various matters including the wording of Bevier's gift and how the funds were expected to be used.


  • Creation: 1899-1954
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1899 - 1907


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical Note

Susan A. Bevier (1821-1903), née Nelson, was born in May 1821 and eventually married Henry H. Bevier. Although Henry was originally from Binghamton, NY, he moved to New York City sometime after 1863. The Beviers were a prominent family in Manhattan, having achieved financial success. Susan Bevier, an art enthusiast, visited family and friends in Rochester, NY every summer. She actively collected artwork and was a proponent of art education. Thus, when Mrs. Bevier passed away she left a large portion of her estate to the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (renamed the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1944).

Susan Bevier had already given financial support to the Institute's Department of Fine Arts. The money she left in her will was to be used to construct and equip a fine arts building, as well as support the program's instruction costs. The building was to have a permanent gallery, classrooms, and workshops. In addition, an auditorium was to be included in the structure and named in memory of Bevier's daughter, Alice D. Bevier. Alice died on March 2, 1896. Mrs. Bevier also specified in her will that any remaining funds should be used to purchase artwork for the school on an annual basis.

The Bevier Memorial Building was erected in 1910 on the site of Colonel Nathaniel Rochester's house. Colonel Rochester purchased land in 1803 that eventually became the city of Rochester, NY. The building, designed by architect Claude F. Bragdon, housed the Institute's various art programs, as well as the Bevier art collection and officially opened on December 4, 1911. Then, the Institute relocated from the city of Rochester to the suburbs of Henrietta in 1968. A gallery in the James E. Booth building on the new campus was named the Bevier Gallery in Mrs. Bevier's honor.

Susan Bevier died on February 21, 1903. She was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, NY along with her husband and daughter.


0.8 Linear Feet (1 lid box)




Legal documents related to the estate of Susan Bevier, a benefactor of the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (now named the Rochester Institute of Technology). The collection contains copies of Mrs. Bevier's estate records including her will, estate inventory, and deeds, as well as correspondence related to the use of Mrs. Bevier's generous donation.


This collection is arranged by date.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Lara Nicosia in March 2011.

Susan Bevier estate records
RIT Archives
Lara Nicosia
23 March 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA