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Records of the School of Engineering

Identifier: PI-018

Scope and Contents

The Records of the School of Engineering contains documents relating to the School of Engineering (also known as Department of Mechanic Arts, Department of Science and Technology, and the School of Science and Technology. The papers include official reports, student work, trade publications, faculty meeting minutes and promotional materia dating back to 1888 until the school’s closing in 1993.


  • 1888 - 1991
  • Majority of material found within 1900 - 1975


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, contact the Institute Archivist, Pratt Institute Library at

Historical Note

The School of Engineering began in 1888 as the Trade and Mechanical Department. Courses in the first two decades included plumbing, boat and ship building, shop work, woodwork, bricklaying, steam, and others related to the technical aspects of programs arts programs, such as drafting for architecture. The department was renamed Department of Mechanic Arts (1890-1892), then the Department of Science and Technology (1892-190), the School of Science and Technology (1909-1946), and eventually the School of Engineering.

In 1909, the department became the School of Science and Technology and began awarding certificates for 2 and 3 year programs in 1910. During the First World War, the school was active in training merchant marine engineers and electrical engineers, as well as activities involving the nearby Brooklyn Navy Yard. By 1920, though possibly before, the school offered evening courses in addition to its day courses.

The School of Science and Technology, alongside the other schools of Pratt Institute, began awarding baccalaureate degrees in 1938. In 1939, the Engineers’ Council for Professional Development (ECPD) accredited the electrical and mechanical engineering departments. In 1950, the chemical engineering department was accredited by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and in 1957 the school awarded its first graduate degree. Also in the 1950s, the campus constructed several new buildings in the engineering quad for courses in the school.

The school experienced major changes in the 1960s, beginning with the change to the School of Engineering. During this time, the curriculum was enlarged greatly; in 1961, the first computer classes were offered. In 1965, the school established the Computer Center and began offering computer science degrees in 1966. Also in 1966, the ECPD reaccredited the electrical, mechanical, and chemical engineering departments, but not the department of industrial engineering.

Perhaps one of the most impactful changes in the school was the introduction of the co-operative education program in 1963-64. The program paired students with companies for 5 year programs where they could study at Pratt and work onsite for the company. This program grew out of a successful cooperative program with the Navy at the Brooklyn Navy Yard that began in 1956. The program continued until at least 1975.

By 1991 enrollment in the school, now the School of Engineering, decreased and the institute in general was struggling financially. The Board of Trustees considered its options regarding the School of Engineering, which included among other options: moving the program offsite, transferring the program to another school, or shutting the school down entirely. The Trustees eventually decided to close the School of Engineering, making 1992-93 its last academic year.


8.55 Linear Feet (21 boxes, 1 volume)

Language of Materials



The Records of the School of Engineering contains documents created by the students, faculty, and staff of the School of Science and Technology, later the School of Engineering, dating back to 1888 until the school’s eventual closure during the 1992-1993 school year.


The records are arranged in seven series, three of which have been further arranged in subseries. The series and subseries arrangement of the records is as follows:

Series 1: Reports, Before 1909-1991

Series 2: Correspondence, 1888-1991

Series 3: Faculty, 1899-1954

Series 4: Publicity and Promotional, 1899-circa 1991

4.1: Course Catalogs, 1899-circa 1991

4.2: Promotional Materials, 1909-1983

4.3: Press Releases, 1963-1976

Series 5: Students, circa 1891-1975

5.1: Events, 1914-1959

5.2: Co-operative Education Program, 1956-1975

5.3: Graduating Classes, 1893-1955

5.4: Tau Beta Pi, 1949-1973

5.5: Student Resources, circa 1891-1972

5.6: Student Council, 1941-1947

Series 6: Publications, 1899-1984

Series 7: Alumni, 1907-1986

7.1: Directories, 1926-1949

7.2: Alumni Association, 1922-1969

7.3: Publications, 1918-1983

7.4: Events, 1933-1939

7.5: Correspondence, 1984-1986

7.6: Chemical Alumni Association, 1907-circa 1945

7.7: Electrical Alumni, 1914-before 1963

7.8: Evening Machine Alumni, 1910-1931, undated


No further accruals are expected.

Related Collections

Related Materials at Pratt Institute Archives

  1. PI-017 Accreditation Records
  2. PI-021 Records of the President's Office
  3. Pratt Institute Archives Photograph Collection

Related Collections at Other Institutions

  1. Poly Archives - New York University

Harmful Language Statement

If you encounter any pejorative language (i.e. racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic) or content in the finding aids or within the content of the collection, please send an email to with the relevant details. For more information about how the Pratt Institute Libraries are addressing offensive language and content across its catalogs and databases, please see the Libraries' Harmful Language Statement:

Processing Information

This collection was processed and finding aid written by Ian Post in 2016 and updated by Cristina Fontánez Rodríguez in 2020. Descriptive Rules Used: Finding aid adheres to that prescribed by Describing Archives: A Content Standard. Finding aid written in English.

Guide to the Records of the School of Engineering
Ian Post
March 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Pratt Institute Archives Repository

200 Willoughby Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11205 United States