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Collection on Royal B. Farnum

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: RITArc-0212

Scope and Contents

The Collection on Royal B. Farnum contains photocopies of clippings related to Farnum's appointment and role as third president of the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (now RIT). Also included are copies of articles he wrote regarding art education. They are:

  • The Purpose of Art Instruction in American Education
  • Art Education in the United States
  • Biennial Survey of Education in the United States 1928-1930, Chapter 8, Art Education
  • How Pictures Talk in the Home
  • Art and Its Relationships
  • Dates

    • Creation: 1916-2000
    • Creation: Majority of material found within 1916 - 1942

    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. He was followed by James F. Barker (1916-1919) and Royal B. Farnum (1919-1921).

    A graduate of the Massachusetts Normal Art School, Farnum taught art classes in the Cleveland public schools and served as Director of the Normal Department of the Cleveland School of Art. In 1918, he was hired by the Mechanics Institute as Superintendent of the Department of Applied Arts. Within a year he was named president of the Institute.

    During Farnum's tenure, more students enrolled at the institute than ever before. This was primarily due to the school's appeal as an intermediary place of instruction between high school and college-level education. Fundraising efforts carried out during his term allowed the school to remain financially stable.

    In 1921 he left the Institute to serve as Principal of the Massachusetts Normal Art School and Director of Art Education for the state of Massachusetts. In 1929 he moved to the Rhode Island School of Design, first as Educational Director, then as Executive Vice President. He also served as president of several national organizations: the National Association for Art Education, the National Association of Schools of Design, and the Federal Council on Art Education.

    Farnum died in August of 1916 at age 83.


    1 Folder(s)




    Contains photocopies of clippings and articles about and by Royal B. Farnum, third president of the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI) from 1919-1921.


    Collection materials are arranged chronologically.

    Physical Location

    C.S. South, Shelf 783, Box 3

    Related Materials

    Processing Information

    Finding aid created by Amy Vilz in July 2011.

    Collection on Royal B. Farnum
    RIT Archives
    Amy Vilz
    25 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