These collections are complemented by the Lowenthal Memorial Pressroom, which preserves a working collection of historic printing equipment, featuring the Albion printing press owned by William Morris and Frederic Goudy. The Cary Collection also houses the Graphic Design Archive, an unparalleled collection documenting the work of significant American graphic designers active from the 1920s to the 1960s, as well as selected contemporary designers working in the modernist traditions.
The Cary Collection’s original collection of 2,300 volumes was assembled by the New York City businessman Melbert B. Cary Jr. during the 1920s and 1930s. Cary was director of Continental Type Founders Association (a type-importing agency), a former president of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and proprietor of the private Press of the Woolly Whale. His professional and personal interests in printing led him to collect printer’s manuals and type specimens, as well as great books of the printer’s art. In 1969, the Cary Collection was presented to RIT by the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust as a memorial to Mr. Cary, together with funds to support the use and growth of the collection.