Archives are what is known as primary sources because they provide a first-hand account of an event by someone who witnessed it or experienced it. They are materials that were created by a person, but has not been interpreted by others. Archives are unique, unpublished resources that are not availalbe anywhere else. Some examples of primary sources in our collections are as follows:
This was how Pittsburgh looked at noon ca.1940, before smoke control laws (Smoke Control Lantern Slide Collection, ca. 1940-1950, AIS.1978.22, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh)
P.L. Prattis, executive editor of the influential Pittsburgh Courier, meeting with US Army Generals during WWII (Percival L. Prattis Papers, 1916-1980, AIS.2007.01, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh)
Archives are any material that been identified as having a lasting historical value. These items document the lives and activities of people, associations, businesses, and university departments. They were given to the archives, most often by the people who created them, so that they could be preserved and made available to others. The material held at the ASC is organized and stored differently than in a library. Archival material is organized into manuscript collections or records groups. The size of these collections may be as small as a single item or large enough to fill hundreds of boxes. These materials are non-circulating and must be used only at the ASC.
Notice the small handwritten entries? This is what an archival manuscript looks like. It is up to you to read the document and interpret it's meaning!