Special Collections

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh holds many rare and unique collections of historical importance, especially those that illuminate the rich cultural heritage of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. These historical collections are held at the Main Branch in Oakland, as well as in neighborhood libraries throughout Allegheny County.

Allegheny City Historic Reading Room

Located at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-Allegheny – a collection of rare materials dedicated to the history of Allegheny City and the North Side.

Archival Collections

The Archival Collections at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-Main cover many subjects and individuals important to the cultural history of Western Pennsylvania. The collections include institutional records, personal and institutional scrapbooks, manuscripts, personal papers, and historic photographs.

  • General Archival Collection: Among these historical treasures are the Isaac Craig Papers pertaining to Fort Pitt, Pittsburgh Board of Education Archives, Liberty Tunnel Archives, a collection of letters and papers on the Whiskey Insurrection (1790-1800), and information on Pittsburgh City government.

For more information regarding the viewing and use of the archives, please email: padept@carnegielibrary.org.

Art and Architecture

Housed in the Reference Department at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-Main, the Pittsburgh Art, Artist, and Architecture files contains catalogs, mounted pictures, magazine and newspaper clippings, and other ephemera unique to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.  The index card files not only serve as the first stop for your research, but also contain small clippings for topics that do not have a full vertical file.

With thousands of files and cards addressing the subjects of the art, artists, architects, and architectural heritage of the Pittsburgh area, the collection offers coverage from circa 1920-2000.  This resource also includes full runs of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Annual Exhibition Catalogs, as well as the Carnegie International Exhibition Catalogs.

More about these collections:

Children’s Department Special Collections

  • Materials for Teachers
  • Rare Books

For information about these collections contact the Children’s Department:
412-622-3122 or children@carnegielibrary.org

Digital Collections

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh maintains four digital collections on the POWER Library: PA Photos And Documents website using ContentDM as the data platform, and a smaller collection of 19th & 20th Century American railroad journals on the Internet Archive.

Industrial Standards

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh maintains a collection of almost 8800 ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards from all of ANSI’s constituent members. ANSI is the primary organization for fostering the development of technology standards in the United States. ANSI works with industry groups and is the U.S. member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh maintains an historic collection of over 26,000 British Standards from the British Standards Institute from as the early 20th Century through the early 2000s. This collection also includes many of our ISO standards.

  • British Standards/ISO – A full index is available at the Reference Services Department

For more information about these collections, please contact the Reference Services Department:
412.622.3175 or info@carnegielibrary.org

Local History and Genealogy Collections

The Pennsylvania Department at the Carnegie Library 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: 412.622.3175 or info@carnegielibrary.org.

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: 412.622.3154 or padept@carnegielibrary.org.

Music and Musicians

The Music Collection of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh includes numerous historical collections, files, and indexes that cover all aspects of music, including material related to music and musicians in the Pittsburgh area. Books, scores, periodicals, and scrapbooks from the libraries of 19th and 20th century Pittsburgh musicians form a historical base for the collection.

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 the Carnegie Library in 1960. The PPL now offers over 57,000 photographs featuring important Western Pennsylvania places, significant milestones and extraordinary people. More about this collection:


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