Project Overview

This website offers a brief history of the English department at the University of Pittsburgh.

The first two links provide the early history: from 1787-1819, during the period of the Pittsburgh Academy; and from 1819-1860, after the founding of the Western University of Pennsylvania. For these two sections, we relied heavily on Agnes Lynch Starrett, Through One Hundred and Fifty Years: The University of Pittsburgh (U of Pittsburgh Press, 1937).  

From the 1860s on, the links are organized by decade. Here, most of the material was drawn from the University of Pittsburgh archives. We are grateful to the archivists for their generous assistance: Marianne Kasica and Miriam Meislik. For context, we also relied upon Robert C. Alberts, Pitt: The Story of the University of Pittsburgh, 1787-1987 (U of Pittsburgh P, 1986). The current project ends with the 1960s.  

Each historical period is represented by five sections. There is an Overview, which provides a general summary. There is a page on Courses, which notes changes in the curriculum. We provide a roster of Faculty and, where we can, we have prepared brief biographies. We list Students (as possible) and provide brief notes on graduates with distinctive careers. There is also a section titled "Footnotes," where we describe distinctive events or projects, and where we gather documents and images.

I am very grateful to Anna Redcay, who first began working in the archives to gather material for this project. Anna helped to create the format for this website and wrote some of its first entries. I owe a huge debt to Jean Grace, who helped with the design of the website and who oversaw its construction. I am grateful to the research assistants who followed Anna Redcay—Tara Lockhart, Kathryn Kidd, Maria Sholtis, and Nina Sabak—and to Jesse-Burton Nicholson, Cristina Correnti, and Dara Liling, who helped to bring the project on-line. Sarah Loser and Bridget Duffy, undergraduate research assistants, helped to gather and select examples of student writing. Bridget Duffy tracked down undergraduate prize winners and helped to prepare their entries. Lauren Hall researched and prepared materials for our entries on Edwin Peterson.

If you have corrections or additions, please send them to the address below. If you have documents or images, please send them as well. We will be careful with their use and, with your permission, place them in the University Archives.

This history is dedicated to all those who have promoted the literary and rhetorical arts on our campus.

David Bartholomae
Professor and Charles Crow Chair
Department of English
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260