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RIT Library architectural plans

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RITArc-0276

Scope and Contents

RIT Library architectural plans document the early development of what would become the Wallace Memorial Library on the Henrietta campus, as well as the 1988 addition and renovation of the library. Aside from plans, there is a framed, color rendering of the library, and a three-dimensional model of the 1988 renovation by Macon/Chantreuil architects. The firm created several buildings on the RIT Henrietta campus: Kilian J. and Caroline F. Schmitt Interfaith Center, E. Philip Saunders College of Business, and the Bausch and Lomb Center. There are also a few plans of the library on the downtown Rochester campus.


  • Creation: circa 1962-1991

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Historical Information: RIT Libraries

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.


10 Linear Feet (5 Oversize lid boxes, 1 Model, 1 Framed rendering)




Architectural plans, renderings, and model relating to the libraries at RIT. Most records concern the 1988 addition and renovation of the Wallace Memorial Library.


Collection materials are roughly arranged by subject and by year.

Physical Location

C.S. South, Shelves 702, 718, 740, 747

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Amy Vilz in October 2011.

RIT Library architectural plans
RIT Archives
Amy Vilz
31 October 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