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Audio-Visual Resources @ Pitt Archives & Special Collections (A&SC): Audio Resources

Guide to audio-visual collections at Archives & Special Collections. Including information on rights and reproductions.

About Audio Collections

The Archives has conducted and acquired a variety of oral history collections with a local genesis and focus. These stories of immigrants, labor leaders, and community leaders lend a first-hand account of the lives of some of Pittsburgh’s most important residents.  The collections provide access to Pittsburghers in their own words.  The Archives Service Center collections feature over 1,400 interviews. Transcripts exist in some collections for most interviews.

Oral History

Beaver Valley Labor History Society Collection, 1909-1981, AIS.1981.08 Series II contains 23 oral history interviews of steelworkers involved in the Steel Workers Organizing Committee union recognition drive in Aliquippa during the 1930s.

Black Sport in Pittsburgh Records of the Oral History Collection, ca.1980, AIS.1987.01  Contains 54 Interviews conducted in the 1980s with individuals involved in black baseball clubs in and around Pittsburgh. Noted interviews include Jimmy Joe Robinson, Art Rooney, Ted Page, and photographer Charles "Teenie" Harris.

Electrical Workers of Western Pennsylvania Oral History Project, 1976-1977, AIS.1991.15 Interviews with retired electrical workers containing information about working conditions, discrimination, company resistance to unionization, and the red-baiting of union organizers at the General Electric plant in Erie, Pennsylvania, and the Westinghouse plant in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Ethnic Fraternal Organizations Oral History Project Collection, 1975-1976, AIS.1976.25 Contains 235 interviews exploring the roles and influences of ethnic fraternal organizations in the Jewish, Black, Croatian, Italian, Polish and other ethnic communities in the Pittsburgh area.

John P. Hoerr Oral History Collection, 1914-2004, AIS.2007.04 Oral histories conducted by John Hoerr as he worked on his book, Harry, Tom and Father Rice, which was published in 2005 and documents the Red Scare and House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) investigations.  Notable people interviewed include Monsignor Charles Owen Rice , Tom Quinn, and Hyman Richman, among others.

National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh Section Papers, 1894-2011, AIS.1964.40  Organizational records, including correspondence, memorabilia, reports, minutes, photographs, and oral histories for the period 1894 to 1997. The bulk of the records are from the NCJW Pittsburgh Section, however, there are some materials in the collection regarding NCJW state and national activities. 516 oral history interviews and two motion pictures from the project are available online.

Steve Nelson Oral History Project Records, 1977-1978, AIS.1978.24 64 audiotapes of interviews with Steve Nelson, a one time Communist Party member, radical political activist and industrial organizer. These interviews were used as the basis of the University Press book Steve Nelson: American Radical by Steve Nelson, James R. Barrett and Robert Ruck.

Pittsburgh Renaissance Project: The Stanton Belfour Oral History Collection, AIS.1973.24
 The Pittsburgh Renaissance Project (The Stanton Belfour Oral History Collection) was initiated and carried out by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs in 1971-1973 with funds from the Buhl Foundation. It documents the history of  Pittsburgh Renaissance betwen the 1940s and 1950s.

Recordings of the Southern Blacks' Migration to Pittsburgh Oral History Project, 1916-1930, AIS.1977.46  Contains 23 interviews conducted by Peter Gotltieb in 1976 documenting the life histories of the individuals and address the topics of community and family life from the turn of the century to 1976.

State and Local Government Archives Oral History Collection, 1996-2002, AIS.1997.02  Contains 229 oral history interviews conducted with state and local goverment leaders. The collection also contains transcripts, interveiw notes, and other related ephemera.

How Are Audio Collections Used?

It's one thing to read transcripts, notes, and abstracts from an interview, but it's a truly unique experience when the researcher is able to hear someone tell their story in their own words. Being able to hear the emotion and inflection provides insight into how the speaker feels about the events they are describing. For instance, this interview features former Pittsburgh mayor Sophie Masloff talking about her experiences as a member of city council and becoming mayor.

Audio Collections

University of Pittsburgh Archives Audio Recordings, 1950-2005, UA.Audio Contains 381 items dating from the 1950s to 2005 consisting of University Events, University History, Administration, Student Life, Media Events, Lectures, Research Findings, and International Events.

Pittsburgh Speech & Society Project  Contains 48 interviews, as well as information about the interviewees and the project itself. Interviews were conducted by one of three people, with the majority being conducted by project director Barbara Johnstone. An extensive website is also available.

Labor and Industry

UE Radio Broadcasts and Film Records, 1941-2002, UE.8.2  Audio recordings of various UE programs and presentations, including the Arthur Gaeth radio program, UE National Convention speeches, and informational programs on labor issues. Recordings of unidentified radio programs containing interviews of UE members and labor leaders are also present.