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RIT School of Printing samples

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RITArc-0609

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of over 100 printing samples created by students and faculty in the Rochester Institute of Technology School of Printing. Many of the samples were created or designed by printing professors Alexander Lawson, Archie Provan and their students. Mr. Lawson was a professor at RIT from 1969-1977. He was the former curator of the Cary Collection and wrote a book on the history of the school. Archie Provan was one of his students who later became a professor.

The samples are various awards and certificates presented to members of the RIT community, as well as some poetry and in memoriam programs.


  • Creation: 1969- 1980


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

According to The School of Printing, Rochester Institute of Technology: The First Half-Century, 1937-1987" by Alexander S. Lawson, RIT's School of Printing was founded in 1937 from the Empire State School of Printing in Ithaca, New York originally founded in 1922. The school was established by the New York State Publishers Association (NYSPA). In order to address the needs of the industry, the association had formed an education committee chaired by John W. Baker in 192. The education committee decided that NYSPA would provide sponsorship for the school. In February 1922, Frank E. Gannett, President of NYSPA, announced that the school would be opened that spring. Both men and women were trained at the Empire School of Printing to help ensure that printers in New York State would be able to keep up with the changing technologies of the field.

On May 1, 1922, the Empire State School of Printing opened its doors to its first three students under the direction of Ross William Kellogg. At this time, the program was six months and its curriculum included English, history of printing, elementary composition, management, and advertising typography. Students within the program focused on composition rather than presswork. Course offerings expanded to include linotype and interyper operations programs, as well as an engraving section. Class size for the program did not rise to more than 20 per year; as a result of this and the economic depression, the Empire State School of Printing faced decline and the potential loss of sponsorship.

Frank Gannett reached out to Dr. Mark Ellingson, the President of Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (now Rochester Institute of Technology), and they reached an agreement that the Institute would absorb the printing school. The School of Printing was transferred to RAMI with its first class starting in the Fall of 1937. The program at RAMI would provide broader training and would follow a two year format. After World War II, the School of Printing expanded in size; as a result, updated and larger facilities were necessary. By 1947, the Printing program at RIT became widely respected to the extent that Editor and Publisher Magazine described it as "one of the world's outstanding school's of printing." Over the course of time, the program has adapted to changing technology and the needs of society. Today the School of Media Sciences houses programs that emerged from the School of Printing. These include a Bachelor of Science in Media Arts and Sciences and a Master of Science in Print Media.


1 Linear Feet (1 Box 1 Oversize folder)




The collection contains over 100 printing samples collected by Rochester Institute of Technology Professors Alexander Lawson and Archie Provan. Many of the samples are awards and certificates presented to the RIT community during 1960-1980.


The collection is divided into two sections: one for oversized documents and the other for smaller documents.

Physical Location

C.S. North, Shelf 295, Poster Drawer 46
C.S. North, Shelf 361

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by Alexander Lawson and Archie Provan.

Accession number(s): 2012:043

Related Materials


The samples range in size from 4 X 6 to 15 x 20 inches.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Lisa Witt in August 2015.

RIT School of Printing samples
RIT Archives
Lisa Witt
27 August 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