Neat Historical Pittsburgh Photos

The SlideMy cousin Joel came over for dinner this weekend, before the eventful Saturday night, and being a bit of a photo geek he showed me this awesome collection of historic Pittsburgh photos. I didn’t know the iconic Cathedral of Learning was built during the Great Depression, or that the bridges in Downtown look much the same as they did in 1925, or that the Phipps Conservatory existed in 1907.

These photos are part of my personal Operation Learn to Love Pittsburgh, because if I’m going to be living here for 2 more years I want to like this city. Seeing it in the dapper aughts and ’20s helps.

PS: even though photos like this one are from the 1880s, this license implies that copyright for scans of them start at the date they were scanned, though many photos are in the University of Pittsburgh’s photostream are Creative Commons licensed. So, probably another 100 years before the scans will be in the public domain (though the physical photographs already are).

Inspirational Quote:

“Three or four million heads of households don’t turn into tramps and cheats overnight, nor do they lose the habits and standards of a lifetime… They don’t drink any more than the rest of us, they don’t lie any more, they’re no lazier than the rest of us…. An eighth or a tenth of the earning population does not change its character which has been generations in the molding, or, if such a change actually occurs, we can scarcely charge it up to personal sin.”–Federal relief administrator Harry Hopkins, 1933


  1. Hmm, I’ve had two readers bring this up. I assumed because the University of Pittsburgh requires users to license the scans on their website to use them:

    That they believe they have a copyright on them, including those images from the 1880s. To my mind, this is like someone being able to copyright a recording of performance of Handel’s “Ombra Mai Fu” because though the music itself is in the public domain, that particular recording needs copyright protection.

    Another example might be someone copyrighting a book of public domain folksongs–while the texts of the songs are in the public domain, photocopying the book in its entirety and reselling it would be a violation of copyright, though selling a book of the folksongs retyped would not be.

    Can someone with more expertise correct me?

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