Skip to main content

RIT Wallace Memorial Library records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RITArc-0232

Scope and Contents

RIT Wallace Library records contain Faculty/Library Committee minutes, financial reports, fliers, posters, ephemera, bookplates, gifts to the library, and master plans. Copies of History of the Libraries, an essay written by former RIT Archivist Gladys Taylor are also included. Most notably, the collection includes records regarding the 1991 addition to the library. These include building plans, correspondence, memos, space studies, Building Committee, October 1988 ground-breaking, and a report, Addition to Wallace Memorial Library, General Construction, Mechanical, Electrical. The collection also contains the digital image of the plaque dedicating the Gallery for RIT History and Art to Gladys Taylor.


  • Creation: 1919-2018


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Historical Information: Wallace Memorial Library

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). RAMI changed its name to the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1944 to better reflect the university's role in the field of technical education.

From its beginnings, the library has been an important part of the Rochester Institute of Technology. One of the primary benefits of being a member of the Rochester Athenaeum was having access to the organization's collection of books and journals. These materials were not limited to the field of science, but spanned a variety of subject areas. The Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics' Association (RAMA) had an extensive library collection, which was open to its 2,000 members. Unfortunately for the Institute, RAMA fell on hard times during the 1870s and by 1877 the situation was so dire that creditors were forced to sell the organization's library collection. When the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI) was formed in 1891, the school only had a small collection of books available to its students.

RAMI's library started as a single room in the Eastman building with a small number of books. In 1910, the Institute hired its first librarian, Eleanor Gleason. The library grew gradually over the years so that by 1944 the university had a collection of 12,000 books and 300 periodicals available for its students. Yet, when the Middle States Association's accreditation team visited the university in 1958, they were not satisfied with the size of the library, finding it too small and understaffed. In 1958, the newly named RIT converted the Hathaway Bakery to house the library's collection. This was the first attempt by the Institute to create a true academic library that fully supported the university's programs.

When the Institute relocated from the city of Rochester to the suburbs of Henrietta in 1968 the Wallace Memorial Library was built. Named for Charles F. and Florence M. Wallace, benefactors of the college, the library was built to accommodate the 6,500 students enrolled at the university. As enrollment continued to increase during the twentieth century, an expansion was added. The expansion - dedicated in 1991 - enabled the Institute to integrate Eisenhower College's Ellis D. Slater Library's collection into its holdings. Eisenhower College had been acquired by RIT in 1979, but was forced to close its doors shortly after.

As of 2003, the Wallace Library had over 400,000 titles in its collection. That same year, to emphasize the Cary Graphic Arts Library, Special Collections, and the RIT Archives, the name of the library was changed to RIT Libraries. In 2009, RIT Libraries merged with Teaching and Learning Services to form The Wallace Center.


1.5 Linear Feet (6 document boxes, 1 carton, 3 items on shelf)

1 Item(s) (Digital image of plaque dedicating Gallery for RIT History and Art to Gladys Taylor)




RIT Wallace Memorial Library records contain committee and financial reports, master plans, and records relating to the 1988 library addition.


Collection materials are arranged by subject.

Physical Location

C.S. South, Shelf 734-735

Other Finding Aids

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

RIT Wallace Library collection

Related Materials


Currently unable to locate Wallace Library Dedication film.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Amy Vilz in August 2011.

RIT Wallace Memorial Library records
RIT Archives
Amy Vilz
12 August 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