Carnegie Mellon University Archives

Joseph-James Ahern's picture

By Julia Corrin, University Archivist

The Carnegie Mellon University Archives is home to more than 6000 feet of records and 100 years of CMU’s history.  Its mission is to document, preserve, and provide access to records documenting life at CMU and the contributions of its students and faculty.   In addition to the official records of the university, the archive holds student organization records, faculty and alumni papers, and campus publications.

Carnegie Mellon University was founded in 1900 by Andrew Carnegie as the Carnegie Technical Schools.  The school’s mission was to provide a practical education to working young men and women in Pittsburgh.  In 1967, Carnegie Tech merged with the Mellon Institute and became Carnegie Mellon University.  The collections held by the archive reflect the continuing strengths of the university – education in the arts and science.

The Carnegie Mellon School of Drama is the oldest professional drama program in the United States.  The archive holds the records of the program – including prompt books and photographs of almost every major projection staged at the school over the past 100 years.  It also holds the papers of many former faculty members and alumni, including William Ball, Sada Thompson, Bud Yorkin, Theodore Viehman, and Lawrence Carra.  The records of Scotch ‘n’ Soda - the student theater company – also reside in the archive.   Of particular interest in the drama collections are materials related to the first production of Godspell - which premiered at Carnegie Mellon as an MFA production - and an early version of Pippin, which was originally developed as a Scotch ‘n’ Soda production.

Of equal interest are the collections related to the history of computer science.  In addition the records of the School of Computer Science – one of the top computer science programs in the United States – the archive has the papers of Allen Newell, Joseph Traub, and Nobel Prize winner Herbert Simon.  The oral histories taken by Pamela McCorduck are of particular interest to researchers of the history of artificial intelligence.

Other major collections held by the Carnegie Mellon University Archive include the papers of Nobel Prize winner Clifford Shull, Senator H. John Heinz III, and Walter Van Dyke Bingham.  The archive also holds the records of the Mellon Institute, which was founded in 1913 as the Mellon Institute of Research at the University of Pittsburgh, but merged with Carnegie Tech in 1967.

The archive has made an effort to improve access to its holdings through digitization.  The papers of Herbert Simon, Allen Newell, William Cooper, Clifford Shull and Joseph Traub have been fully digitized and made available online.  Several major university publications, including the Tartan (the student newspaper) and the Carnegie Technical are also available online at

The University Archive is located on the 2nd floor of Hunt Library, 4909 Frew St, Pittsburgh, PA.  For more information on using the archive, please visit our website