Immigrant Heritage Month Book List

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Immigrants came to Pittsburgh from many different parts of the world and helped make it the vibrant, cosmopolitan city it is today. The following list is just a sample of the books available at CLP on the history of immigration to Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh’s Immigrants

This Images of America Series book uses text, and many photographs, to tell the story of immigrants to Pittsburgh. Photos of their work places, homes, centers of worship, and much more make their stories come alive.

Italians of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania

A second Images of America book chronicles the immigration of Italians to Pittsburgh and the lives they built here. Mutual aid societies were an important part of Italian community life, and many society photos are included in this book.

Steel City Jews: A History of Pittsburgh and its Jewish Community, 1840-1915

Quoting the author is the best way to describe this book. Her goal “was to write a history that was both academic (meaning carefully researched and documented) and entertaining for the general reader.” The book combines the history of Pittsburgh with the story of Jewish immigration to the area, and includes the contributions of many members of the Jewish community to the city.

German Pittsburgh

The third Images of America book presented here tells the story of German-speaking immigrants to Pittsburgh. It includes chapters on industries and institutions, social life, and German Pittsburgh today, as well as many photographs. You can also check out this title as an eBook from Overdrive/Libby or eAudio book from Hoopla.

Your Fondest Annie: Letters from Annie O’Donnell to James P. Phelan, 1901-1904

Annie O’Donnell left her native Ireland in 1898, becoming friends with Jim Phelan during their voyage to Philadelphia. She went to work as nurse to the children of the W.L. Mellon family in Pittsburgh. Her letters to Jim provide a three-year narrative of her life as a children’s nurse and are a unique contribution to the body of literature on women’s emigration.

Olive Witch: A Memoir

In the 1970s, Abeer Hoque is a Bangladeshi girl growing up in Nigeria. At age 13, she and her family moved to suburban Pittsburgh. Finding her place as a young woman in America was more difficult than she thought, and she eventually moved to Bangladesh on her own. This book is a moving coming-of-age story. You can also check out this title as an eBook or eAudio book from Overdrive/Libby or eAudio book from Hoopla.

Out of This Furnace

This novel is the story of three generations of an immigrant Slovak family. It begins in the mid-1880s with a man who makes his way to the Braddock steel mills, continues with the life of his daughter who married a steel worker, and ends with his grandson’s involvement in the successful unionization of the steel industry. You can also check out this title as an eBook from Overdrive/Libby.