Committee and Archival Resources
The links below connect to the Pitt Digital Archive and provide resources for scholars to access historical information pertaining to the Nationality Rooms. Clicking the links will lead you away from this website.
The Nationality Rooms Program, representing the cultures of ethnic groups who settled in Western Pennsylvania, has accumulated historical information for more than 80 years. Each Nationality Room Committee designed, planned, fundraised, promoted, and built each classroom. The records of each Nationality Room Committee, as well as operational materials from the Nationality Rooms Program, are housed at both the University of Pittsburgh's Archives Service Center and the Nationality Rooms Program Office, located in the Cathedral of Learning.
Description of Archival Materials
The Nationality Rooms' archival collections encompass everything from architectural plans and photographs, to correspondence and committee meeting minutes, to research materials and ephemera from fundraising events. Some committees collected their own materials and presented them to the Nationality Room Program for their archives, while other committee collections are based on the materials acquired by the Nationality Room Program Office. Researchers wishing to access the Nationality Rooms' archival collections will learn about the committees, planning for the rooms, information about the artifacts and replicas contained within the rooms, and also the traditions of each culture and heritage. Please view our photo gallery for a sample of the photographic materials contained within our archives and to learn more about the Nationality Rooms and their committees' histories!
Finding Aids and Other Digital Materials
Located at the Archives Service Center are the records of general planning of the Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning under Ruth Crawford Mitchell. For specific rooms, please see the committee collections..
This collection consists of the records of the Nationality Rooms Council, a part of the Nationaity Rooms Program. It is the governing body of the Nationality Rooms Program and consists of representatives of the extant rooms under development or committees that support a scholarship program for study abroad.
The "Documenting Pitt" website has digitized many university publications relating to the Nationality Rooms. These materials include dedication booklets, informational booklets printed by specific committees, and programs from presentations of decorative room features, such as windows, to certain classrooms.
This collection at the Archives Service Center comprises papers of Ruth Crawford Mitchell, the first director of the Nationality Rooms Program, relating to immigration and her Nativity Study at the University of Pittsburgh. Additional relevant information can be found in the Nationality Room Program Office's Ruth Crawford Mitchell Collection.
This collection at the Archives Service Center includes information on the construction and concept of the Cathedral of Learning. Ruth Crawford Mitchell collaborated with John G. Bowman on the design of the Nationality Rooms
The Women’s International Club was founded on August 4, 1939 at the University of Pittsburgh within the Nationality Rooms Program. The purpose of the club was to establish communication between the various Nationality Rooms committees and to promote intercultural understanding and exchange within the university and city community.
Nationality Room Committee Collections
The following Nationality Room Committees have online-accessible finding aids.
The Austrian Room Committee began planning of the Baroque-style Austrian Classroom in the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh in 1987, completing it in 1995. The collection of the Austrian Room Committee contains correspondence, financial information, news clippings, architectural drawings, programs, and publications.
The Chinese Nationality Room Committee Collection holds records pertaining to the design, funding, and construction of the Chinese Nationality Room in the Cathedral of Learning. The committee was established in 1929, and the room was dedicated on October 6, 1939. The collection is composed of correspondence, design notes, blueprints, newspaper clippings, financial reports, meeting minutes, summaries of daily progress, photographs, pamphlets, invitations, and publicity pertaining to the establishment of the Chinese Nationality Room.
The Czechoslovak Nationality Room Committee contains correspondence, photographs, drawings, minutes and publicity relating to the Czechoslovak Room's construction, as well as committee functions subsequent to the room's dedication. After the dedication in 1939, the committee shifted its efforts to the organization of local cultural events and the sponsorship of an annual exchange scholarship. The bulk of the collection dates to the second half of the twentieth century and includes committee correspondence, programs, publicity, essays and other papers relating to its latter role in scholarship and cultural activities. Digital reproductions of all of the photographs are available online.
The idea for an English Nationality Room was initially proposed by Dr. Albert Mansbridge in 1927; however, the construction of the room was delayed by the outbreak of the Second World War. Led by Member of Parliament Alfred C. Bossom, the room was eventually constructed using salvaged materials from the bombed House of Commons. This collection contains correspondence, running memos, and photographs that document the construction of the English Nationality Room in the Cathedral of Learning and its dedication in 1952.
The German Nationality Room Committee Collection details the planning, funding, and construction of the German Nationality Room in the Cathedral of Learning. The dates of the documents range from 1927 to 1954, and are in both English and German. The collection contains correspondence, finical statements, newspaper clippings, booklets, minutes, programs, a running memo, photographs and other materials related to the German Nationality Room.
