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Special & Unique Collections

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh holds many rare, unique, and historical special collections, especially those that illuminate the rich cultural heritage of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. These historical collections are held at CLP - Main in Oakland, as well as in neighborhood libraries throughout the City of Pittsburgh.

For more information about these collections contact Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh at 412.622.3114 or

Allegheny City Historic Reading Room

Located at CLP – Allegheny – a collection of rare materials dedicated to the history of Allegheny City and the North Side.


The Archives are available to the public for research. Whether you are curious about what we have or working on a project, you are welcome in the Archives.

An appointment is required so we can prepare materials for viewing. Archival appointments are available Tuesday evenings and some weekends. Please see our Archives Access and Use Policy to prepare for your visit.



The Archives are comprised of the following:

The Institutional Archives serves as the institutional memory of CLP and maintains records of enduring value chronicling the development of CLP since its inception in 1895. Resources include administrative records created by departments, branches, administration, the director, and trustees, as well as other materials that document the historical function of the library such as programming, facilities, press releases, and more.

Local History and Western Pennsylvania collections provide resources on topics related to the city of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Materials include personal, family, business, or group papers and correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, maps, and ephemera.

Art and Architecture

Housed in the Reference Department at CLP – Main, the Pittsburgh Art, Artist and Architecture files contain index cards with art events, architecture, and names of artists and architects. These point to associated references in books or files with catalogs, mounted pictures, magazine and newspaper clippings, and other ephemera unique to Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Coverage is strongest between 1920-2000. This resource includes full runs of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Annual Exhibition Catalogs and Carnegie International Exhibition Catalogs.

Children’s Historical and Special Collection

The Children’s Department at CLP – Main houses the Children’s Historical and Special Collection. It contains a wide variety of books from many different sources, and offers resources for students of children’s literature, teachers, storytellers, and other interested library users.

Digital Collections

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is working to digitize content from the collections and make it available on the internet. Digitized volumes and photographs are accessible on Historic Pittsburgh, digital collections on POWER Library: PA Photos and Documents and 19th & 20th Century American railroad journals on Internet Archive.

This project is made possible in part by Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and through Library Access Funds administered by the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Department of Education, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor.

Hill District Community Archive

CLP – Hill District is home to an archive of neighborhood-focused newspaper articles, photographs and other historical items. This library also has a large map of the neighborhood on display, highlighting significant places and events from playwright August Wilson’s life and works.

Please contact CLP – Hill District for more details at 412.281.3753 or

Local History and Genealogy Collections

The Pennsylvania Department at CLP – Main specializes in local history and genealogy research.


Topographic Maps

  • Pennsylvania Topographic Maps
  • A limited number of topographic maps of various scales for locations around the United States are also available.

Please contact the Reference Services Department for additional details at 412.622.3175 or

Historical Maps of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania

  • This collection includes maps showing the development of the City of Pittsburgh and other areas in Western Pennsylvania. The collection also includes warrantee atlases documenting early landowners, which are helpful in genealogical research.

Please contact the Pennsylvania Department for additional details at 412.622.3154 or

Music and Musicians

The Pittsburgh Music Collections include historical material related to music groups, music organizations and societies, music educators, conductors, composers and musicians in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. Collections include vinyl records, original correspondence, music manuscripts, concert programs, oral histories, recordings, newspaper clippings, photographs, CDs, sheet music, scrapbooks, and much more. These collections are housed in the Music Department at CLP – Main.

Oral Histories


The Pittsburgh Photographic Library (PPL) is a unique collection of historic images documenting life in the Pittsburgh area. A project of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, its purpose was to highlight the redevelopment of Pittsburgh in the 1950s. The collection has grown in size and scope since coming to Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in 1960. The PPL now offers over 57,000 photographs featuring important Western Pennsylvania places, significant milestones and extraordinary people.

South Side Local Development Corporation Archive

CLP – South Side houses the South Side Local Development Corporation Archive (SSLDC.) The SSLDC was a community-based non-profit corporation whose purpose was to promote the economic revitalization and historic preservation of Pittsburgh’s South Side. The SSLDC facilitated responsible business, recreational, residential and workforce development and provided direction, skills and technical assistance to other community groups and individuals for the benefit of the South Side. This collection contains grants, materials, reports, meeting minutes, project planning, drawings and photographs pertaining to the organization’s 30 years of operation (1982-2012.)

Please contact CLP – South Side for more details at 412.431.0505 or

West End Historical Collection

Built in 1899, CLP – West End received historic designation from the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation in 2015. It is credited with holding the first children’s storytime in Pittsburgh and possibly the country.

This archive was established in 2015 and is not traditional. Some of the materials are copies of original documents. The collection was organized with the intent to aid and inform researchers about this neighborhood.

Zine Collection

Housed on the first floor of CLP-Main, the library’s Zine collection provides browsing access to nearly 2000 independently-published comics, essays, collages, and other materials.

Named after the “zine” in “magazine”, a zine can take a variety of forms but is usually a pamphlet of creative work, published in small photocopied print runs. Because the format focuses on expression, not profit, zines often touch on personal or socially radical topics.
CLP’s collection features zines from around the world but focuses on zines and zinesters of local interest.

Please contact Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh at 412.622.3114 or for more information regarding these collections.

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