Summary Information
Title: Hungarian Nationality Room Committee Collection
Collection Number: UA.40.11
Creator: University of Pittsburgh. Nationality Rooms Program. Hungarian Nationality Room Committee.

Collection Dates: Bulk, 1926-1929
Collection Dates: 1926-1964
Extent: 1.5 linear feet (3 boxes)

Language: English

The material in this collection is primarily English with some corrrespondence in Hungarian.

The records of the Committee for the Hungarian Nationality Classroom, 1926-1964, include correspondence and financial statements surrounding the establishment of the Hungarian Classroom in the Nationality Rooms Program in the Cathedral of Learning. The records include architectural drawings, memos, and minutes as well as publicity material highlighting events preceding and succeeding the opening of the classroom.

ULS Archives Service Center
University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
Date Published:

September 2012

Finding aid prepared by Jasmin Simmons.

The Committee for the Hungarian Nationality Classroom was established to coordinate the development of the Hungarian Classroom in the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. Its activities were formalized in 1928 although fundraising efforts were documented from 1926. Their work emanated from the Hungarian communities within Pittsburgh and around the U.S. gathering contributions from 57 churches and societies and 455 individuals.

The chairman of the committee was Dr. Samuel Charles Gomory, a physician from McKeesport, Pa. He worked closely with Ruth Crawford Mitchell, director of the Nationality Rooms Program, who served as the University of Pittsburgh’s representative. The two other substantive posts were held by George Zimmerman, treasurer, and Mrs. Joseph Urbán, secretary. The membership was divided among several smaller committees, such as advisory, entertainment, university, financial, supervisory, and publicity, and was well coordinated by other committee members. Later on, subcommittees were organized to assist with the group’s social activities. Some of these activities included benefit concerts with performances by the Budapest University Chorus and the Hungarian violinist, Francis Arányi. The information on many events hosted by the committee was regularly published in Hungarian and American newspapers. The activities of the committee culminated in the dedication of the Hungarian Classroom on September 29, 1939.

The room represents the history, literature, and art of Hungary. The paprika-red wooden ceiling, along with the cabinet doors, were painted with folk motifs of birds and trees, and inscribed between the ceiling and the wall is the first stanza from the Hungarian National Anthem, the Hymnus. Above the blackboard is a carved coat of arms of the University of Buda, founded in 1388, and constructed in the wall is a cabinet exhibiting Hungarian porcelains, Hereundi and Zsolnai, as well as needlework and weaving. Every element of the room, the carvings on doors, the tulip chest and the student armchairs, celebrate Hungarian social life and custom. The right window bears the portraits of Liszt, the composer; Petofi, the poet; and Muncasy, the artist. The rear window portrays the story of the mythical founding of Hungary when King Nimrod’s sons, Hunor and Magor, pursued a white stag from the east to the fertile Danube plain.

Collection Scope and Content Notes

The records of the Committee for the Hungarian Nationality Classroom show the committee’s role in promoting the cultural, intellectual, and academic heritage of Hungary. The records are in the form of correspondence, architectural drawings, photographs, and memorabilia of social events.

Much of the correspondence deals with information sent to members of the committee, Ruth Crawford Mitchell, Chancellor John G. Bowman, and Dénes Györgyi, the Budapest architect and professor in the National Hungarian Art School selected to design the classroom. Some of the records also highlight input made by the Hungarian government and instructions sent by the University of Pittsburgh detailing responsibilities in organizing a local committee. Other records detail the design of the classroom and the assistance given by Hungarians in Budapest and the United States towards its development.


The collection is arranged into seven series, and then chronologically from earliest to latest. Further details are represented at the series level within the scope and content notes.

Series І. General Correspondence, 1927-1953

Series ІІ. Architectural Records, 1929-1938

Series ІІІ. Monthly Meeting Minutes, 1936-1939

Series ІV. Running Memos, 1927-1953

Series V. Finance, 1927-1957

Series VІ. Publicity Material, 1926-1955

Series VІІ. Photographs, 1926-1939

Subject Terms

  • Classrooms -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Hungarian Americans -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Universities and colleges -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh

Corporate Names
  • Hungarian Classroom (Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, Pa.)..
  • Nationality Rooms (Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • University of Pittsburgh. Nationality Rooms Program. Hungarian Nationality Room Committee.
  • University of Pittsburgh. Nationality Rooms Program.

