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Frederick W. Brehm Memorial Lecture records

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RITArc-0145

Scope and Contents

The Frederick W. Brehm Memorial Lecture collection contains materials related to the lecture series and its participants. The collection includes correspondence, a list of past recipients up to 1985, and a copy of Roy E. Stryker's speech, presented as the first lecture in the series. Additionally, there are copies of programs for several different years, announcements for the lectures, and clippings on several of the speakers. The collection also includes a short biographical sketch on Frederick W. Brehm for whom the lecture series was named.


  • Creation: 1950-1951, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1969, 1972-1976, 1985-1990

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

The Frederick W. Brehm Memorial Lecture series was started at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in honor of Frederick W. Brehm (d. 1950), a former professor of photography at the school. Originally from Waterloo, NY, Brehm is best known for his role in developing the Cirkut Panoramic Camera. Although this camera was invented by William J. Johnston in Wyoming in 1904, the design was perfected and readied for mass production by Brehm. The camera worked by moving in an arc from left to right and utilized a timed exposure. When he patented his design on January 17, 1905, Brehm established himself as a leader in the field of photography.

In 1917, Brehm joined the Eastman Kodak Company. At the time, the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI) was training individuals to work in a variety of fields, but not in photographic production. With the Eastman Kodak Company being one of Rochester’s largest employers, it made sense that a Rochester-based school would help support the company's employment needs. In 1930, Brehm was “leant” to RAMI to serve as one of two faculty members in the Department of Photographic Technology, a program started to educate individuals to work in the field of photographic materials and equipment production. The program was designed to be a two year cooperative study program, with the first year of classes being taught by Brehm and the second year being taught by Carroll B. Neblette.

Brehm continued to teach at RAMI until July 1944. After retiring, he remained at RAMI (now the Rochester Institute of Technology) as an instructor emeritus and field consultant. Because he was seen as a father-like figure by his students, Brehm was often referred to by his pupils as “Pappy Brehm.” He died in Rochester, NY in 1950.

The first Frederick W. Brehm Memorial Lecture was held in 1950. Roy E. Stryker, best known for his work in organizing the documentary section of the Farm Security Administration (FSA), gave a biographical speech on Brehm. In addition to giving a speech, Stryker was honored with the Frederick W. Brehm Memorial Medal. The award and lecture series continued to be offered until at least 1989 with various figures in the field of photography being selected as recipients. In 1956 responsibility for the event was taken over by RIT's chapter of the Delta Lambda Professional Photographic Fraternity.

Frederick W. Brehm Memorial Medal recipients

  • Mr. Roy E. Stryker
  • Mr. Ralph M. Evans
  • Mr. Lloyd E. Varden
  • Mr. Beaumont Newhall
  • Dr. J. I. Friedman
  • Dr. Harold Edgerton
  • Dr. Edwin Land
  • Mr. Ansel Adams
  • Mr. Otto Storch
  • Dr. Cyril J. Staud
  • Mr. Gordon Parks
  • Brig. Gen. George W. Goddard
  • Mr. Yousuf Karsh
  • Mr. George Silk
  • Dr. H. F. Nitka
  • Dr. W. D. Wright
  • Mr. Bert Stern
  • Mr. Larry Burrows
  • Mr. W. Eugene Smith
  • Mr. Paul Linwood Gittings
  • Mr. Irving Penn
  • Mr. Stan Grossfeld
  • Mr. Anthony Suau
  • Mr. Paul Benoit
  • Mr. Manuel Alvarez Bravo
  • Mr. Richard W. Underwood
  • Mrs. Barbara Morgan
  • Extent

    1 Box(es) (One half blue/gray document box.)




    Materials related to the Frederick W. Brehm Memorial Lecture program. The program was established in 1950 in honor of Frederick W. Brehm, a former professor in the Rochester Institute of Technology's department of photography. The collection includes programs, announcements, correspondence, clippings and other records.


    The folders are arranged alphabetically with materials in each folder arranged chronologically.

    Other Finding Aids

    In addition to this finding aid, an inventory is available below. For more information, please contact the RIT Archive Collections.

    Frederick W. Brehm Memorial Lecture records

    Processing Information

    Finding aid created by Lara Nicosia in April 2011.

    Frederick W. Brehm Memorial Lecture collection
    RIT Archives
    Lara Nicosia
    04 April 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