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.
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.
Archival Collections – Western PA & Pittsburgh Archives
The Archival Collections at CLP – 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.
- Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh & Carnegie Museum Archives: Institutional records and personal papers from trustees, administrators, researchers, educators and benefactors of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Museum from 1890 to the present.
- General Archival Collection: Among these historical treasures are the Isaac Craig Papers pertaining to Fort Pitt, Pittsburgh Board of Education Archives, Liberty Tunnel Archives and information on Pittsburgh City government.
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.
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.
Local History and Genealogy Collections
The Pennsylvania Department at CLP – Main specializes in local history and genealogy research.
- Pennsylvania Topographic Maps
- A limited number of topographic maps of various scales for locations around the United States are also available.
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.
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.
- Historic Lawrenceville – Stories from our neighbors, collected in collaboration with the Lawrenceville Historical Society.
- The Maurice Levy Oral History of Music in Pittsburgh Collection – consists of more than 300 interviews conducted between 1991-2005. The interviews include a wide variety of people in Pittsburgh involved with jazz, classical, popular, folk and traditional music.
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.)
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.
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.
- Zine Collection Catalog (hosted on LibraryThing)