The Institute Archives and Special Collections department holds a wealth of information on student activities. Materials come in a wide assortment – published and unpublished, official and unofficial – and they document both groups and individuals from the early 19th century on. While there are many more resources available than what appears on this list, it provides a broad overview of collections available to researchers who are just beginning to study student life at Rensselaer.
Please contact us to discuss your research needs or if you have questions regarding the resources listed below.
Online Institute Histories
- Phelan, Ross, & Westerdahl, Rensselaer: Where Imagination Achieves the Impossible, (1995).
- Resneck, Samual, Education for a Technological Society, (1968).
- Ricketts, Palmer C., History of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 1824-1934, (1934) .
- Nason, Henry B., Biographical Record of the Officers and Graduates of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1824-1886, (1887).
Student Publications | A broad array of newsletters, magazines, and occasional publications concerning students’ ethnic, religious, social, honorary, service, athletic, and political organizations, including:
- At the Playhouse, 1930-present (playbills).
- The Bachelor, 1952-1971 (humor).
- Confidential Guide, 1964-1971 (course evaluations).
- Gorgon, 1961-1998 (art and literature).
- The Polytechnic, 1869 & 1885-present (campus newspaper).
- The Pup, 1924-1951 (humor).
- Rensselaer Handbook, 1896-1965 (information about RPI).
- Rensselaer Engineer, 1947-1994 (research).
- Statler & Waldorf, 2002-present (art and literature).
- Survival Handbook, 1968-1978 (information about RPI).
- Transit, 1865-present (yearbook).
- Unicorn, 1972-1983 (humor).
Administrative Publications for Students
- Catalog, 1826-present.
- Directory (freshman), 1963-1966.
- Directory (students, faculty, administration), 1946-1960.
- Freshman (-men) Handbook, 1980-1982.
- Frosh Insighter, 1966-1969.
- Handbook (various titles), 1966-present.
- Register, 1855-1937.
- Rensselaer Planner and Guide to Student Life, 1995-present.
- Survey of Graduating Students, 1976-1997.
Archives and Manuscripts Collections
- RPI Class Collection, 1852-present (AC 26).
- RPI Sports Collection, 1910-present (AC 31).
- Student Life Collection, 1866-present (MC 50).
- Undergraduate Theses Collection (originals and microfilm), 1855-present.
- Alpha Phi Omega Records, 1947-present (AC 56).
- Glee Club Records, 1938-1983 (AC 27).
- Interfraternity Council Records, 1935-1987 (multiple accession numbers).
- Phalanx Records, 1934-1987 (AC 38).
- Rensselaer Union Records, 1984-1997 (multiple accession numbers).
- ROTC Records, 1940-1987 (multiple accession numbers).
- RPI Players records, 1921-present (AC 29).
- RPI Student Fellowship Records, 1944-1954 (0-10).
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Student Protest Movement collection, 1968-1972 (MC52).
- Student Council records, 1965-1969 (1990-29).
- Student Senate records, 1966-1986 (AC 35).
- Rensselaer Society of Engineers records, 1867-1980 (AC 36).
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Amateur Radio Club records, 1924-1974.
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Amateur Radio Club records, 1924-2000.
- WRPI records, 1947-1996 (AC 34).
- WHAZ records, 1922-1965 (multiple accession numbers).
Individuals’ papers & collections | Many more items are available than those listed below; for additional information see “small collections,” student scrapbooks and lecture notes.
- Julian S. Allen Papers, 1880-1883 (MC 21).
- William Aycrigg scrapbooks, 1881-1909 (MC 45).
- Edward Banker Papers, 1899-1906 (MC 42).
- Arthur Bower Papers, 1861-1881 (MC 10).
- Samuel J. Fields Scrapbook, 1862-1908 (MC 88).
- Philip Walter Henry Papers, 1881-1947 (MC 75).
- Kenneth R. Hoffman Papers, 1969-1973 (MC 18).
- Mary Ellen Rathbun Kolb Oral History, (2014-1)
- James C. McGuire Scrapbook, 1885-1888 (MC 86).
- Grant Palsgrove Papers, 1931-1972 (MC 68).
- Wilbur F. Parsons Papers, 1918-1926 (1990-63).
- James Shea Scrapbook, 1918-1922 (1986-7).
- Walter C. Sutton Photographs, 1918-1922 (1991-44).
- E. Ray Thompson Papers, 1871-1876 (0-95).
- AC 19 (prints) and AC 17 (negatives): Photographs documenting RPI classes, student groups, social activities, classroom and academic work, dorm life, campus scenes, and many other aspects of campus life.
- AC 18 (prints) and AC 16 (negatives): Photos of individuals associated with Rensselaer, including students.
- AC 20 (oversize prints): Images of groups, individuals, events, and places, including several RPI classes.
- Class albums: Photo albums of individuals in RPI classes, 1856-1891