Monday, May 22, 2017

Research in Pittsburgh: The Detre Library & Archives

The Thomas & Katherine Detre Library & Archives, founded in 1879, is located in the Senator John Heinz History Center. It offers a non-circulating collection of materials documenting life in Western Pennsylvania. The Library & Archives preserves the rich history of Western Pennsylvania and makes its collections accessible to researchers, students, and the general public.

Photo courtesy of the Senator John Heinz History Center

The Library & Archives collection includes:
·         700,000 photographs, prints, and negatives
·         40,000 books, pamphlets, and monographs
·         3,500 individual archival collections of families, organizations, businesses, and industries
·         600 periodical titles
·         500 maps and atlases

The Digital Collection at the Library & Archives includes photographs from the H. J. Heinz Company, Allegheny Conference on Community Development, General Postcard Collection, Pittsburgh Floods, Buhl Foundation’s Chatham Village Photographs, and correspondence, photographs, reports, scrapbooks, minutes, curriculum materials, and business records documenting 90 schools in the Pittsburgh Public Schools District.

Photo courtesy of the Senator John Heinz History Center

Also available at the Library & Archives is the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives, which was founded in 1989 to collect, preserve, and make accessible the documentary history of Jews and Jewish communities of Western Pennsylvania.  These collections document the lives of individuals and families and the histories of congregations, organizations, institutions, and businesses. Correspondence, memoirs, diaries, ledgers, minutes, scrapbooks, ephemera, photographs, audio tapes, and moving images are housed in archival containers and stored in a monitored, secure, and climate-controlled environment.

Programs sponsored by the Library & Archives include Finding Your Family History, Preserving Your Family Treasures, Italian Genealogy, Irish Genealogy, Personal Digital Archiving, and programs to celebrate Family History Month in October. 

Learn more about Western Pennsylvania, a region of cultural and ethnic diversity and unsurpassed significance in the history of industrialization and economic development. Search their online catalog for books, archival collections, periodicals, and more at 

The Heinz History Center is a short walk from the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Access to the Detre Library & Archives is free for all visitors; however, if you wish to see the museum exhibits, then paid admission is required.

Hours of the Library & Archives are Wed.-Sat., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Other times available by appointment.  Contact by phone at 412-454-6364 or e-mail  You can complete an Online Form to have materials ready for you to review when you come to visit.

 - guest post by Rebecca Kichta Miller, President Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society

This is the first in a series of posts about research opportunities in the Pittsburgh area.

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