Tag Archives: Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Historical Collections at CLP

Image taken from Bridging the Urban Landscape online exhibit

Image taken from Bridging the Urban Landscape online exhibit

 

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has long been a repository for Pittsburgh’s rich cultural heritage. We have many historical collections, in many different formats.

Most of these special collections do not appear in our online catalog. The links provide information to access these materials.

 

Pittsburgh History

Pittsburgh History – many diverse and wide-ranging resources in the Pennsylvania Department at CLP-Main.

Allegheny City Historic Reading Room located at CLP-Allegheny – a special collection of rare materials dedicated to the history of Allegheny City and the North Side.

Pittsburgh Today / Historic Pittsburgh – All things Pittsburgh.

 

Art and Artists

The Pittsburgh Art Topics File – an extensive clippings collection containing information about art events, art galleries, art festivals, and art organizations.

The Pittsburgh Artists File – index cards containing names of over 4000 visual artists.

 

Architecture and Architects

The Pittsburgh Architecture File – index cards containing information about specific buildings, architectural styles, areas, building types, houses, and other structures built in the Pittsburgh region during the 20th Century.

The Pittsburgh Architects File – index cards with the names of over 1000 architects and firms.

 

Music and Musicians

Pittsburgh Music Archives – a group of finding lists that provides access to uncataloged archival materials in a variety of formats.

Pittsburgh Music Special Collections – The Music Department at CLP-Main has an extensive assortment of special collections. See this post for an overview of our major collections.

 

Oral Histories

Western Pennsylvanians and World War II – a collaboration of Duquesne University & Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Oral Histories  – a cross-section of Western Pennsylvanians: black and white, female and male, ranging in age from their 30s to well-into their 90s.

Oral History of Music in Pittsburgh – over 300 interviews. They currently can only be listened to in the Music Department at CLP-Main.

StoryCorps – more than 150 stories collected in Pittsburgh in 2006.

Oral Histories at CLP-Lawrenceville – collected and donated by the Lawrenceville Historical Society.

 

Digitized Collections

Pittsburgh Iron & Steel Heritage Collection – a digital collection of books, journals, photographs, trade catalogs, and other items related to the iron and steel industry in Western Pennsylvania.

Bridging the Urban Landscape – online exhibit of some 600 historical photographs and images accompanied by text, of Pittsburgh and its neighborhoods.

 

Famous Pittsburghers

These pages include links to finding aids for archival material.

Famous Pittsburghers

Pittsburgh Jazz Musicians

 

Photographs

Pittsburgh Photographic Library

 

Maps

Pittsburgh Maps

 

Genealogy

Genealogical research in the Pennsylvania Department

Pennsylvania Department Research Requests

 

The William R. Oliver Special Collections Room

The William R. Oliver Special Collections Room is the crown jewel of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (in my opinion)! It houses rare and unique materials including books, manuscripts, personal papers and historic photographs, in a climate controlled room. The Oliver Room contains extensive holdings on the history of Western Pennsylvania. One of my favorites includes a collection of letters and papers on the Whiskey Insurrection, 1790-1800.

 

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh also has non-local historical collections which I will detail in my next post.

-Joelle

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Pittsburgh Home Movie Day – November 22, 2014

Do you have any old home movies hiding in the closet or the attic?
When was the last time you took a look at them?
Have you ever wondered how to take better care of them?

Home Movie Day

Disinter some of those old 8mm, Super 8mm and/or 16mm reels and drop by Pittsburgh Home Movie Day 2014 on Saturday afternoon, November 22, at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main. Film archivists will be available to give you free advice on the condition of your films and, if possible, we’ll screen them for a local audience interested in YOUR celluloid memories!

If you’re bringing home movies to share, you’re encouraged to drop off your films between  12 PM and 1 PM to have them properly inspected and assessed by our archivists. Or you can drop by any time after 1 PM and have a look at some of the personal treasures other folks in the region have brought to share with you. We’ll be screening continuously until 4:30 PM.

For more on Home Movie Day, visit the Center for Home Movies or contact us directly at homemovieday.pgh@comcast.net.

