Skip to main content

Clara Duggan's Mechanics Institute first grade sewing scrapbook and photograph

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RITArc-0592

Scope and Contents

The collection includes Clara Duggan's First Grade Sewing class scrapbook which holds samples of hand stitching required to master for the class. There are approximately 15 models or samples of different stitches on small pieces of fabrics. The stitches include running and basting, back stitching, combination stitching, true bias, french or napery hemming, placket gusset, gathering and button holes, all done by hand. Students were required to keep the samples and were graded on them.

There is also a small black and white photograph of Clara Duggan's Cooking Class in 1913; a RAMI commencement program from 1913; two clippings; a biography on Clara; and a correspondence from the donor.


  • Creation: circa 1910-1913


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

Clara DeLora Duggan, (1891-1980) from Gainesville, N.Y. attended Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI) from 1910-1913 and graduated from the Normal Class in Domestic Science (teacher's preparation) program in the Department of Household Arts and Science. Clara was born in 1891 and graduated from high school in 1909. While at RAMI, she met Harry Towle Watson whom she married in 1915. She taught school for 1 1/2 years but did not enjoy it. After that she started her family.

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 merged with the Mechanics Institute (founded in 1885) in 1891 to form the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI). The first domestic science class was held on March 2, 1893; within months, the Department of Domestic Science and Art formally opened with courses in cooking, sewing, emergencies, hygiene, and home nursing. By 1899, the department had grown from 367 to 1,310 students with additional courses in millinery, laundry work, elementary chemistry, physiology, teaching methods, dressmaking, and home furnishing. The department also offered teacher training, educating many women to teach home economics in the schools. The normal program was very popular in the early decades of the 20th century.


0.71 Linear Feet (1- 11 x 15" flat box)




Collection consists of a Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI) Household Science student scrapbook for First Grade Sewing class. Scrapbook contains a sample of fabric on each page with different types of stitching. Also includes photograph and clippings.


Collectionn is one scrapbook.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection was donated to the RIT Archives in April 2015 by Carol Davis, Clara Duggan's granddaughter.

Accession number(s): 2015:03

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Jody Sidlauskas in April 2015.

Clara Duggan's first grade sewing scrapbook and photograph
RIT Archives
Jody Sidlauskas
21 April 2015
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