Documenting Pitt

Issue Date: 
October 9, 2006

New Pitt Web site offers access to 70,000 pages of text, photos, yearbooks, dating back to 19th century



From top to bottom: Forbes Avenue during the 1930s, and 1950s photos of members of The Pitt News staff and the University’s student government organization.

Curious to see what grandpa looked like when he was a student at the University of Pittsburgh? Wondering what courses Pitt offered in the 1800s? A new Web site being launched today by Pitt’s University Library System (ULS) is providing quick and easy online access to a treasure trove of materials stored in the University Archives.

Called Documenting Pitt: Historical Publications and Images of the University of Pittsburgh (, the site enables users to search and browse through assorted athletic media guides, chancellors’ reports, commencement programs, fact books, University catalogs, yearbooks, and other Pitt-produced publications.

The ULS Digital Research Library, with financial support from the Office of the Provost, digitized more than 70,000 pages of text and images in creating the new site.

University archivist Marianne Kasica says Documenting Pitt will make it easier for her to respond to frequent requests for issues of The Owl, the yearbook published by Pitt from 1907 to 1980. (Since then, Panther Prints has been the Pitt yearbook’s title.) “It seems that not a day goes by in the archives without someone requesting a yearbook page or material about the University,” Kasica said.

“Now that this corpus of Pitt history is available online, our patrons can search and discover important sources of institutional history they may have overlooked before,” added University Librarian Rush Miller, director of ULS.

Visitors to the site can search and browse through more than seven decades worth of The Owl yearbooks as well as issues of the University Courant, a lesser-known periodical featuring poems and essays written by students, faculty, and administrators, published by Pitt in the late-19th and early-20th centuries.

The text collections also contain materials written about Pitt, ranging from a 1901 speech by Chancellor William J. Holland to the more recent Pitt: The Story of the University of Pittsburgh by Robert C. Alberts (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1986). The site includes many images that were already digitized as part of Pitt’s Historic Pittsburgh Image Collections Web site ( but are now accessible through the Documenting Pitt site.