Overview of the Six Volumes of the Survey

The Pittsburg Survey, Volume I
Women and the Trades

Photo: Stogie Factory Women
Stogie Factory Women (volume 1)

Volume I of the survey, headed by Elizabeth Beardsley Butler, examined the livelihood of Pittsburgh’s women workers.  A 1905 graduate of Barnard College, Butler became a sociologist focusing on women and child laborers.  In this volume of the study, she analyzed the working women, and her analysis pointed to the horrible living conditions at home and in the workplace.  Ironically, while on this survey, Butler contracted tuberculosis, of which she died in 1911.

The Pittsburgh Survey, Volume II
Work Accidents and the Law

Photo: Crystal Eastman
Crystal Eastman

Volume II of the survey related to the work injuries and the legal recompense that workers were offered.  Compiled by Crystal Eastman, a New York University educated lawyer, suffragist, and future founder of the American Civil Liberties Union, charted and illustrated a rise in work injuries in the steel industry.  Also, the survey pointed out that workers had little form of compensation for their injuries, especially in the steel manufactory.  Her work also sponsored the first workers’ compensation law in the nation.

The Pittsburgh Survey, Volume III
The Steel Workers

Photo: John Commons
John Commons (volume 3)

Volume III, arguably the most comprehensive volume of the series, focused on the steel workers of Pittsburgh.  The compiler, John A. Fitch, a University of Wisconsin graduate student, followed professor John R. Commons when the latter was invited to help with the survey. Fitch interviewed numbers of steel workers about their lives and work.  Photographer Lewis Hines and artist Joseph Stella complimented his work with images of these individuals, some of the best depictions of life in the industry available.

Excerpts from Volume 3

The Pittsburgh Survey, Volume IV
Homestead: The Houses of a Mill Town

Photo: Pittsburgh Alley
Pittsburgh Alley (volume 5)

Volume IV, produced by Margaret F. Byington, studied the actual lives of people in the Homestead Mill town.  The first half of the study focused on the English speaking population of the town, and the second on the “slavs” as Byington referred to them.  One of her most striking sections is titled “On $1.65 a day” and describes the livelihood of an entire family with only that amount to spend per day.  Included are a number of wonderful photographs of the village itself.

Excerpts from Volume 4

The Pittsburgh Survey, Volume V and VI
The Pittsburgh District Civic Frontage
Wage Earning Pittsburgh

Photo: Steelworker
Steelworker (volume 5)

These two volumes, compiled by Paul Kellogg, the head of the survey, were a collection of essays on the city.  Complete with numerous photographs, both pieces fleshed out the remainder of the work, demonstrating the environmental effect of the steel industry as well as the overall image of the working man.  Kellogg, an eminent social reformer, later headed the American Foreign Policy Association, and led an effort in 1915 alongside Henry Ford to end the First World War.  He spent the remainder of his life trying to aid the underprivileged and tell their story as he had done in The Pittsburgh Survey.

Excerpts from Volume 6