Saturday, November 22nd
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main
Director’s Conference Room, First Floor
Film drop off: 12 PM to 1 PM
Screenings: 1 PM to 4:30 PM

Pittsburgh Home Movie Day 2014 is sponsored by Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and by the Film Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh.

– Amy

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If You’ve Got the Gin, We’ve Got the Tonic…

A recent Post-Gazette article by local author Sherrie Flick pondered the phenomenon of reading in bars, which has been Quite A Thing in other parts of the country, and has now made its way to Pittsburgh as a trend. The Eleventh Stackers were, of course, tickled to learn that the zeitgeist has finally arrived on our doorstep, and a few of us wanted to chime in with our own thoughts on the matter (especially since today is National Happy Hour Day). Enjoy our book/beverage pairings, and other boozy — or not-so-much — miscellanea.

Tara

bookworm

One of the nicest bars for reading that I’ve ever encountered was in Toronto, Canada. While looking for a café to read in, I stumbled upon the Tequila Bookworm. The name alone clearly announces that readers are welcome! On a summer day, I imagine I’d be reading a dark mystery on their patio and sipping Sangria. Winter would call for something long or possibly Russian, with a Stout or a warming cocktail at my side.

toddies

 

 

 

 

 

Leigh Anne

I like the idea of drinking in bars, though I don’t frequent them much anymore. If it’s socially acceptable for me to be seen in one with a book, though, I just might go back and give it a try. Kelly’s is still my favorite Pittsburgh bar, and I would very much like to curl up in one of the booths, reading Mary Daly and drinking  whatever LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails) creation is currently featured on the drinks menu.

Image from Marye Audet at SheKnows

Image from Marye Audet at SheKnows

The most fun I’ve had actually reading a book in a bar was a cold, wintry night at The Squirrel Cage. I was waiting for a friend so I treated myself to a Baileys and coffee and snuggled up with A.S. Byatt’s Possession. I honestly don’t remember how long I had to wait, because the moment was perfect, quiet, and timeless (yes, even surrounded by bar noise — good novels will do that for you).

suzy

Evil LibrarianBecause of the book Evil Librarian, I thought the best drink would be the drink that suits that librarian. So a Gin and Tonic to toast all those librarians out there.

If you have to pick just one combination, you couldn’t go wrong with a whiskey at Dee’s Cafe, while reading Bukowski’s You Get So Alone at Times That it Just Makes Sense.

 

 

Other resources to consider:

Book Girl’s Guide to Cocktails for Book Lovers, Tessa Smith McGovern

To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion, Philip Greene

Cocktail Therapy, Leanne Shear

And a few fiction picks:

Happy Hour of the Damned, Mark Henry

Killer Cocktail, Sheryl J. Anderson

When the Sacred Ginmill Closes, Lawrence Block

Not much of a drinker? You can still celebrate happy hour – and you could argue that any hour spent with a book and a beverage is a happy one! Observe.

Melissa M.

My preferred drink/book/location combo, if I’m being safe-for-work, would be The poirotandteaMonogram Murders, the new Hercule Poirot novel by Sophie Hannah, and a cup of English Breakfast tea on my front porch. If you’re a big Agatha Christie fan and were concerned about someone else taking Poirot over, rest assured that it’s fine. Ms. Hannah did well, in my opinion, and I’ve spoken to more than a few other rabid Christie fans who agree.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a late summer Sunday morning. The only thing that I needed was a cat on my lap!

Suzi 

The Litigators, with napkin roll bookmark, and lunch bag in the background.

The Litigators, with napkin roll bookmark, and lunch bag in the background.

I like to have an iced tea while I’m reading John Grisham. If that iced tea is being refilled by a waitress, even better. Most of my reading happens in diners or small restaurants. I have a geographic memory, so I can tell you where I was when I read Cross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Keystone Café, Monte Cello’s in Shaler). I read The Mysterious Benedict Society at the now closed Downtown location of Franctuary.

