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Class Visits to Special Collections @ Pitt

This guide will provide information to Faculty about what is possible in teaching with Special Collections and scheduling class visits to the department.


The University Library System at the University of Pittsburgh is proud to have special collections and archives housed in the Archives Service Center (ASC), Center for American Music (CAM), Fine Arts Library (FA), The Theodore M. Finney Music Library and Hillman Library's Special Collections Department (SC).  These units work collaboratively to make their collections available and easily accessible to students and researchers. 


The Special Collections Department is the general designation for rare books, general manuscripts, and special collections which belong to the University of Pittsburgh. Established in 1966, the collections consists of over 52,000 physical volumes, 560 linear feet of manuscripts and archives, 13,000 photographs, 500,000 theatre programs, and various slides, microfilms, posters, recordings, ephemera, and memorabilia. Materials collected by the Special Collections Department are housed in both Hillman Library and the Library Collections Storage Unit (LCSU) in Point Breeze. 

The Archives Service Center (ASC) is the repository for manuscript and record collections that document the history of Pittsburgh and the Western Pennsylvania region, including the University of Pittsburgh.

Collection Strengths

The Frick Fine Arts Library is one part of the University of Pittsburgh Library System.  The art and architectural history collection was begun in 1927 along with the founding of what is now known as the Department of the History of Art and Architecture.  The collection once focused on the history of medieval and renaissance art and architecture since that was the focus of the Department's curriculum and research.  In 2000, the faculty and course offerings began to change to a focus on global modern and contemporary art and architecture.  In addition, the Department enlarged its undergraduate program in Architectural Studies and added a section on Historic Preservation. It is a rich collection covering many time periods in several languages. 



The Center for American Music collects reference and research materials for American music, with an emphasis on popular culture of the period between 1840 and 1940. The holdings have been called, in the words of a 1985 NEH-funded assessment, "one of the major research collections for 19th-century American music, and American culture in general, in the entire country" with "a large and priceless collection of 19th-century song."


The Center for American Music is happy to host classes in our library and museum and to provide materials to exhibit and utilize during your classtime. If the library and museum are too small for your needs, we can also arrange to have materials transferred to the University of Pittsburgh's Special Collections or the Archives Service Center on Thomas Boulevard to better accomodate you.

The Theodore M. Finney Music Library contains a general music research collection as well as several collections of important musical materials. Collections include: Early American hymnals and tunebooks, volumes of sheet music with regional significance, seventeenth and eighteenth century prints of English sacred and secular works, and music belonging to the late William Steinberg and Fidelis Zitterbart. The library's holdings include approximately 65,000 music scores and books, 25,000 sound recordings, 1,500 microforms, and 150 journals.


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