The Lewis Institute was a technical and professional college that served the greater Chicago area from 1896 to 1940. In 1940 it merged with Armour Institute of Technology to form the Illinois Institute of Technology. The Lewis Institute was created by the bequest of Chicago business Allen Cleveland Lewis (1821-1877), who willed his estate to the creation of a school of higher learning open to all men and women regardless of finances or social standing. The Lewis Institute was subsequently established in 1896 in a building designed by Henry Ives Cobb on the corner of Madison St. and Robey St. (now Damen Ave.). By 1906 Lewis Institute expanded into three main areas of study: General Science (which included Domestic Arts), Liberal Arts, and Engineering and Mechanical Arts. In 1917 the school began offering a four year bachelor’s degree in Arts & Sciences in addition to Engineering. All of these programs, including Domestic Arts, focused on a practical professional education for both male and female students. Lewis Institute had a diverse and active student body.
Archival holdings related to the Lewis Institute largely consist of administrative and student records, yearbooks, and the papers of Lewis alumni and faculty.