series 14 - Mortimer C. Ritter records, 1951-1952

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Mortimer C. Ritter records, 1951-1952


  • 1951-1952 (Creation)

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Biographical history

Dr. Mortimer C. Ritter served as FIT President from 1951-1952. He is credited with a large part in the development of cooperation between the apparel industry and education in New York City. He was aided in this work by Max Meyer, who had become known as the dean of the fashion industry. Ritter attended Boys High School in Brooklyn and received a Master of Arts degree at the Teachers College, Columbia University. He began his career as a designer of men's apparel. In 1920, he became a teacher of garment design and in 1926, the Board of Education appointed him to create the Central High School of the Needle Trades. He was principal of the High School and then the Director of FIT. In 1951, he was made its first President.

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The Fashion Institute of Technology was the brainchild of the educator Mortimer C. Ritter and the menswear manufacturer Max Meyer. The school opened in 1944 on the top two floors of the High School of Needle Trades. By 1951, there was enough support for the institute as well as students enrolled to warrant a degree program at FIT. That year, the school was granted the right to award an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree. FIT received accreditation in 1957 and introduced a variety of courses, including Liberal Arts. During the 1960s, the curriculum grew to include interior design, advertising, and photography as subjects taught at the school. The following decade saw the school expanding to provide Bachelor's (in 1975) and Master's (1985) degree's, after years of lobbying State University Board of Education. FIT can boast about being the first to offer unique degrees in fields taught no where else in the U.S., such as Toy Design and Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design. There are 48 degree programs in total at FIT as of October 2020.

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The records of Mortimer C. Ritter include correspondence.

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