Collection on George Eastman
Scope and Contents
The Collection on George Eastman mainly consists of clippings and articles regarding Eastman and his many philanthropic works and legacy, including the Eastman Building at RAMI and the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. The collection is notable for two letters written by Eastman. The first, sent to the Trustees of RAMI, is typewritten and dated 1891. The second is handwritten, and was sent to Ezra Andrews in 1892. Last, the collection includes two booklets: Kodak Park in War Time (circa 1917) and George Eastman: A Brief Biography of the Founder of Eastman Kodak Company (1953).
- Creation: 1891-1991
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1930 - 1985
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open to researchers.
Biographical / Historical
Born in 1854, George Eastman left school at age 14 to support his mother and two sisters. He worked in a real estate office, insurance firm, and later, as a bookkeeper for Rochester Savings Bank. During this time, he experimented with photography, and in particular with improving dry plates. In 1880 he opened the Eastman Dry Plate Company, which would eventually become Eastman Kodak.
Eastman was a noted philanthropist, establishing the Eastman School of Music and the Eastman Theatre. He also supported the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Rochester Civic Orchestra, University of Rochester, and the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI), a precursor to RIT.
In 1900, Eastman promised to fund a new facility for RAMI. The Eastman Building officially opened its doors on April 15, 1901, and was designed by J. Foster Warner, a Rochester-based architect who had designed several other buildings in the Western New York region, including the George Eastman House. Eastman worked closely with Warner, providing his own insight into how the new RAMI building should be designed. At Eastman's suggestion, a lunchroom and recreation area were included and the building was made to be fire-proof. Since the project was starting from scratch, the layout was able to be configured so as to best accommodate RAMI's programs. For instance, rooms were grouped together in clusters for the various programs and a library was installed. Ultimately the building was shaped like a letter "E" and was connected to the old building (which still housed the manual training program) by a bridge on the second floor.
By 1932, Eastman was in ill-health, and on March 14, Eastman died by a self-inflicted gunshot to the heart. Over the course of his lifetime, Eastman had given away some $100 million to cultural groups and educational organizations.
The Collection on George Eastman contains clippings, correspondence, and publications documenting the life of philanthropist and inventor George Eastman.
Materials are roughly arranged by format.
C.S. South, Shelf 783, Box 2A
Finding aid created by Amy Vilz in November 2011.
- Eastman, George (Person)
- Eastman Kodak Company (Organization)
- Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute. Eastman Building (Organization)
- Collection on George Eastman
- RIT Archives
- Amy Vilz
- 04 November 2011
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note