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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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Cathedral of Learning: 1948

Cathedral of Learning: 1948

The University of Pittsburgh main campus in Pittsburgh, circa 1948. This is from a scan of a stereo slide taken by my grandfather Ralph E. Archer. With no information on the slide it took some searching to determine what this structure was and where it was located. It was the most "alien" or out-of-place looking structure I had ever seen both with its unusual design and much greater height (42 stories, 535 feet tall) than everything surrounding it.

Known as the Cathedral of Learning this Late Gothic revival is the tallest educational building in the western hemisphere and the second tallest gothic style building in the world. Commissioned in 1921 and dedicated in 1937 it is a steel frame structure overlain with Indiana limestone and contains more than 2,000 rooms and windows.

During WWII the cathedral was assigned to house, feed and instruct about 1,000 Army Air Corps as well as dozens of Army engineers. As my father, Ralph H. Archer served in the Army Air Corps during WWII this may be the reason for this particular photo in his father's collection and so may date somewhat earlier than 1948.

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SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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