Beginning with an archival research note collection and a published book, the project director envisioned an interactive way for scholars and others to understand the research process of James D. Van Trump (1908-1995), co-founder of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF). The process began with interest and initiative—the project director submitted a detailed proposal to PHLF asking for funding, and began work in the autumn of 2011.
James Van Trump, as an important 20th century Pittsburgher, is of interest to scholars and those who have a passion for history and architecture. His research notes were digitized and arranged into a keyword-searchable database and cross-referenced with multiple subject keywords. This painstaking process allows researchers to adapt the database for their own research use while getting a taste of Jamie’s research methods.
The project staff scanned Life and Architecture in Pittsburgh into a .PDF file and uploaded it to the website, providing access to an important work of Pittsburgh architectural history. When these two components are viewed together, it is apparent that the essays are made up of information contained in the note card database
Edward T. Schwab, a graduate of Duquesne University’s Public History master’s program, conceived of this project while an intern at PHLF in 2011. A native of Philadelphia, Edward became fascinated by Pittsburgh history and architecture after reading Van Trump’s essays.