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Mellon Institute of Industrial Research Photograph Collection

Identifier: 0000-0014


This collection contains photographs and negatives from the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research, an independent non-profit industrial research firm that was established in 1913 and merged with Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1967 to form Carnegie Mellon University. The collection consists of images of the scientists and administrative staff, the laboratories and equipment, social events and clubs, and interior and exterior images of the buildings, as well as many other miscellaneous imagery.


  • 1915 - 1967 Bulk, 1920-1965


Biographical / Historical

The Mellon Institute of Industrial Research was the first major research institute in the United States, developed as an independent agent to resolve outsourced commercial industry problems. It was born of a 1909 meeting between Andrew Mellon and Professor Robert Kennedy Duncan. Duncan's ideas about science and industry inspired Mellon, and he invited Duncan to Pittsburgh to develop the 'Mellon Institute and School of Specific Industries' as a department attached to the University of Pittsburgh, Andrew Mellon's Alma mater. The Institute provided for specific industry research requests, known as fellowships, which could be short term or last for years, and provided solutions for problems in industries ranging from food production to insecticide. The department flourished and in 1928 the Institute was detached from the University to stand alone as the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research; land was almost immediately purchased to build the Institute's famous colonnaded home on Fifth and Bellefield.[1] As commercial industry over time moved toward an in-house research & development model, the Mellon Insitute's original mission became more and more obsolete, and it began to resemble, in Ludwig Schaefer's words, "a university...without students."[2] In 1967 the Carnegie Institute of Technology was merged with the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research to create Carnegie-Mellon University. The merger occurred with Carnegie Tech's move to University status in mind, and the Mellon Institute brought with it a strong foundation in applied and basic scientific research.

Sources: [1] Fenton, Edwin, Carnegie Mellon 1900-2000: A Centennial History, (Pittsburgh: Carnegie Mellon UP, 2000), 138-146 [2] Schaefer, Ludwig F., Evolution of a National Research University: 1965-1990 The Stever Administration and the Cyert Years at Carnegie Mellon, (Pittsburgh: Carnegie Mellon UP, 1992), 10.


41 Linear feet (41 boxes, plus several drawers of negatives and glass slides)



Mellon Institute of Industrial Research Photograph Collection
Tara Goe, August 2010; Emily Davis February, 2020
August, 2010; updated in February 2020
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Repository Details

Part of the Carnegie Mellon University Archives Repository

4909 Frew St
Pittsburgh PA 15213
(412) 268-5021