Rochester Institute of Technology’s Frederick Wiedman Jr. Collection of Presidential Papers has been redesigned and relocated to be on permanent display at the Greater Rochester International Airport, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks announced June 4.
The exhibit, made possible through a partnership with RIT, is on the ground floor of the airport terminal, accessible to visitors. The late Frederick Wiedman Jr., who assembled the collection, was an RIT trustee and long-time Rochester attorney.
“Fred Wiedman’s Collection of Presidential Papers is a community treasure, and RIT is pleased and proud to be able to make it accessible to the Rochester community and other travelers to our region by its prominent location at the Greater Rochester International Airport,” says RIT President Bill Destler. “We hope that it will be enjoyed as a journey through the history of our nation for many years to come.”
Spanning more than 200 years, the collection reflects the public lives of former presidents through official moments in the country’s military, domestic and foreign policy history.
Ranging from a 1783 military discharge signed by George Washington to a personal letter from George W. Bush, the exhibit includes signed letters, documents and photographs from every U.S. president. Many of the documents are in the president’s own handwriting, and the collection includes letters from Abraham Lincoln, F.D.R. and John F. Kennedy and a personal letter commenting on the collection from Gerald R. Ford Jr. to Frederick Wiedman Jr.
“It is Monroe County's great honor to welcome RIT's Frederick Wiedman Jr. Collection of Presidential Papers to its permanent home at the Greater Rochester International Airport,” Brooks says. “I’m a strong believer that knowledge of our past is a key to understanding the future, and as a community, we are fortunate to boast a diverse and storied history. Monroe County is proud that our airport will provide an opportunity for the public to enjoy Frederick Wiedman Jr.’s incredible collection, which pays tribute to the common legacy we all share as American citizens.”
Adds James Vazzana, Monroe County Airport Authority Chairman and long-time law partner of Wiedman: “On both a personal and professional level for me, it is with great honor that we welcome the Frederick Wiedman Jr. Collection of Presidential Papers back to the airport. This collection is truly a treasure.”
In honor of Wiedman’s memory, RIT hopes to continue to add to the collection with documents from current and future U.S. presidents.
Note: Based on material submitted by Monroe County.