Special Collections and College Archives (SPARC) is much more than the rare book and designer archive division of the FIT Library. It is a highly-specialized repository and rich resource for the fashion industry and scholars of design history, including FIT's own fashion-centric graduate and undergraduate programs.
Located on the 4th floor of the Gladys Marcus library, SPARC was renovated in 2017, expanding from 3,500 square feet to 6,100 square feet. SPARC is staffed by a dedicated and experienced team of specially-trained.
The more than 12,000 rare volumes housed in Special Collections have been vetted for their rarity or importance in the fields of fashion, textile, costume, and interior design. The collection includes 6,000 linear feet of rare books, periodicals, oral histories, and designer archives. Our growing collection of nearly 500 unique manuscript collections contains more 500,000 works on paper, many of which are original designer sketches. The manuscript collections are especially strong in their documentation of American fashion design from the late nineteenth century through the 1970s, Broadway and Hollywood costume design, and the history of New York City’s own Seventh Avenue Garment District.
The College Archives acquires, preserves, and provides access to college records permanently scheduled for retention or deemed to have enduring, historical value, created or received in the course of College business. Archival records can be created or received by administrators, staff, faculty, and students. As a SUNY Community College we adhere to the LGS-1 Records Retention and Disposition Schedule.
History of the Unit
The Department of Special Collections & College Archives operates within the Gladys Marcus Library at FIT. The collections existed and were built upon continuously as an informal unit of activity well before the department formally existed. For the most of its history, the collections were a part of the Reference Department. An early Register of Visitors demonstrates that the first monitored use of material was recorded in 1981. Stewardship and management of the collections have varied over the years. Professor Janette Rozene pioneered the effort to bring both physical and intellectual control over the holdings as a Cataloger (1981-1987). Professor Judith Wood must be credited with the early building of the collection both in terms of quantity and quality. Professor Marjorie Miller served as the Special Collections Librarian until 1995. After Miller’s retirement, Professor Joshua Waller assumed a management role; he retired in 2007. Professor NJ Bradeen, Library Director (2002-present) first instituted the unit as a formal department within the Library, established the role of Head of the department, and hired Karen Trivette as its first incumbent in the fall of 2008.