Carnegie Library releases Iron and Steel Heritage Collection
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has opened a digital archive that will let Internet users worldwide view more than a half million pages of historical documents about the city's iron and steel heritage.
The library's Pittsburgh Iron and Steel Heritage Collection -- now online at www.carnegielibrary.org/ironsteel -- contains more than 500,000 pages, including excerpts from books, newspaper articles, maps, journals, photographs, illustrations and trade catalogs. The pages, preserved with microfilm, date back as far as the 1800s, and give viewers a glimpse into the lives of industry tycoons like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, Andrew W. Mellon and Charles M. Schwab.
Library staff members are using Facebook, blogs and other media to spread the word about the new feature, which they have worked on creating for three years. The documents are preserved in microfilm.
"Our hope is that as people come across this stuff, they'll begin to collaborate around it," Ryan Hughes, the library's project manager for IT, said at a news conference on Thursday.
People, Hughes said, can look at the photos, for instance, and say, "I worked there," or identify faces in a photograph.
Putting together this collection has been like exploring a coal mine, says Richard Kaplan, assistant director of the Carnegie Library's main branch in Oakland.
"We came out blackened by years of industrial grit," he said.
The library funded the $1.2 million project by raising $600,000, and receiving a matching National Leadership Demonstration Grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Sciences.
The Pittsburgh Iron and Steel Heritage Collection honors the city's history as the former heart of North American industry, said Leo Gerard, international president of United Steelworkers. Steel still is a very important material: So many things are made with it, he said. And creating steel creates wealth, which also is important today, Gerard said.
Viewers who see the people in the photographs, and the articles written about them, will gain an appreciation for the steelworkers' hard toil, he says.
"There is no easy job in a steel mill," Gerard said. "To be able to access (the collection) ... is going to send a real strong message about the importance of the steel industry."
The main library is celebrating the new collection on Saturday with Community Day, featuring many activities.
• Screening of documentary "The River Ran Red," 11 a.m. and noon in the director's conference room.
• "Rivers of Steel," about steelworkers' personal experiences, 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the International Poetry Room, 2nd floor.
• Storyteller Alan Irvine tells stories about Joe Magarac, an American folk legend who worked in Pittsburgh's steel industry, 1 and 2 p.m. in the Children's Room.
• A magnets program, children's craft activities and tours of the Oliver Room will be offered all day.
Community DayWhen: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
Where: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh -- Main, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland
Details: 412-622-3114 or website
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Agent: Polamalu undecided whether to play in 2015
- Overnight snowfall plagues public transportation, schools, commuters
- Starkey: In defense of Mel Kiper Jr.
- Penguins forwards struggle in loss to Avalanche
- 14 more arrested in connection with drug trafficking ring
- Springdale Twp. police car crashes into veterinary clinic
- Ice jam wipes out McKeesport’s marina
- Wolf’s Pa. budget plan seen as having almost no chance
- Angry fans cited in shortage of refs in Western Pennsylvania
- Dermatologist led UPMC residency program
- Crosby, Malkin chase scoring title amid defense-minded league