Both the captains of industry and the common men and women of Pittsburgh lived, worked and played in cultural surroundings whose riches were as just as important to citizens as those gleaned from iron and steel. From the very beginning, Pittsburghers supported strong life of the mind, bolstered by multiple newspapers and bookstores and several scientific societies. As early as 1813 support for an early form of library services existed in the establishment of the Pittsburgh Permanent Library Company. The host of churches that sprung up at the city’s inception co-existed peacefully with a variety of public charities designed to serve the poor, and a flourishing local music scene provided both entertainment and enlightenment.
The documents collected in this section provide context for Pittsburgh’s industrial history by revealing the mundane details of citizens’ daily lives. Catalogs of library holdings, guides to industrial exhibitions, photographs of people and places and other resources, while still grounded firmly in the city’s iron and steel heritage, allow a glimpse of what the thriving industrial metropolis must have looked like to the men and women who lived and worked in it.
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