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Pittsburgh has opened a digital archive that will let Internet users worldwide view more than a half million pages of historical documents about the city’s iron and steel heritage.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.
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.
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Dating as far back as the 1880s, the collection features books, maps, journals, photographs, illustrations and trade catalogs, many of which are too fragile to handle. By saving Pittsburgh’s steel and iron legacy materials in a digital format, the library has made them accessible to local students as well as national historians. Accessible at www.carnegielibrary.org/ironsteel, the Library’s collection also offers a social networking component that connects industrial researchers, students, historians and genealogists to view share and contribute to the archive.