Sometimes a waitress or another customer will ask me what I’m reading. Once a mother came up and said she was so jealous that I had the time to read. At the Johnny Rocket’s in the Pittsburgh Mills mall, I wrote down the name of the Isabel Dalhousie series by Alexander McCall Smith on the back of a business card for a waitress. My bookmarks are always those pieces of paper used to wrap napkins and silverware. Now that I take my lunch to work more often, I’ll have to add “Break Room, CLP — Downtown & Business” to my list of rotating reading spots.

Your turn: what book would you read at the bar? Which bar? What would you drink?  Designated drivers, we’d love to hear your non-alcoholic alternatives, too.

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Our Ever-Shrinking World

This past month, my family had the wonderful privilege of hosting an exchange student in our house for two weeks. In that all-too-brief stay with us, it became very clear through our interactions with this German teenager at how small our world is getting. Whether it was his very excellent English, choice in cologne or his one site-seeing request of visiting a Wal-Mart, the overwhelming evidence was there that we are indeed living in a global society and thus a shrinking world. But as enjoyable as his visit was, I didn’t need it as vindication for me. As someone who works throughout the city of Pittsburgh, I see this on almost a daily basis.

Pittsburgh has been a magnet for visitors, whether long term or short, for centuries now, and thanks in part to a great mix of travellers who have landed on the shores of our three rivers, we now can boast to be one of the “most…(pick your favorite top-ten list Pittsburgh has made it on recently)…cities” in the world. And as usual, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is right there to help the recent traveler, and those who love them, meld into this ever-present global society.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh offers a variety of language classes and conversation salons throughout the city, including our newest program Let’s Speak English for those whose native language isn’t English and would like to learn through conversation. The conversation salons allow native English speakers to converse with experts of various foreign languages. Just click here to search our events page for language-related programming going on at a neighborhood branch near you.

In addition to these fantastic events happening, there’s also our Mango Languages online learning program. Mango Languages allows you to practice a language of your choice (there are dozens available) in the privacy of your own home, office or wherever you choose to access this resource remotely, not to mention that it’s available on the computers in the libraries throughout the city. And don’t forget about Little Pim, which is a language program specifically geared toward children. The whole family can get in on the action!

foreign language

“Language Laboratory” – A language laboratory at one of Pittsburgh’s public schools, date unknown. Courtesy of the Western PA Historical Society collection.

Whether you want to brush up on your English, German, French or any number of other languages, your local Library is a great place to start your own personal journey through our global society.

-Maria J. (who failed miserably at Latin in high school, but is getting her Pittsburghese dahn pretty well.)

 

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Surprise! This Book Just Transformed Into My Worst Fear

I love Halloween because it’s the one time of year wearing a costume is socially acceptable. It’s the time you can be someone or something you’re not. You can taste what it’s like to be a monster, or your favorite fictional character, or a concept.

zombinatorLots of people in Pittsburgh, pretty much everyone apparently, wants to “taste” what it’s like to be a zombie—there are zombie walks, massive humans vs. zombies games on college campuses, zombie literature, a zombie store, and new zombie movies all the time.

Before I go any further, let me say this: I don’t scare easily.

Spiders? I put them outside so they can eat annoying bugs. Snakes? I had a pet snake when I was a kid, and the only reason I don’t have one now is because my dogs would probably try to eat it. Bats? I squeal with delight when I see one because I think they are super adorable (and they eat half their body weight in insects per night!). Insects? As long as they aren’t trying to bite me, dive bomb me, or fly into my mouth or ear, I don’t bother with them. And I love the ones that help my garden, like bees and lady bugs.

I do have one mortal fear, though: Zombies.

That’s right. I think bats are the cutest things ever, snakes make great pets, and spiders are my friendly household helpers, and yet I’m Terrified—with a capital T—of zombies.

It’s the idea that a monster could scratch you ever-so-slightly and yet still infect you with a disease that turns you into a mindless husk of a body with cannibalistic leanings. It’s the slow and relentless onslaught. The overwhelming numbers. That once they start coming, you can fight, but humanity’s demise is inevitable.

Walking Dead Book OneOnce, I tried reading The Walking Dead, and got ten pages in before I slammed the book shut. “Nope. No way. Not going to happen,” I told the book.

