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Collection on Carleton B. Gibson

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: RITArc-0210

Scope and Contents

The Collection on Carleton B. Gibson contains photocopies of clippings from books and newspapers. Most of the clippings document the naming of Gibson as first president of the Mechanics Institute (now RIT) in 1910. A lesser portion concern his work with the American Commission of War Relief in Belgium and Poland during World War I, resignation from the Institute in 1916, and his death in 1927. Clippings include portraits of Gibson.


  • Creation: 1910-1927

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) can trace its origins to the founding of the Rochester Athenaeum in 1829. After joining with several different Rochester institutions during the 19th century, the Athenaeum finally merged with the Mechanics Institute (founded in 1885) in 1891 to form the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI).

Until 1910, the Institute never had a president of its faculty. For the previous twenty-five years, the Board of Directors handled all executive concerns. At this time the Institute was expanding rapidly, and Board Members had private affairs to tend to, leaving less time for Institute matters. This combination of factors made a separate executive head necessary. The Board named Carleton Gibson the first president of the Institute in June, 1910.

Gibson was a nationally known educator. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he began his professional career teaching Latin and Greek. Subsequently, he spent fifteen years as superintendent of schools in Columbus, Georgia where he developed industrial schools for primary and secondary grades.

Gibson is best remembered for introducing the Co-op program at the Institute in 1912, whereby students would spend half their time gaining experience working in their trades and half their time in class. These internships are still a vital part of the student experience at RIT today.

World War I would impinge on Gibson’s position as President. In October 1914, President Hoover asked Gibson to become a member of the American Commission for War Relief in Belgium, and Gibson was granted a 3 month leave of absence. In Belgium, he was responsible for the care of 350,000 refugees. His duties expanded to Poland, and his leave of absence was extended into 1915. Because of his effectiveness, he was offered the opportunity to command all relief efforts of the Rockefeller Foundation, the largest supporter of the Commission. Gibson accepted the post and resigned from the Mechanics Institute in July 1916.

After the War, Gibson served as superintendent of schools in Savannah, Georgia until 1926. He died the following year.


1 Folder(s)




The Carleton Gibson collection consists of photocopied clippings relating to Gibson's life, beginning with his appointment as the Institute's first president, to his work during World War I, and his death in 1927.


Clippings are arranged chronologically.

Physical Location

C.S. South, Shelf 783, Box 3A

Related Materials

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Amy Vilz in July 2011.

Collection on Carleton B. Gibson
RIT Archives
Amy Vilz
24 July 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