Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is one of the first of over 2000 public libraries commissioned by Andrew Carnegie. Since its founding in 1895, the Library and its 19 locations serve a mission of engaging the community in literacy and learning.
The Pittsburgh Photographic Library @ the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
The Pittsburgh Photographic Library (PPL) is a repository consisting of numerous photographic collections that have been acquired by The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh since 1960. The collections are housed in the Pennsylvania Department at the main Carnegie Library in Oakland. When it opened in the summer of 1960, the PPL contained three collections, and these continue to form the nucleus of photographs and other graphic illustrations which document over 200 years of Pittsburgh history. The original collections include: 1,500 images used to illustrate the book, A Pittsburgh Album, written by photo documentalist Roy Stryker and published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in honor of the city's 1958-1959 bicentennial anniversary; the Bingaman collection of over 1,000 photographs taken in the first quarter of the century by Frank E. Bingaman, photographer for the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph; and the Pittsburgh Photographic Library, a collection of roughly 18,000 photographs which were taken in the early 1950s as a documentation project, and which subsequently gave the repository its present name.
In anticipation of the opening in 1960, Dr. Ralph Munn, then director of the Carnegie Library, announced the new service would be "an aid to students, teachers, authors, researchers, advertisers and others in need of pictorial material about Pittsburgh." The photo library was established with funds contributed by the A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Howard Heinz Endowment, Hunt Foundation, and the Post-Gazette. Within a year after the opening, the City of Pittsburgh's Department of Public Works donated 100 of its photographs, many by Pittsburgh native, Brady W. Stewart. An agreement was made with photo journalist Stefan Lorant to donate the 1,000 documents he had amassed in preparation for his book, Pittsburgh: The Story of an American City. In addition, another Pittsburgh photographer, Abram M. Brown would soon contribute his priceless collection of glass plate negatives documenting local communities and the Pennsylvania Railroad at the turn of the century.
Today, after several decades of acquisition, there are an estimated 57,000 images that comprise the Carnegie's Pittsburgh Photographic Library. In addition to the collections already mentioned above, the PPL also houses a collection of photographs by Johnstown native, Luke Swank; illustrations by the cartoonist, Cy Hungerford; a collection of images relating to Andrew Carnegie; and a photographic history of local amusement parks, among others.