Miniature WifeLately, I’ve been stumbling onto zombie stories everywhere. This past weekend, I was reading The Miniature Wife and Other Stories by Manuel Gonzales, and BAM, surprise zombie story! I had to read it, because I have this compulsion about finishing books, and aside from the surprise zombies, I really enjoyed the delightful weirdness of the collection.

That night, I made my husband hold my hand after we turned out the lights, because I couldn’t stop thinking about the zombies and their gray teeth and slurping sounds.

bprdhellonearthoneLast month, I was reading B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth, and BAM, zombies! I’ve encountered the traditional slow-moving raised-from-the-dead zombies in Hellboy before (and those don’t really scare me), but these were mindless mutated half-animal creatures that got turned into zombies from breathing a gas released from a gigantic monster. UBER CREEPY.

weliveinwaterEven Jess Walter’s seemingly normal collection about class and race issues, We Live in Water, contains a surprise zombie story. It’s not a typical zombie story—people are turned by taking a recreational drug that changes their brain chemistry—but it’s still a zombie story.

stitchedIf you look at the cover of Stitched by Garth Ennis, a writer I greatly enjoy, it looks like a war comic with some scary reaper dudes. NOPE. It’s about voodoo zombies who can’t be killed. I read this one anyway, but man did it freak me out.

All these zombie stories act kind of like zombies themselves. You think you’re safe and comfortable and then all of a sudden your best friend has become a flesh-eating monster, and you have to fight for your life. I think I’m safe and comfortable reading fun quirky short stories about miniaturized wives or class issues in a decaying city, and then all of a sudden I’m reading a story about zombies and I’m terrified.

I guess this is one of the risks of being a science fiction and fantasy reader in the zombie-obsessed 21st century. It makes a kind of sense—lots of people believe we’re all turning into zombies because of too much work, because we listen to the same talking heads and don’t think for ourselves, because there is always a new virus that does scary, scary things to the human body.

So I’m not going to stop reading these types of stories, even though they make me want to hide under the covers like a five-year-old afraid of the monster in the closet.

How about you? Do you love zombies? Hate them? What’s your favorite zombie story?

-Kelly

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Toi Derricotte & Vanessa German: Saturday Poets-In-Person

Samuel Hazo_postcard flyr (5_5x8_5)

Come join us on Saturday, September 20th, at the Main Library in Oakland, for the inaugural reading in our brand new series, Saturday Poets-In-Person. The series will focus on well-known Pittsburgh poets, with the featured poets for the first reading being Toi Derricotte and Vanessa German. Readings will take place from 3 to 4 pm on Saturday afternoons. Sign language interpretation will be provided for our Deaf community.

Toi Derricotte is an important American poet whose work resonates deeply with the sorrows and the joys of being human, utilizing elements of her own life to inform us all what it is to be alive in the late 20th and early 21st century. An award winning poet who is the co-founder of Cave Canem, an organization “committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets,” she was elected Chancellor of  the Academy of American Poets in 2012.

Vanessa German is a multidisciplinary artist based in Pittsburgh’s historic Homewood neighborhood. Her performances have been described by Creative Mornings  as being in a “style called Spoken Word Opera; a dynamic hybrid of spoken word poetry infused with the theatrical elements of Opera, Hip Hop, and African Storytelling.” Her love of Homewood, her personal courage in the face of adversity, and her performance work, the stuff of Pittsburgh legend, are well-known both nationally and internationally.

All readings will take place in the International Poetry Room on the second floor of Main Library. The poetry collection housed there contains over 4,500 books and is one of the largest standalone poetry collections in a public library in the US. The collection was begun by the Carnegie Library in collaboration with Dr. Samuel Hazo, the founder and Executive Director of the International Poetry Forum, with a few dozen books back in 1976 and has grown into a destination point for poetry lovers in Pittsburgh and throughout Allegheny County.

For lovers of the written word, performance art, or poetry, this is a program not to be missed. I hope to see you there. FYI, here is a flyer for the complete series. Just click to enlarge:

page0001~ Don

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Me and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Me And Earl and the Dying GirlWhen I first heard that Jesse Andrews‘ debut novel Me and Earl and the Dying Girl was being made into a movie, and was being filmed here in Pittsburgh, no less, I immediately snatched the book up from our teen section at CLP – Mt. Washington.

