Digital Collections

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

American Marketplace
The emergence of the middle class in America can be traced to the industrial expansion after the Civil War. The consumer goods made available and affordable by mass-production reflect the prosperity that came with 19th and 20th century manufacturing. American Marketplace, comprised of manufacturer’s and mail-order retail catalogs track the development of American industrialization and its relationship to the consumer class. Many well-known companies in industries such as agriculture, shipping, railroad, automotive, and early aviation are represented in the American Marketplace collection, as well as the mail-order catalogs that sold their products to the new middle class. Together, they tell the story of American industry and domestic economy, the American workplace and American home life, in a time of rapid growth.

Andrew Carnegie Collection
Andrew Carnegie holds an almost mythic place in Pittsburgh’s storied past. The man who helped make our city a great industrial center and established thousands of public libraries across the country and the world got his start right here. Alternately viewed as a ruthless robber baron or one of America’s great philanthropists, Mr. Carnegie’s legacy has left an indelible mark on our nation’s history. For this reason, the documentation, including his own thoughts and writings, that surrounds his life and times deserves careful preservation. It is also critically important to make this significant collection available to as wide an audience as possible. To this end, an interdisciplinary collaboration between Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the libraries at Carnegie Mellon University has produced the Andrew Carnegie Collection, a truly unique resource that integrates five physical collections into one dynamic digital resource.

The Builder
When Pittsburgh and Pittsburg were used interchangeably, T.M. Walker published the architectural journal The Builder: Devoted to Architecture. Documenting the environment surrounding the design and construction of private and public spaces around Pittsburgh in the first two decades of the 20th century, the 151 volumes of this journal comprise an invaluable primary resource for anyone interested in the material history of architecture in Pittsburgh’s industrial heyday. In addition to its in-depth look at Pittsburgh’s finest buildings and designed spaces, The Builder: Devoted to Architecture also explores the people, skilled trade culture, and artisan guilds that literally built the places that define our heritage.

Iron & Steel
Today, only traces remain of the industrial and urban center of Pittsburgh’s first golden age. We no longer see soot-stained stone facades or hear the roar of riverside furnaces long into the third shift. However, thanks to a generous National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, this by-gone Pittsburgh comes back to life in over half a million pages of Pittsburgh industry-related content. Carefully curated and digitized from the collections and holdings at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, the Iron & Steel Heritage Collection provides primary sources and key insights from books, journals, photographs, trade catalogs, and other unique resources dating back to the mid-1800’s. Due to its age, much of this material is too fragile for constant handling, which is why in part, this digitization project has been so important for the conservation of our heritage. The richness and depth of the Iron & Steel Heritage Collection illustrates how your public library is using current technology to deliver unique digital items that celebrate and preserve our region’s storied past. Built to be accessible both locally and globally to students, historians, and any interested citizen, this freely available resource revitalizes the vanished power and heritage that made Pittsburgh great.

19th & 20th Century American Railroad Journals
Carnegie Library digitized 186 volumes of 19th & 20th Century American railroad journals. These titles comprise state of the art professional and technical literature of the period, reflecting the primary role the railroads played in the United States, and of Andrew Carnegie’s commitment to promote industrial and technological advancement through the public library. These materials were scanned as part of the Lyrasis Mass Digitization Collaborative, with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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.
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