Western Pennsylvania History Magazine

Western Pennsylvania History has presented scholarship for a broad audience since 1918 as the region’s oldest continually-published magazine. History Center members receive a free subscription to this award-winning quarterly publication.

Current Issue

Western Pennsylvania History Winter 2020-21

The Winter 2020-21 issue of Western Pennsylvania History includes feature articles on:

  • Playwright August Wilson’s inspiration from the art of Romare Bearden
  • Ron Donoughe’s experiences painting scenes from Pittsburgh’s 90 neighborhoods
  • Sister Cyril Aaron’s decades of service caring for the poor in the Hill District

As well as columns about:

  • Tracing women’s roles in trade through an 18th-century trade ledger, part 2
  • Pittsburgh’s Polar Bear Club, the water warriors of winter
  • Architectural photo collection of H. Miller & Sons’ prolific building projects
  • The Mellon mansion’s influence on the landscape of today’s Mellon Park
  • Spotlight on HCAP: Oakmont Carnegie Library
  • Charlie McCollester’s online program to highlight local historic labor sites
  • A holiday turning point for Gene Kelly, Perry Como, and Lena Horne
  • African Americans saving lives: the Freedom House Ambulance Service
  • The story of an unfinished quilt in the aftermath of a tornado in Sharon, Pa.

You can purchase a copy of the current issue online in the History Center’s e-store.

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Back Issues: 1918 – 2018

Thanks to a unique partnership with Penn State University, every issue of Western Pennsylvania History from 1918 through 2018 is now available online as fully searchable PDFs.

Read back issues of the magazine online.

Content list for back issues 2002 – present.


Current issues of Western Pennsylvania History magazine are available for $7.95 in the Museum Shop, online shop, or by phone at 412-454-6300, and are mailed to all History Center members, who may choose between the print version an an e-version. For a sample of the e-mag that members can choose to receive, click here. A selection of back issues are available for $4.95 per magazine.

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Magazine Submission Guidelines

Please download this PDF to read the submission guidelines for Western Pennsylvania History Magazine.

Exclusive Online Articles & Book Reviews

Read expanded online-only articles from past issues of Western Pennsylvania History Magazine.

Be the first to know about Pittsburgh-related books with the History Center’s online reviews.

Exclusive Online Book

Radium City: A History of America’s First Nuclear Industry
By Joel O. Lubenau and Edward R. Landa

About the Book

In 1921, Marie Curie, recipient of Nobel Prizes in physics and chemistry and co-discoverer of radium, visited the U.S. to receive a gift of one gram of radium from the women of America. Costing $100,000, the gift was presented to her by President Harding at the White House. A Pittsburgh enterprise, Standard Chemical Company, founded by James J. and Joseph M. Flannery, produced the radium. After receiving the gift, Marie Curie travelled to western Pennsylvania to see the company’s and radium production and refining plants.

“Radium City” is the story of how the two brothers, undertakers-turned-industrialists, founded the first and largest American company to produce radium and the company’s legacies.

About the Authors

Joel Lubenau’s introduction to the Pittsburgh based company that produced radium occurred in July 1963 when, as a green U.S. Public Health Service officer detailed to the Pennsylvania radiation control program, he was sent to Pittsburgh to investigate a report of radioactive property found at an auction house. It came from the estate of a gentleman who lived in Dormont, a suburb of Pittsburgh. His name was Arthur L. Miller, once employed by the radium production company, Standard Chemical Company (SCC). His house was — no surprise — contaminated by radium that had to be remediated. He would encounter Miller’s name and that of the SCC again and again. His articles on the history of the use of radiation and radioactive materials and their impact upon popular culture have appeared in scientific journals and as well as popular journals such as Pennsylvania Heritage and Western Pennsylvania History.

After receiving his Ph.D. in soil science, Edward (Ed) R. Landa joined the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). He was assigned to Denver, Colorado where the USGS was assisting the state in assessing former radium mining and production sites. To better understand what went on in that era Ed became a miner himself by digging into newspapers, technical journals, Congressional records, and other sources to reconstruct the story of America’s “First Nuclear Industry.” The wealth of information he uncovered became the basis for “Buried Treasure to Buried Waste: The Rise and Fall of the Radium Industry” published in 1987 by the Colorado School of Mines. Ed’s monograph became and remains the primary reference on American radium production. SCC, of course, was a prominent part of his monograph.

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