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University of Pittsburgh

September 16, 2004

Birth of a campus historical photos

The Historic Pittsburgh Image Collections web site is a virtual museum of the city’s past, from steel mills to baseball games to the barren field that became the Cathedral of Learning.

The web site, set up by Pitt’s Digital Research Library, part of the University Library System, is a collaboration of information and images from Pitt’s Digital Research Library and Archives Service Center, the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Library & Archives of the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania at the Heinz History Center.

This two-year project creates a single web gateway to nationally significant collections of visual images of the Pittsburgh region.

With 5,800 images and 1,200 more to come, there’s much to see: The late Senator John Heinz III talking to Greenway School students on the steps on the Capitol in 1978. Downtown Pittsburgh looking like “night” at 9:20 a.m. in 1945 before pollution control. And Heinz Chapel enshrined in scaffolding during construction.

Visitors to the site can search for subjects ranging from Forbes Field to Depression-era soup lines.

“The goal is to make the site a place to explore,” said Ed Galloway, principal investigator for the photo project and coordinator of Pitt’s Digital Research Library.

“All of these institutions want to see people access and explore their collections in depth. Now the public knows more about our archives.”

Largely funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a $242,000 grant was matched with in-kind services from the three institutions.

Photographic reproductions on the web site are for sale. For more information, visit the image collection at

—Mary Ann Thomas

Filed under: Feature, Volume 37 Issue 2

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