The Allegheny Conference on Community Development is a nonprofit organization that works with the public and private sectors to improve the economy and quality of life in the Pittsburgh region.
The images in the collection, consisting of photographs collected from various photographers and organizations, document both the conditions the Allegheny Conference was hoping to change as well as the activities in which the organization was involved.
The H. J. Heinz Company Photographs depict the company’s Pittsburgh plant and its employees, products, displays, and equipment. The photographs, which date chiefly between 1940 and 1975, were created by the company’s Public Relations Department for internal use.
The General Postcard Collection (GPCC) consists of sixteen boxes of picture postcards from the early twentieth century to the present day. Most are images of the Pittsburgh area but there are several boxes covering nearly every town and county in Pennsylvania. Office buildings, museums, parks, street scenes, skylines, theaters, schools, churches, factories, and more are memorialized, as well as highways, rivers, bridges, tunnels, railroad stations, historical images, and other less conventional scenes. Postcards have long been a popular way for businesses to advertise as well, and thus many “trade” cards are also included in the collection, from Heinz and Westinghouse to department stores, restaurants, and small family businesses.
Pittsburgh can lay claim to many remarkable topographical features but among the most distinctive are its three rivers – Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio. These bodies of water converge to form a point delineating Pittsburgh’s downtown and creating what is known as the Golden Triangle. But living on the water is not without its hazards. With great rivers come great floods, and Pittsburgh has suffered through many in its history. The Detre Library & Archives collection contains photographs depicting numerous floods and their aftermath on the city and nearby communities, including those shown here from 1883, 1907, 1936, and 1964.
The Buhl Foundation Photographs contain photographs of homes in Chatham Village, the Buhl Foundation’s $2 million housing development located in Pittsburgh’s Mt. Washington neighborhood. The photographs, dating from 1929 to 1950, include images of Chatham Village’s construction, the interiors and exteriors of homes, Chatham Hall (the community center), recreational areas, and the development’s residents.
The Pittsburgh Public School Records and Photographs contain a rich range of materials, including correspondence, photographs, reports, scrapbooks, minutes, curriculum materials, and business records documenting 90 schools in the Pittsburgh Public Schools District. Together, the records and photographs of the Pittsburgh Public Schools uniquely reflect the educational experiences of students and teachers as well as the administrative actions of the school district over time.
People born and raised in one city, who grow up as one of many generations in a community, often have a deep understanding of the local history, landscape, and community dynamics. Historic archives are unique because of the way someone from outside a certain community can look at family papers or organization records and discover how people in the past inserted themselves into their community, especially in Pittsburgh neighborhoods, many of which had different majority demographics throughout the centuries. The settling of one such family can be seen in the Writt-Richards Family Papers and Photographs. The photographs and documents of this collection show family gatherings, portraits, newspaper clippings, bonds records, and correspondence.