Series SC.FITA.0.2 - Historical Photographs collection

Identity area

Reference code

US NNFIT SC.FITA.0.2

Title

Historical Photographs collection

Date(s)

  • 1940-1990 (Creation)

Level of description

Series

Extent and medium

4 boxes (62 folders)

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

In the 1940s, fashion and apparel industry members were faced with a dwindling number of qualified people to help them run and carry on their businesses. The next generation wanted to be doctors and lawyers—not tailors. A group of industry members, led by Mortimer C. Ritter, an educator with an interest in programs for young working people, and Max Meyer, a retired menswear manufacturer, set about organizing a school to ensure the vitality of their businesses. First, they created the Educational Foundation for the Fashion Industries to promote education for the industry. The Foundation then obtained a charter from the New York State Board of Regents to establish a “fashion institute of technology and design.” The institute opened in 1944 with 100 students, and was located on the top two floors of the High School of Needle Trades.

Soon, supporters wanted to bring greater prestige to the industry by having the institute become a college with the authority to confer degrees. Industrialists and educators decided on two majors: Design (with programs in apparel, millinery, and textiles) and Scientific Management. The curriculum also included Liberal Arts. In 1951, three years after the State University of New York had been established and state law had provided for the creation of community colleges, FIT became the second SUNY community college empowered to grant the Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree. By then, there were 400 day students and about 1,000 evening students.

FIT received accreditation in 1957, and as the curriculum and student body grew, the college moved into its first real home—a nine-story building on Seventh Avenue in the heart of the garment district—in 1959. The building had been planned for 1,200 students; by 1963, there were 4,000. During this time, the college’s curriculum was growing beyond traditional notions of fashion, to include subjects like photography and advertising and interior design.

The college wanted to further expand its curriculum by offerings bachelor’s and master’s degrees— something that “was just not done” by a community college, according to the State University’s former chancellor. Representatives of the college and supporters in the industry and government lobbied hard to persuade legislators to allow FIT to do this. In 1975, an amendment to the Education Law of New York State permitted FIT to offer BS and BFA programs; another in 1979 authorized master’s programs.

By this time, six more buildings had been added to the campus, including two dormitories, and the Shirley Goodman Resource Center, which houses the Gladys Marcus Library and The Museum at FIT. The school continued to grow by adding state-of-the art facilities, like the Design/Lighting Research Laboratory and the Annette Green Fragrance Foundation Studio (the first of its kind on a college campus), making international programs available to students, and evolving its academic offerings.

Today, the campus encompasses an entire city block, and serves more than 10,000 students. The college offers degrees in diverse subjects, such as Menswear and Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing, which are unique to the college, and Fashion Merchandising Management, Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design, and Toy Design, the first of their kind in the country (http://www.fitnyc.edu/about/history.php).

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Collection of random photographs from throughout the history of the Fashion Institute of Technology. The collection is broken down into two subseries: General and Construction Documentation.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Accruals

Accruals not expected.

System of arrangement

Chronological by year and month when information is available. Otherwise organized by program.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Access is open to researchers by appointment at the Fashion Institute of Technology Library, Department of Special Collections and FIT Archives.

Conditions governing reproduction

The Department of Special Collections and FIT Archives does not own copyright for all material held in its physical custody. It is the researcher's obligation to abide by and satisfy copyright law (http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#108) when copying or using materials (including digital materials) found in or made available from the department. When possible, the department will inform a researcher about the copyright status of material, the researcher's obligations with regard to such material, and, wherever possible, the owner or owners of the copyrights. Any and all reproduction of originals is at the archivist's discretion.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

The Library of the Fashion Institute of Technology, Department of Special Collections and FIT Archives, 27th St. at 7th Ave., NY, NY , USA, 10001

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Status

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Language(s)

  • English

Script(s)

Sources

Archivist's note

Arrangement, description, and/or archival processing by J.E. Molly Seegers, FIT, NY, NY, USA.

Accession area