University of Pittsburgh

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The Archives & Special Collections Department at the University of Pittsburgh Library System

Carnegie wires Frick his support, telling him to not employ any of the rioters and that he would rather let grass grow over the works.
Henry Clay Frick Business Records, University of Pittsburgh, Archives & Special Collections

Archives & Special Collections (A&SC) in the University of Pittsburgh Library System holds several archival collections that convey various points of view pertaining to the Homestead Steel Strike. The most robust are the business papers of Henry Clay Frick, which not only contains correspondence concerning the hiring of the Pinkerton Detective Agency and planning and reporting between Frick and Andrew Carnegie, but also scrapbooks of newspaper clippings about the Carnegie Steel Company that demonstrate how the strike was portrayed to the public. Held by A&SC, the Allegheny County Coroner’s inquest reports on the fatalities at the Battle of Homestead contain witness testimony from a man who was trapped on the barges with the Pinkertons for the duration of the encounter. The coroner’s inquest verdicts also reveal the view of the local government and upper class that the strikers’ activities were illegal. The papers of William Martin, who served as Carnegie Steel’s Chief of the Bureau of Labor during the period of the strike, provides millworker wage rates from across the country, as well as a letter from a former steelworker pleading for his job once the strike had ended. Minute books from local typographical workers, brewery workers, bricklayers, and carpenters all demonstrate solidarity with the steelworkers in the wake of the Battle of Homestead and are present in A&SC collections.

In addition to collections of material contemporaneous to the strike, the A&SC also contains records that reflect the history and memory of the conflict and the Homestead Steelworks. The Steffi Domike Papers include her research, scripts, and footage for her 1993 film The River Ran Red. Additionally, the collection of William Gaughan, an employee at the Homestead Works from 1947 to 1983, contains articles, reports, photographs, and other materials pertaining to the history and evolution of the steel mill.

Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area

The Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation (ROS) preserves records and artifacts that reflect the rich legacy of the “culture of steel.” Central to these holdings are primary documents, artifacts, photographs, ephemera, manuscripts, books, newspapers and periodicals that relate directly to the 1892 Homestead Lockout and Strike. In addition to the aforementioned holdings, ROS owns and manages the only two extant physical structures that were central to the events of the time: the original Homestead Works Pump House and the Bost Building, which served as headquarters for the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers. Additionally, Rivers of Steel also oversees The Carrie Furnace, which produced iron for the Homestead Works from 1907 to 1978.