Author Archives: Alex J. Toner

About Alex J. Toner

I’ve been a project archivist in the Detre Library and Archives since 2011, and started in the department in 2010 as a graduate assistant. Our project is aimed at reducing our archival backlog over the course of two years utilizing MPLP-based strategies. I’m tasked (among other things) with processing collections, creating access documents, and coordinating graduate interns. I earned my MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011, and received a BA in History from Kent State University. Contact me at

The Process of Processing in the Detre Library and Archives

One of the primary responsibilities of an archivist is to ensure accessibility to the collections that their organization acquires and preserves. This involves archival processing, or, organizing and arranging materials physically while creating descriptive guides providing context to the content. In October … Continue reading

Posted in Hidden collections | 3 Comments

Electing Leonard C. Staisey

Leonard Staisey in 1967 was no stranger to election campaigns. Prior to that year Staisey had been elected to the City of Duquesne Board of Education in 1949, served 2-terms in the Pennsylvania State Senate between 1960 and 1966, and … Continue reading

Posted in 1968, Business and Industry, Government, Hidden collections, Urban Redevelopment | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Evans Family: A Pittsburgh Social Set

Before paparazzi, People magazine, and the Internet, Pittsburghers still got their fix of celebrity news. Miss Evelyn F. Evans, granddaughter of the co-founder of the Macbeth-Evans Glass Company, and other “society girls” were often featured in publications like the Bulletin Index and the Pittsburgh … Continue reading

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William J. Coyne Papers

The Detre Library and Archives is home to records pertaining to a number of local politicians, including Mayor Thomas J. Murphy,  Pennsylvania State Representative Andrew T. Fenrich, and Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll. Recently added to that list are the … Continue reading

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Pittsburgh Blind Association

If you used a broom to sweep your Pittsburgh home during the 20th century, there is a chance it was made by the blind and visually impaired men and women of the Pittsburgh Blind Association (PBA). For nearly a century, … Continue reading

Posted in Business and Industry, Hidden collections, Social Services | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

A True Performer: the Harry Albacker Papers and Photographs

Harry Albacker was born on April 20, 1925, although he often claimed his birth date was October 31, 1926, the date of Harry Houdini’s death. Such was the lure of magic to the young boy, who at age 11 decided … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Hidden collections | Tagged | 6 Comments

The Fuchs Family Papers and Photographs

During the 1930s and 1940s, Mary and Louis Fuchs ran the Frick Park Confectionery and the adjoining Mary’s Tea Room on Reynolds Street in Point Breeze. The Tea Room was a popular hangout for locals, who would congregate over tea, … Continue reading

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