The records of the Committee for the Hungarian Nationality Classroom, 1926-1964, include correspondence and financial statements surrounding the establishment of the Hungarian Classroom in the Nationality Rooms Program in the Cathedral of Learning. The records include architectural drawings, memos, and minutes as well as publicity material highlighting events preceding and succeeding the opening of the classroom.
The Indian Nationality Room Committee Collection is a compilation of correspondence, meeting minutes, financial reports, various print and non-print media, draft texts, and reference materials used by committee members of and pertaining to the Indian Nationality Room at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning. The bulk of the materials are from 1991-2001
Dedicated in 1987, the Israel Heritage Room (IHR) was the 20th Nationality Classroom constructed in the Cathedral of Learning and the first to be built in thirty years. Its construction marked the revival and continuation of the Nationality Rooms project begun by Chancellor John Bowman in 1926. The collection comprises correspondence, construction reports, invoices, newsletters, research notes, promotional event flyers, timesheets, disbursement requests, financial records, interdepartmental memos, by-laws, design proposals, scholarship applications and reviews, newspaper and magazine publications, scripts, a video contract, and photographs. Digital reproductions of selected photographs are online.
The Lithuanian Nationality Room (LNR) was dedicated on October 4, 1940 becoming the tenth classroom added to the Cathedral of Learning as part of the University of Pittsburgh's Nationality Rooms Program. Located on the first floor, the LNR is used both as a classroom and a space to promote Lithuanian heritage. Under Chairman Peter Pivaronas and Dr. Joseph Baltrusaitis, the Lithuanian Nationality Room Committee was able to design, fund, and construct their classroom in ten years.
The Norwegian Room Committee began as the Scandinavian Room Committee in 1928. By 1931 the committee and the design was focused only on Norway. While the construction of the room was finished in 1945, the official dedication was in 1948 following Norway’s reestablishment as an independent country after the war. The collection of the Norwegian Room Committee contains general correspondence, photographs, financial records, news clippings, architectural designs, event programs and flyers, and publications.
The Polish Nationality Room Committee Collection details the planning, funding, construction, and dedication of the Polish Nationality Room. The majority of the documents range from 1926 to after the room’s dedication in 1940. The collection contains correspondence, both between the committee members and with the Polish architect, as well as a running memo, newspaper clippings, photographs of the room and committee, finical statements, and other documents pertaining to the establishment of the Polish Nationality Room.
The Ukrainian Nationality Room Committee Collection is a compilation of correspondence, meeting minutes, fundraising media, newspaper articles, research notes, and sketches and blueprints. The materials within this collection represent the establishment of the committee up through the dedication of the Ukrainian Nationality Room in 1990.
The Welsh Nationality Room Committee Collection is a compilation of correspondence, meeting minutes, financial reports, various print and non-print media, draft texts, reference materials, and blueprints used by committee members from, and pertaining to, the Welsh Nationality Room at the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning. The bulk of the materials are from 2001 to 2008.
These collections do not have online-accessible finding aids yet, although most have comprehensive paper finding aids. For the following committee collections, please contact the Archives Service Center (for documents, blueprints, and some photographs) or the Nationality Rooms Program Office (for many photographs, dedication booklets, and additional information).
- Early American
These three collections have not yet been processed, and all archival materials of these nationality room committees remain at the Nationality Rooms Program Office. If you would like to access these materials, please contact the Nationality Rooms Program Office.
Below are relevant documents with online finding aids, which are gifts from the Room Committees
The Ripon, England documents consist of 23 English manuscripts, mostly from the town of Ripon, England, which were donated by the English Nationality Room Committee in 1961. Mostly indentures, the manuscripts include mortgages, deeds, bargain and sale transactions, and marriage settlements from 1636 through 1770 with at least one from the reign of each English monarch during that period. All but one are written on parchment.
Thomas Masaryk was an Austro-Hungarian and Czechoslovak politician, philosopher, and an icon of Czechoslovak independence by becoming the founder and first elected President of Czechoslovakia in 1918. The collection includes mostly unpublished drafts of Masaryk's letters and memoranda, interviews, and articles and drafts of later published writings. The date range of the collection (1918-1919) is significant as it was during this period that Masaryk’s ultimate goal of Czechoslovak sovereignty came to fruition.
University of Pittsburgh Archives Service Center
Address: 7500 Thomas Boulevard, Pittsburgh PA 15208
Hours: Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm
Note: An appointment is not necessary, but it may be helpful to contact the Archives Service Center prior to your visit to discuss the materials for which you are searching.