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RIT School of Printing records

 Collection — Carton: 1
Identifier: RITArc-0646

Scope and Contents

The RIT School of Printing records include materials related to the founding and evolution of the School of Printing at RIT. While the School of Printing was founded at RIT in 1937, news clippings within this collection range from 1920 to 2000 and reflect the origin's of RIT's program, The Empire State School of Printing. Records include general information on the school in promotional materials, memorandums, and annual reports. There are course brochures for topics such as publishing, web offset newspaper management, and fundamental of printing. There is a program proposal for Printing and Applied Computer Science. Correspondence between alumni and faculty are in this collection and pertain to events, reunions, and industry conferences, as well as course offerings and suggestions.

Materials regarding alumni encompass alumni directories, newsletters, and reunion events held by the Printers' Alumni Association. There are promotional materials, such as invitations, programs, and itineraries for printing and publishing conferences, seminars, and lecture series. Records also include programs, invitiations, and itneraries for the School of Printing's 50th Anniversary Celebration. There are publications about RIT as well as those published by RIT printing faculty or alumni. Various style books and print samples from the School of Printing are also within this collection. These include style books from RAMI and RIT, research on typography and web offset, information on starting a printing business, and research regarding color notation. Miscellaneous samples include a newspaper calendar, printed wrapping paper, and an 1965 edition of The Catholic News.


  • Creation: 1920-2000


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.


1.5 Linear Feet (1 carton)




The RIT School of Printing records include general information on the school, course brochures, and a program proposal, as well as alumni directories and clippings. There are correspondence, publications from or about RIT, and promotional materials for printing conferences, seminars, and alumni reunions. Also included within this collection are style books and samples from the school. Materials range in date from 1920 to 2000.


This collection is arranged by material type and chronological order.

Other Finding Aids

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

RIT School of Printing records

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Jenna Bossert in January 2016.

RIT School of Printing records
RIT Archives
Jenna Bossert
27 January 2016
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