In honor of the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I, the local British Heritage group Britsburgh displayed objects housed in the Archive at the Heinz History Center. There were scrapbooks and photographs from a variety of individuals and organizations, including a Captain Paul Howe from Beaver County, and even one from General John J. Pershing himself. I asked the curator how they had come into possession of that one, and she said she would have to get back to me. For his part, Howe had collected snippets from newspapers, his decommissioning papers, wallet-sized photographs, and menus from various officer dinners he attended in France. On the poppy strewn tables, there were also maps, a duty roster, and a little booklet of cartoons used to sell Liberty Bonds by a bank. The glass-enclosed reading room, boxes of documents, and gloves for handling them made me seriously nostalgic for the long quiet hours I have spent tracking down a hunch or curiously pondering over the remains of someone else's life.
Editor's Note: You know what else is so Pittsburgh? The Pirates Parrot and the St. Paul summer organ series.