Personal Names
  • Gomory, Samuel Charles, 1893-
  • Györgyi, Dénes, 1886-1961

  • Architectural drawings (Visual works)
  • Clippings (Information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Financial records
  • Minutes
  • Photographs

  • University of Pittsburgh

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information:

The collection was transferred to the University Archives by the Nationality Rooms Program Director.

Preferred Citation:

Hungarian Nationality Room Committee Collection, 1926-1964, UA.40.11, University Archives, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Jasmin Simmons in March of 2006 and updated for entering into Archivists' Toolkit by Marianne Kasica in June of 2012.


The University of Pittsburgh holds the property rights to the material in this collection, but the copyright may still be held by the original creator/author. Researchers are therefore advised to follow the regulations set forth in the U.S. Copyright Code when publishing, quoting, or reproducing material from this collection without the consent of the creator/author or that go beyond what is allowed by fair use.

Separated Material:
Oversized architectural drawings have been encapsulated and stored in Flat File Cabinet 8.

Collection Inventory

Series I. General Correspondence, 1927-1941, 1953

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains some detailed letters to and by Ruth Crawford Mitchell, Dr. Samuel C. Gomory, Chancellor John G. Bowman, and Dénes Györgyi. The letters cover design details, visits, fundraising efforts, and administrative information. A few pieces of correspondence relate to the Hungarian government’s sponsorship of the awards for the design of the Nationality Room. Some of the letters are written in Hungarian and a few are translated into English.

Box 1
Folder 1-15 Correspondence, 1927-1941
Folder 16 Hungarian Independence Day Program, 1953

Series II. Architectural Records

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains information sent to and by the Architect Dénes Györgyi from Budapest, Hungary, relating to the estimates and plans for the classroom. The plans include one blue print and five drawings by him numbering 50-54, 57. The plans relate to the design of the furniture, ceiling panel, blackboard wall, tapestry wall, entrance wall and window wall. There are also two blueprints by the Planning Department, University of Pittsburgh; these refer to the field measurements and plans of elevation.

Folder 17-25 Corrrespondence, 1929-1938
Folder 26 Drawings
Folder 25a Oversized Drawings

9 Drawings

Series III. Monthly Meeting Minutes, 1936-1939

Scope and Content Notes:

To manage the business of the committee, monthly meetings were held on the 3rd Friday of each month. This correspondence details the administrative work of the committee.

Series IV. Nationality Room Advisor Memos, 1927-1940

Series V. Finance, 1927, 1929-1939

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains financial statements detailing all expenditures in the construction and design of the classroom. There is also a list of donors and donations from churches, societies and associations both in Hungary and in the United States.

Folder 20-31 Financial Statements, 1927, 1929-1939
Folder 32 Donors and Donations, 1926-1957

Series VI. Publicity Records

Scope and Content Notes:

These records represent the committee’s efforts to promote the culture of Hungary. There are samples of memorabilia from concerts and balls as well as call cards, flyers, programs, posters, and certificates. The newspaper clippings feature articles from Hungary and United States. Many articles were taken from this selection of newspapers, Hungarian Weekly, Pitt News, Pitt Weekly, Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph and Bethlehem Hungarian News but not limited to them. The clippings relate the political and social arena in Budapest and Pittsburgh covering social protests and cultural events as well as tracing the progress of the construction of the classroom.

Folder 33-34 Publicity material, 1926-1955
Folder 35-38 Newspaper clippings, 1928-1953

Series VI. Photographs, 1926-1939

Scope and Content Notes:

There are 68 photographs which capture the décor of the Hungarian Nationality Room including art on the windows and walls and the general arrangement within the classroom. The photographs also reflect visitors to the room, significant persons on the committee, and scenes from the official opening. Many of the photographs are oversized and are therefore stored in an archival box between acid free sheets. The box also contains some oversize certificates.