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John Wenrich student drawings

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RITArt-0003

Scope and Contents

The John Wenrich student drawings consist of 81 drawings, mostly done during Wenrich's time as a student at the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI). Many of the pieces are pencil sketches of models, still life, landscapes, and architectural scenes. However, there are several landscape and architectural paintings as well as pen-and-ink drawings. While most of the pieces were done during Wenrich's studies at RAMI (1914-1917), several items were done before he was a student. Three of the pieces were completed after Wenrich had graduated.


  • Creation: 1909-1928


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

John C. Wenrich (1894-1970) was born in Cumberland, MD on May 3, 1894, the son of a locomotive engineer. After finishing high school, Wenrich began working for an architectural firm in the Cumberland area. He considered studying for a career in architectural design, but had struggled with mathematics. Instead, he enrolled at the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI) in 1914, where he studied drawing and design. In 1916, Wenrich received the Wiltsie Water-Color prize, an award given annually to a student at RAMI. After two years, he moved to New York City where he spent a year at the Art Students League. Wenrich also studied for five months at the University of Toulouse in France, following two years of service in the U.S. Army during World War I.

When Wenrich returned to the United States, he accepted a position as an architectural illustrator at a Rochester-based firm, Gordon and Kaelber. He continued in this position until 1931, when he became an architectural renderer for the design team of Rockefeller Center in New York City. After a year of working as a freelance illustrator in Rochester, Wenrich began working for the New York World's Fair Board of Design. He served as an architectural illustrator for both the 1939 and 1964 New York World's Fairs.

Wenrich returned to his alma mater several times as an instructor. From 1927-1930 he taught architectural rendering, free-hand drawing, and composition at RAMI. Then, in 1947 he joined RAMI's (now known as the Rochester Institute of Technology) faculty as a part-time instructor. He is best remembered for his work for the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition (1930) and his renderings of the two New York World's Fairs. Wenrich died on August 16, 1970.

Throughout his lifetime, Wenrich received several awards and recognitions. He earned the Burdette Long Awards for Architectural Rendering in both 1932 and 1944 and took first prize in the Devoe Travel America National Poster Competition in 1940. He was elected as a fellow in the Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences and was a member of the American Watercolor Society, the Art and Print Clubs of Rochester, and two architectural societies. The John Wenrich Memorial Library and Preservation Information Center in Rochester is also named for him and was financed by a memorial fund set-up in his name.


3.7 Linear Feet (1 box)




Drawings done by John Wenrich during his time as a student at the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (now the Rochester institute of Technology). Wenrich was an artist best known for his architectural illustrations and renderings. The collection includes sketches of models, still life, and landscapes, as well as some paintings and pen-and-ink drawings.


This collection is currently unprocessed. Materials are housed in four separate flat file drawers.

Physical Location

C.S. North, Shelf 89

Other Finding Aids

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

John Wenrich student drawings

Custodial History

Prior to coming to the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), the collection was donated to the Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) by Kathy Eye. In 2005, MAG donated the collection to the RIT Archive Collections.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 06:41

The collection was given to the RIT Archive Collections by the Memorial Art Gallery in 2005.

Related Materials

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Lara Nicosia in December 2010.

John Wenrich student drawings
RIT Art Collection
Lara Nicosia
16 December 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA