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Heinz History Center

Pittsburgh’s John Kane: Coming to America

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Making History Blog

From Pickles to Planes: Women Lead Glider Production for Heinz During WWII

They came from all walks of life. Margaret Evans was an artist’s model from Greentree. Mrs. Grace Winters was a widow with three small children. Mrs. Louise Hamilton came from a farm in Moon Run, accompanied by her daughter Louise. Olga Radosevich yearned to join her sister Sophie in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, but…

The McGinnis Sisters Special Food Stores: Remembering a Connection Between Mother and Daughters

Local businesses become part of the fabric of a community, especially those related to food and groceries. Customers sample new products, exchange recipes, and pick up ingredients needed for cherished family traditions, year after year. Such places aren’t just part of the community, they create their own community. The History Center has long been interested…

The “Little” Penn Theater

  Perhaps the only photo of the theater shows author Paul (age 12) with his uncle Ben Siegal in 1944. Courtesy of Carol Horowitz. by Paul Roth The principal business of my branch in the Roth Family was the Penn, a moving picture theater owned and operated by my grandfather, Israel (Joe) Roth. This was…

Rev. LeRoy Patrick: Advocate for Equality

After arriving in Pittsburgh in 1951, Rev. LeRoy Patrick dove headfirst into the fight to integrate the city’s public swimming pools. Though Blacks were not prevented by law from using any city pool, a culture of de facto segregation, enforced by intimidation and outright violence by whites, prohibited them from using certain locations. In Pittsburgh’s…

Wait For It: Hamilton in Pittsburgh

  Alexander Hamilton. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. The last time Hamilton came to Pittsburgh, he wasn’t quite as popular. In fact, he was arguably one of the most hated men in Western Pennsylvania in the late 1700s, thanks to his liquor tax that sparked the Whiskey Rebellion. As Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway musical…

The History and Legacy of the Freedom House

  Freedom House Ambulance Service first day, Presbyterian University Hospital, Pittsburgh, c. June 16, 1968. Gift of Virginia “Ginny” Caligiuri. A white paper report in 1966, “Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society,” documented the lack of emergency medical care and health disparities across the U.S. It found that African Americans had…

Book Review: “The Mount Washington Transit Tunnel Disaster”

  The Mount Washington Transit Tunnel Disaster By Mary Jane Kuffner Hirt The History Press, 2021 192 pages, 60 photos and maps Paperback, $21.99 Reviewed by Mark Holan, Pittsburgh native and editorial director of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association in Washington, DC. Two dozen people were killed December 24, 1917, when a Pittsburgh…

Book Review: “An Alternative History of Pittsburgh”

  An Alternative History of Pittsburgh By Ed Simon Belt Publishing, 2021 176 pages Paperback, $16.95 Reviewed by Leslie Przybylek, Senior Curator, Heinz History Center In literary tradition, an “alternative history” is speculative fiction based on the historical past but diverted into a contrasting trajectory by changing events at a critical point in the narrative.…

Book Review: “Andy, Can You Hear Us? Communing with Andy Warhol at His Gravesite – Vol. 1 (Winter)”

  Andy, Can You Hear Us? Communing with Andy Warhol at His Gravesite – Vol. 1 (Winter) By Madelyn Roehrig Andy’s Figments, 2020 80 pages, color photos Softcover, $39.99 Reviewed by Eric Lidji, Director, Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives, Heinz History Center The novelist Cynthia Ozick once made a distinction between travelers and pilgrims.…

Book Review: “A Gift of Belief: Philanthropy and the Forging of Pittsburgh”

  A Gift of Belief: Philanthropy and the Forging of Pittsburgh Edited by Kathleen W. Buechel University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021 384 pages Hardcover, $40 Reviewed by Betty Arenth, former senior vice president of the Heinz History Center Few scholars’ lives achieve the nexus of theory and practice as perfectly as Kathy Beuchel who served…