Then it sat on a chair in my apartment for three weeks.

What can I say? It’s summertime.  There are trails to be biked and girls in sundresses to be ogled.  So after those three weeks lapsed, I renewed it.  Again, it sat while I found other activities to do rather than diving into those meager two hundred and ninety-five pages.  Suddenly, I saw that the holds list for the book was growing, so I got to reading.

I’m so glad that I finally did.

Narrator Greg Gaines is a high school senior who blends in with each social circle he encounters without ever fully becoming a member of them.  His only friend is Earl and together they make weird no-budget home movies inspired by the likes of Werner Herzog.  Greg’s only plan for his last year of school is to fly as low under the radar as he can.  His plan is foiled when his mother decrees that he must revive his childhood friendship with leukemia-stricken Rachel—the dying girl of the book’s title.  In the end, events transpire that cast off Greg’s carefully crafted cloak of invisibility that he has taken so long to cultivate.

I simply loved Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. I was literally laughing out loud several times while I read it. The last book that made me laugh out loud as much was Mac Lethal’s hilarious and surprisingly heartwarming Texts from Bennet, a spin-off of the popular Tumblr of the same name.  Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is no less hilarious and no less heartwarming.

Since the book is based in Pittsburgh, I found it very believable and found myself easily relating to Greg. By now I’m sure you can tell that I love movies, not unlike Greg, so I saw a bit of myself there.  But there’s more.  I strongly related to Greg’s navigation of the cliques of high school.  When I was his age, I would often imagine what high school would look like if the social scales were suddenly inverted.  I always believed—and still do to this day—that if ever such a cosmic shift had occurred, I would have remained firmly in the center of the spectrum; my popularity would have been unchanged.  I believed this because while I may not have been friends with everyone, I was certainly friendly toward everyone.  However, my math might be a bit off since there were just over eighty kids in my graduating class whereas Greg goes to Benson High School, an almost certain stand-in for the recently sold Schenley High School.

Regarding the upcoming film version, news of it has been scant. As of writing this, the most recent piece of info was pictures of Olivia Cooke, the titular dying girl, surfacing from Comic-Con, sans hair.  According to Thomas Mann’s Instagram account (because that’s a place we go to for news these days), filming wrapped on July 20. Mann will be bringing Greg’s awkwardness to life in the film.

Photo by thomas_mann

Sightseeing at Mind Cure Records and The Copacetic Comics Company after getting a drink from Lili Café in Polish Hill…or is this part of the movie? We’ll find out whenever it’s released! Photo by thomas_mann on Instagram

I know I’m potentially setting myself up for disappointment, but based on how much I loved the book, I feel like I already love the movie.  I know, I know.  There are inherent dangers when adapting a book to a movie, but I have faith because Andrews himself wrote the screenplay.  If Andrews loves films as much as Greg does, I have hope.  There are several times in the novel when the layout switches from a normal book to the layout of a script. That was just one of the many things that endeared the book to me. I also loved how self-aware the book is. Greg is hilariously self-deprecating and directly addresses the reader several times. I kept thinking of movies like Ferris Bueller’s Day OffFight Club and Amélie while I was reading it. If the movie can capture even a fraction of the fourth-wall-breaking fun in those movies, I’ll be very pleased.  This movie could very well—potentially—be added to the pantheon of my favorite Pittsburgh-filmed movies.

Andrews has crafted a story that is realistic in both its humor and its treatment of how I’d imagine a socially awkward kid would react to a friend dying of cancer. I certainly enjoyed the book more than a certain other book about a girl with cancer whose movie counterpart also recently filmed here.  Is the trope “girls with cancer” approaching the territory of a cliché? I don’t know, but however you like your books about girls with cancer, either unrealistically saccharine or realistically humorous, you should definitely check out “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” while we wait for the movie. I’ll undoubtedly review it here whenever it comes out.

Have you read the book? Do you want to yell at me and tell me how wrong I am for not liking The Fault in Our Stars? Sound off in the comments below!

–Ross

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