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Theodore Chapman papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RITArc-0168

Scope and Contents

The Theodore Chapman papers consist of personal items that belonged to Chapman, an alum and benefactor of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Most of the collection consists of photographs either of Chapman or taken by Chapman. There are several portraits of Chapman including some of him in his U.S. Air Force uniform, as well as photographs of his elementary school class, Chapman's "Mechanics Institute Friends," and him on vacation in Acapulco, Mexico.

In addition to photographs, the collection includes items related to Chapman's time in the U.S. Air Force. There is a copy of his "Student Pilot Rating Book" (1942), two "R.A.I. Student Flight" logs, and group pictures of Chapman's 43-K squadron. There are also several items related to Chapman's career such as a business card and a retirement portrait.

The collection also contains some biographical information such as handwritten research notes on Chapman's life and several relevant clippings. There is also a memorandum regarding the Theodore Chapman scholarship that was endowed by Chapman's donation to the Institute.


  • Creation: 1939-1989


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

Theodore Chapman (1918-1988) was born in Rochester, NY on June 18, 1918. He attended Public School #44 in the city of Rochester for elementary school. After finishing high school, he enrolled in the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute's (renamed the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1944) photographic technology program and graduated in 1939. Chapman enlisted in the U.S. Army on January 7, 1943 where he served as a pilot for the remainder of World War II. He remained in the reserve force of the newly-formed U.S. Air Force, ultimately reaching the rank of Captain. In addition to serving in World War II, Chapman participated in the Korean Conflict military effort.

Chapman's career was spent at the Eastman Kodak Company. He started at the company as a technical representative. Over the years he served a variety of areas including Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee. He was promoted to the Northeastern Sales Division in 1963. When Chapman retired from the company in 1980, he was the Coordinator of Product Planning and Graphic Arts.

Following his retirement, Chapman moved to Austin, Texas. He died of stomach cancer on April 7, 1988 and is buried in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, TX. In his will, Chapman left $2.5 million to his alma mater, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). The gift was unexpected. Chapman has lived a frugal life and through wise investments was able to build up his estate. The funds were used create a permanently endowed merit scholarship for students in the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences.


0.8 Linear Feet (1 clamshell box)




Papers of Theodore Chapman, a Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) alum and benefactor. Chapman left a large contribution to RIT when he died in 1988. The collection includes biographical information on Chapman, as well as photographs, a flight training manual, clippings, and other miscellaneous material.


The collection is contained in a single box.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Lara Nicosia in May 2011.

Theodore Chapman papers
RIT Archives
Lara Nicosia
20 May 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