Discover Pittsburgh’s history online
Whether you are doing some family genealogical research, researching a school project or just want to learn more about Pittsburgh’s history, there is a great website to help you get started in your search.
The website, Historic Pittsburgh, is a collection of historical resources from local institutions.
This is a free site that you can access from anywhere. Institutions throughout the city and county make some of their archives available online. This can include anything from historic images to maps to Pittsburgh Census records. These collections often include full-text primary source documents.
Some of the local institutions that have collections on Historic Pittsburgh include: Library and Archives at the Heinz History Center, several public libraries, the Archives Service Center at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Archives and more.
The goal of Historic Pittsburgh is to provide access to a selection of historic materials in one location for people to go and access.
In many cases, this is just a selection of the historic archives that these institutions have to offer, so be sure to contact the individual institution for more information. This is a great starting point for your research.
When you visit the Historic Pittsburgh site, the homepage has information about the project, the institutions that participate and the types of digital materials that can be found on the site.
Here is a list of the categories of information that is available to you on Historic Pittsburgh.
• Full text of more than 1,200 books published about Pittsburgh in the 19th or early 20th century.
• Several map collections. One is the Pittsburgh Geodetic and Topographic Survey Maps from 1923 to 1961.
• More than 32,500 images that you can search or browse by, with descriptions of photographs included.
• Guides to contents of archival collections. This is a great starting point for your research if you want to learn what is in a collection at different institutions.
• U.S. Census records for the city of Pittsburgh from 1850 to 1880 and the former Allegheny City.
To visit Historic Pittsburgh, go to digital.library.pitt.edu/pittsburgh.
Pam Calfo is the technology and marketing librarian at the Baldwin Borough Public Library. Follow the library on Twitter @BBPL; on Facebook, Like the Baldwin Borough Public Library; and you can email Calfo at [email protected].