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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.


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.

Pittsburgh’s heritage is strongly rooted in iron, steel, mining and related industries. This section of the Pittsburgh Iron & Steel Heritage Collection is a compilation of almost two dozen 19th and 20th Century journals about mining, manufacturing, and the state-of-the-art technical developments of their day used by our region’s businesses and industrial researchers. Through this collection, we strive to preserve the culture, heritage and knowledge of our region’s industrial past, while enhancing the public’s understanding of what made Pittsburgh the “Workshop of the World.”

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.

Old Stone Tavern, Pittsburgh
Designated a Pittsburgh Historic Landmark, Old Stone Tavern is located at 434 Greentree Road in Pittsburgh’s West End community. The Tavern is believed to have been established in 1782, making it the oldest commercial building still in existence in Pittsburgh. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh maintains a business ledger of tavern transactions from 1793 through 1797 which has been digitized. Transactions include purchases of supplies, food, beverage, and ferry passages. The ledger contains approximately two hundred people including several dozen veterans of the American Revolution, nearly fifty participants in the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion over federal taxation, and more than a dozen who took part in the War of 1812. For more information visit the website of Pittsburgh’s Old Stone Tavern Friends Trust, Inc. 

Pittsburgh Photographic Library Collection
This Pittsburgh Photographic Library Collections contains over 18,000 images from a photography project initiated by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development to highlight the redevelopment of Downtown Pittsburgh during the early 1950’s. The project’s photographers were assigned to specific areas and events in order to capture the transition from old to new, and the social and cultural activities surrounding it. Under the direction of photo documentalist Roy Stryker, the collection includes images from photographers: Harold Corsini, Clyde Hare, Esther Bubley, Elliott Erwitt, James Blair, Richard Saunders, and Regina Fisher. Images are being regularly uploaded to Historic Pittsburgh.



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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