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February 13, 2018

Pittsburgh Gets a Tommy Gun, 1929

Sometimes an object becomes so associated with a certain era that it eventually symbolizes larger issues that shaped part of American history. For the 1920s, one such object was the Thompson Submachine gun, or "Tommy" gun. Nearly 90 years ago, the Tommy gun's role as part of an event known as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre forever entwined the gun with the dark folklore of gangsters and Prohibition-era crime.

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December 13, 2017

The Mystery of the McKeesport Menorah

The Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives recently acquired this charming electric menorah from the Iszauk family of White Oak, Pa., a borough outside McKeesport. No one in the Jewish community in McKeesport could provide any information about the origins of the electric menorah, but we dug a littler deeper.

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October 25, 2017

From Cucina to Grocery Store: The Evolution of Pasta-Making in American Homes

For many people, Italian American culture is synonymous with Italian food. And who could fault individuals for thinking this way, considering the pervasiveness of Italian American cuisine in the United States today. The widespread popularity of Italian food was not always the case ... The evolution of pasta-making in American homes can be traced in the History Center’s Italian American Collection through an investigation of several of our artifacts: the chitarra, the hand-crank pasta machine, and the pasta die.

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