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University of Pittsburgh Libraries

Library Overview

Special Collections at the University of Pittsburgh are housed in four different facilities and focus, primarily, on different themes. They include the Darlington Memorial Library, the Center for American Music, the Archives of Industrial Society, and the Special Collections Department.

The Darlington Memorial Library includes what at one time was said to be the largest private library west of the Alleghenies. The collection, which contains about 11,000 books, is particularly rich in material pertaining to the French and Indian War, and to the history of western Pennsylvania and the Ohio Valley. Letters written by George Washington when he was a young officer are found in the collection. Literature, including many first editions of Charles Dickens, are part of the book collection. A complete set of John James Audubon's Birds of America is included, and the University Library System has established a rotating exhibit of the prints from this extraordinary publication.

The Center for American Music includes a broad cross-section of books, manuscripts, sheet music, and sound recordings that document American popular culture, primarily from the 1840s to the 1930s. Much sought-after materials pertaining to the life and music of Stephen C. Foster, the Pittsburgh native who was America's first professional songwriter, are located at the center.

The Archives of Industrial Society include over 650 separate manuscript or archival collections that document the growth and development of Pittsburgh as an urban, industrial society. The materials include union archives, environmental records, ethnic collections, organizational records, and personal papers, primarily from the late 1800s through the 20th century. Together these collections amount to over 25,000 linear feet of materials.

The Special Collections Department was established in 1966. It houses rare books, literary papers, feminist literature, theater collections, and the Archives of Scientific Philosophy.

University of Pittsburgh
271 Hillman Library
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260
(412) 244-7065 (t)
(412) 244-7077 (f)