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Public Libraries in Pittsburgh, from the 18th Century to WWI   

The recent 125th Anniversary of The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh sent researchers into the archives of the Library to answer a variety of burning questions: who put Carnegie’s grand plans into action?  Who were the first library workers and what were they like? Were there public libraries before Andrew Carnegie came along and, if so, where were they and how did they function?  And how did the 19th century institution founded by a famously pacifist benefactor evolve during the crisis of World War I?

Illustrated with images from the archives of the Carnegie Library, many seen here for the first time, this talk will celebrate the legacy of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and will place that legacy within a larger, national context.

Jennie Benford has served 10 years as the University Archivist for Carnegie Mellon University and is a founding member of LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails), a guerrilla women’s history action collective. Most recently she served The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh as Historic Researcher for their 125 Anniversary.