Melvin Seidenberg Photographs

What's online?

The Melvin Seidenberg online photograph collection contains selected images documenting Pittsburgh neighborhoods, redevelopment projects, and local businesses and organizations. A significant portion of these images are photographs collected by Seidenberg that document the activities of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh and the Irene Kaufmann Settlement.

What's in the entire collection?

The Melvin Seidenberg Photographs contain photographic prints, negatives, and transparencies collected by Seidenberg from various sources throughout his career. The images document Pittsburgh neighborhoods, redevelopment projects, local businesses and organizations, regional transportation, and notable buildings. Many of the images document the activities of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, the Irene Kaufmann Settlement, as well as other local organizations.

About Melvin Seidenberg

Melvin (Mel) Seidenberg was a reporter and writer who held positions at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA), and the Port Authority of Allegheny County. Born in 1915 to Polish and Russian Jewish immigrants in Pueblo, Colorado, Seidenberg attended the University of Oklahoma for two years and worked for a newspaper in Oklahoma before returning to Pueblo in 1936. After his return, he was employed as a reporter and assistant sports editor for the Pueblo Chieftain. In 1942, Seidenberg enlisted in the United States Navy. He was stationed at Pearl Harbor as a medical orderly and transferred to Washington D.C., during the last year of the war. There he wrote news releases and marine combat correspondence for the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. It was during that time he met his future wife Elenore Ullman. They were married in 1945. They later had three children: Daniel in 1952, Willa in 1956, and Julie in 1961.

In 1946, Seidenberg was hired by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for general assignments and to cover real estate and urban affairs. During this time, Pittsburgh became the first major city to undertake a modern urban-renewal program. A large section of downtown was demolished and converted into parks, office buildings, and a sports arena. Seidenberg chronicled many facets of the renewal program.

While on the editorial staff for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Seidenberg co-edited A Pittsburgh Album 1758-1958: Two Hundred Years of Memories in Pictures and Text with Roy Stryker. He was credited with giving the Fort Duquesne Bridge its famous nickname, The Bridge to Nowhere. Seidenberg also created a chronology of the two-hundred-year history of Pittsburgh for Stefan Lorant's book Pittsburgh: The Story of an American City, published in 1964.

Seidenberg left the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1962 and worked for the URA. He set up a department of community affairs within the URA and wrote speeches, statements, articles, brochures, etc., for promoting URA projects and creating liaisons with neighborhoods. Seidenberg had an interest in housing and housing discrimination in area neighborhoods and wrote about housing inequalities. He also covered community affairs and other social issues, including social planning and social problems in urban renewal.

Around 1970, Seidenberg left the URA and took a position writing for the Port Authority of Allegheny County. After his retirement in 1985, Seidenberg continued to do some work for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was part of the statistics crew for approximately fifteen years. Both Seidenberg and his wife were active and supporters of many groups in Pittsburgh including the League of Women Voters, Thomas Merton Center, and WDUQ public radio. He volunteered and continued to do some writing and consulting for organizations until his death in 2003.

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