Carnegie

Gilechrist, Warhola, Tanner, Thunhurst, Pellegrini, Chosky, Keidan, Hoerth

Carlton “Cookie” Gilchrist, 75 Gilchrist was a 250-pound running back, considered by many to be the greatest ever to play pro football. The Brackenridge native dominated defenses in the Canadian Football League and later in the American Football League, where he was a four-time Pro Bowl selection.He also was an early civil rights crusader, leading …

Gilechrist, Warhola, Tanner, Thunhurst, Pellegrini, Chosky, Keidan, Hoerth Read More »

An Artrageous Centennial

Centennials don’t happen every day. For the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh it is lasting a good year and then some. In 2008 Vicky Clark curated an exhibition at The Carnegie Museum of Art, “The Popular Salon of the People,” which surveyed the history of the AAP’s Annual Exhibition and showed just how good and diverse …

An Artrageous Centennial Read More »

Underlying Problems/Solutions

The impact of population decline was very much in the news at the end of last year, a reminder that, for all the accolades at the recent G-20 Summit about Pittsburgh having moved beyond its industrial past, painful choices still face the region, particularly its local governments and major service institutions. I have in mind …

Underlying Problems/Solutions Read More »

Smilin’ Charlie Schwab

The Christmas season was in full flush Dec. 12 1900 at the University Club in New York, where the city’s financial and industrial elite gathered to honor Charles Michael Schwab, the president of Carnegie Steel. A youthful 38, Schwab already had held the position for three years. Attendees included railroaders William Vanderbilt, Chauncey Depew and …

Smilin’ Charlie Schwab Read More »

I, Teacher

Early in Isaac Asimov’s speculative fiction classic “I, Robot,” a little girl named Gloria becomes more attached to a robot named Robbie than to her own parents. Originally wary of Robbie, Gloria’s parents grow to love and respect the tin man after it saves their little munchkin’s life by sweeping her away from the path …

I, Teacher Read More »

Collected Treasures

When Ailsa Mellon Bruce died in 1969, she left behind a collection of fine and decorative arts that was as extraordinary as it was extensive. The daughter of U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon and sister of the equally noted collector Paul Mellon, she had spent much of her life and considerable fortune amassing …

Collected Treasures Read More »

To Do List … Pittsburgh

From Rafael Viñoly’s green Convention Center, head to Grant Street, the traditional seat of Pittsburgh government and corporate power. You’ll see the enormous U.S. Steel building, now with UPMC on top. U.S. Steel remains the largest tenant, but the University of Pittsburgh Medical  Center is the region’s biggest employer. On the right is the Gulf Tower, former …

To Do List … Pittsburgh Read More »

Henry Clay Frick: Blood Pact

Among the great fortunes of Pittsburgh’s Golden Age (1870–1910), that of Henry Clay Frick stands third, bested only by Andrew Carnegie and the Mellons. But the extraordinary aspect of the Frick fortune was not its size. Carnegie, Heinz, Mellon and Westinghouse were all entrepreneurs who exercised ultimate control in their operations. Frick started as an …

Henry Clay Frick: Blood Pact Read More »

A Very Short History of Pittsburgh

Geography comes first. Close upon the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, one gets a sense of westward flowing waters, but a map of Western Pennsylvania shows the Allegheny flowing south and the Monongahela north, almost at right angles to the Ohio. A fourth river, the Potomac, comes into play by bringing the coast …

A Very Short History of Pittsburgh Read More »

The gift of opportunity

In October, one of Pittsburgh’s children is coming home and throwing a big party. That child is the Carnegie Corp. of New York and the “party” is a two-day celebration of the most recent winners of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy. The biennial event, the Nobel Prize of philanthropy, has honored the titans of the …

The gift of opportunity Read More »

A Frame to Conjure With

A few years ago, if you had the good fortune to work as a porter at one of the major auction houses in New York or London, you might have had the greater good fortune to be handed a picture frame, discarded by one of the purchasers of the painting. It was one of the …

A Frame to Conjure With Read More »

Andrew Carnegie: The Black and the white

Andrew Carnegie was America’s first great industrialist, the nation’s quintessential philanthropist, and, closer to home, Pittsburgh’s favorite son. He was also, however, a man of startling ethical and moral contrasts, and those paradoxes threaten his reputation. Was his bountiful philanthropy based upon purely beatific instincts or was it, to paraphrase Clausewitz, simply self-promotion “by other …

Andrew Carnegie: The Black and the white Read More »

Steel City vs. Silicon Valley

In 1890, when my great-grandfather returned from San Francisco to take over the family farm on Shady Side’s Ellsworth Avenue, the value of Allegheny County real estate ranked sixth in the country. With its river connections, access to coal and access to Wall Street, Pittsburgh was becoming America’s most vital manufacturing center. Entrepreneurs such as …

Steel City vs. Silicon Valley Read More »

From the Outside In

Pittsburgh has always left vivid impressions on the mind of the outsider. For some reason, however, visiting writers have been less kind to Pittsburgh than visiting artists. Over 20 years ago, flying to this city for the first time, I was reading a 1927 essay by H.L. Mencken, describing his view of Western Pennsylvania from …

From the Outside In Read More »

Andy’s Not the Only One

Sometimes when trying to assess the importance of any one artist, I am reduced to playing the auction trick. What’s it worth? People who have pooh-poohed Andy Warhol think twice when they hear one of his paintings sells for $14 million. It may be the wrong road to art appreciation, but in our glib, new …

Andy’s Not the Only One Read More »

Art Collector G. David Thompson

What might be described as the great collections built up by Pittsburghers — those of, say, Henry Clay Frick, Gertrude and Leo Stein, Duncan Phillips, Andrew and Paul Mellon respectively, and Walter Arensberg — are perhaps best understood as being financed by Pittsburgh. The actual collections were built up elsewhere. That is not true of …

Art Collector G. David Thompson Read More »

Hero worship

In his 1889 essay, “The Gospel of Wealth,” Andrew Carnegie gave what is considered to be the first public airing of the idea that the rich have a moral duty to return wealth to the community. That and his subsequent deeds are credited with giving rise to modern philanthropy. On the occasion of the first …

Hero worship Read More »

Top