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Established in 1966, the University Archives documents the history of the University of Pittsburgh since its founding as the Pittsburgh Academy in 1787. The Pittsburgh Academy became the Western University of Pennsylvania in 1819 and was renamed the University of Pittsburgh in 1908.
The University Archives grew out of the “Pitt Collection,” a Special Collection within the Library that was formed in the 1920’s to collect all books published by the faculty of the University. Over time this collection was augmented with catalogs, University publications and memorabilia. In 1966, the University Archives was officially established as part of the University Library.
Most of the University’s early records were destroyed by fires in 1845 and then again in 1849. There is little documentation of the Pittsburgh Academy or of the early years of the Western University of Pennsylvania. For the years 1854-1905 there are some surviving administrative records and a few publications. Many of these are mounted on the Documenting Pitt Web site or are slated to be added in the future. In particular, the two official University histories written by Agnes L. Starrett (Through One Hundred and Fifty Years: The University of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1937) and Robert C. Alberts (Pitt :The Story of the University of Pittsburgh, 1787-1987. University of Pittsburgh Press, 1986) are available online.
The historical records of the University available in the University Archives are mainly from the twentieth century. Included in these are the minutes of the Board of Trustees and office files from the Chancellor, Secretary, Provost, Deans and other administrators as well as many departments at the University. The files of the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees are closed for a period of twenty five years by University policy. The Chancellors files currently available for research are those for William J. Holland (1891-1901); Samuel B. McCormick (1904-1920); John G. Bowman (1921-1945), Rufus Henry Fitzgerald (1945-1955), Charles B. Nutting (1955-1956), Edward H. Litchfield (1956-1965), Stanton C. Crawford, Acting (1965), and David H. Kurtzman, Acting (1966-1967). The University Archives also strives to keep copies of all University publications. Archival copies of the Pitt News, University Times and the University Catalogues are housed here.
In an effort to document the intellectual environment of the University, the University Archives also collects the personal papers of a number of Pitt faculty. The University Archives endeavors to acquire and make accessible the papers of those faculty members who have made significant contributions in the areas of research, teaching and university or community service. A few of our most noted faculty collections include:
- Dr. Thomas Parran, the first Dean of the Graduate School of Public Health and the first Surgeon General of the United States;
- Ruth Crawford Mitchell, best known as the first director of the Nationality Rooms but also author of the Pitt Nativity Study;
- Percival Hunt, Professor of English best known for his book Samuel Pepys in the Diary;
- Donald M. Goldstein, Professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs best known for his many books on Pearl Harbor; and
- Dr. Thomas E. Starzl, world famous transplant surgeon.
University of Pittsburgh faculty who are interested in transferring their papers to the University Archives should contact Marianne Kasica, University Archivist, for information. She can be reached via E-mail or at 412-244-7078.