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Stephen K. Sillay and Irene Adams Sillay collection

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RITArc-0509

Scope and Contents

The first item in this collection is a handwritten note from Mrs. Stephen K. Sillay, which describes some of the items in the collection. In the note, Mrs. Sillay says that the objects and paper documents were from Mr. Sillay’s time at the Mechanic’s Institute in 1936, but records show he attended school from 1931 to 1935.

Several of the items in the collection relate to pinhole camera photography, including several handouts providing details on how to make and use an Eastman pinhole camera. The collection also contains one Eastman Kodak Company pinhole camera with the name Irena Adams written on it in pencil. In the collection are other photography related items, two of which are film holders for a 4x5 camera. Eastman Kodak Company was one of the most prominent film and camera manufacturing companies during the time period that Mr. Sillay was a student here.

Many of the booklets and paper documents in the collection are student handouts and assignment sheets or textbooks for different classes that Mr. Stephen Sillay was most likely enrolled in. Eastman Kodak Company made many of the booklets, but some were made by different Rochester area photographic businesses, such as Defender-Photo Supply Company, Inc. Their booklets contain information on a wide variety of photographic processes and films. There are several photography textbooks in the collection, which were most likely from Mr. Stephen Sillay’s courses at the Mechanic’s Institute in the 1930’s. One of the texts, Elementary Photography, was written by three men, two of which were Mechanic’s Institute professors.

The collection also contains a few personal items of Stephen Sillay that do not relate to his courses, but to his time as a Mechanic’s Institute student. One of these items is a newspaper clipping of an obituary of a fellow Mechanic’s Institute student, which one can assume was a friend of Sillay’s. There is a class ring from the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanic’s Institute, which was most likely Mr. Sillay’s. Finally, there is a metal Mechanic’s Institute ashtray with an “M I” monogram in the center of it.


  • Creation: circa 1933-1937


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical Information: Stephen K. Sillay

Stephen Sillay attended Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI) in the Photo Technology program from 1933-1935. He was born in 1911, lived in Tallspoosa, Georgia and married Irene Adams (b.1920), also a RAMI photo graduate. While attending RAMI, he participated in the MICA Club, the Glee Club, Wrestling, and the Camera Club. A photograph of him can be found in the 1935 Ramikin yearbook. Together they lived at 161 Scottsville Rd. in Rochester, NY. and Stephen worked for the Eastman Kodak Company. (1947) Mr. Sillay may have taught photography at RAMI's Evening School after he graduated as indicated in a curriculum book in the collection.

The Department of Photographic Technology is now known as Imaging and Photographic Technology, which is part of the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences.


0.25 Linear Feet (One document box)




The donor of this collection was Mrs. Stephen K. Sillay, wife of Mr. Stephen Sillay, who was a student in the Department of Photographic Technology at the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanic’s Institute, now known as the Rochester Institute of Technology. He attended school here from 1931-1935. The collection consists of textbooks, handouts, and objects related to courses Stephen Sillay was enrolled in relating to analog photographic processes, as well as a few personal objects.


Collection is arranged by item type.

Physical Location

C.S. South, Shelf 219

Other Finding Aids

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

Stephen K Sillay collection

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to the RIT Archive Collections by Mrs. Stephen K. Sillay (Irene Adams) in 1986. Accession number(s): 1986:001

Related Materials

No Subnote Content

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Jody Sidlauskas in May 2014.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Jody Sidlauskas in May 2014.

Stephen K. Sillay and Irene Adams Sillay collection
RIT Archives
Jody Sidlauskas
21 May 2014
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