History & Resources

We were wondering what life was like in Pittsburgh during the Great Depression—what it would be like to survive penniless on the streets of a city that once swirled in smog, where the streetlamps stayed lit and a newspaper cost three cents. We wondered what it felt like to live in those years before World War II, where Hitler’s brand of evil was a whisper in our own country, and we wondered who was listening and who would care.

So…we started with a map.

authors’ collection

And a photo.

Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

And then we pored over thousands of details online of which here are a tiny sampling:

Here’s a wonderful documentary to watch from Ken Burns:

Here’s a sampling of the books we read

(for Episode 1 only—stay tuned for the next episode’s list!)

And here’s what you might like to read:


we wondered about imagination, and invention by necessity, and how marvelous things can be created from waste (please recycle!) However, we cannot vouch for the ingredients of the Flash. And since certain evil tycoons are eager to get their hands on it, perhaps it’s better that Professor Harold Carter keeps his secret.