Summary Information
Title: Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors Records
Collection Number: MSS 995
Creator: , Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors
Collection Dates: 1958-2003
Extent: 19 linear feet (17 boxes + O/S material)
The Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors (PCIV), which became known as GlobalPittsburgh in 2009, is a community-based non-profit organization founded in 1959. Its mission is to promote cultural, educational, and commercial ties between Western Pennsylvanians and other peoples of the world. The Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors Records consists of the administrative records such as reports, memos, meeting minutes, newsletters, correspondence, photographs and audiovisual material.


The material in this collection is in English.


Senator John Heinz History Center
Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania
1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222


This collection has been made accessible as part of an NHPRC-funded Basic Processing grant.
Date Published:

September 2013

The guide to this collection was written by Nick Hartley.


The Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors (PCIV), also known as GlobalPittsburgh, is a community-based non-profit organization founded in 1959. Its mission is to promote cultural, educational, and commercial ties between Western Pennsylvanians and other peoples of the world. The organization consists of a board of trustees and several staff members who enlist volunteers to work with international visitors to facilitate a smooth transition to life in the Pittsburgh region.

In the decade following WWII, there was a marked growth of government and private programs designed to bring foreign visitors to the United States. By 1959, the year PCIV was established, organizations and community centers for international visitors existed in more than half of the fifty largest cities in the nation. PCIV developed out of a proposal by the Office of Cultural and Educational Exchange of the University of Pittsburgh (OCEE). The OCEE advocated for the creation of a community organization that would coordinate planned hospitality, visits to industrial and cultural centers, as well as interviews and conferences for Pittsburgh’s international visitors. Such services had been previously lacking in the city.

An executive committee spearheaded by Shepherd Witman, the OCEE’s director, enlisted support for the organization from business, professional, and academic leaders in Pittsburgh. A professional staff was assembled consisting of an executive director, a program coordinator, a secretary and a volunteer coordinator, and together they recruited volunteers to act as guides, hosts, and office workers. Funding was primarily obtained through PCIV’s board of trustees, which was composed of representatives of business, education, government and civic organizations throughout Pittsburgh. Witman’s wife, Jeanne Witman, served as executive director of PCIV from its inception in 1959 until her retirement in 1971.

PCIV’s first program consisted of sightseeing tours for visitors and students who had been attracted to Pittsburgh by the excitement generated through the city’s first “Renaissance,” an urban renewal project that had been transforming Pittsburgh for over a decade. Other early efforts focused primarily on short-term visitors, such as foreign leaders, scholars and executives touring selected cities in the U.S. Many of these visitors were participants in the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). In 1961, PCIV became a member organization of the National Council for International Visitors (NCIV) and the designated liaison for the IVLP in Western Pennsylvania.

The number of foreign businessmen, doctors, scholars and students of Pittsburgh area campuses increased rapidly in the 1960s. The wives of these students and professionals were invited to participate in PCIV’s Overseas Wives Program, which primarily consisted of weekly gatherings for coffee and conversation with each other and with American volunteers. These “Coffee Mornings,” which began in 1967, provided an opportunity for international women from over 90 countries to share in solving problems of settling a family in a foreign country. While many subjects were discussed at these meetings, the customs of child rearing and of food preparation were particularly popular, and recipes from food tastings were collected in the PCIV International Cookbook.

Later programs, such as Business for Russia and Community Connections in the 1990s, matched international professionals with local businesses and organizations for presentations, discussions and tours of local businesses and industrial facilities. In 1998, PCIV published Understanding Pittsburgh: A Guide for International Visitors and Residents, which was intended to serve as an introduction to Pittsburgh by offering information on such topics as renting a house or an apartment, opening a bank account, obtaining medical care, inquiring about visas and resident status, and enrolling children in the local school system.

In 2009, PCIV became GlobalPittsburgh, which is designed to improve the Pittsburgh region’s global competitiveness by promoting the region, attracting international leaders, business executives and students, and introducing them to regional companies, educational institutions, leaders and organizations.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors Records consist of the administrative records, photographs and audiovisual material of the PCIV. The administrative records include reports, memos, meeting minutes, newsletters, and correspondence between staff, volunteers, visitors and affiliated organizations. The photographic and audiovisual material consists of photographs, slides, and VHS tapes that document private events between PCIV staff, volunteers and visitors, banquets and award ceremonies, the offices of PCIV, and visitors’ tours of Pittsburgh in the mid-1980s and throughout the 1990s.

The Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors Records are housed in 17 boxes and arranged into six series.

Series I. Administrative records, boxes 1-7 and box 17, 1958-2003

This series is comprised of administrative records pertaining to PCIV programming and communication between the organization, volunteers, visitors and other organizations affiliated with PCIV, particularly the National Council for International Visitors. The records in this series are primarily memos, reports, newsletters and correspondence to and from PCIV executive directors.

Box 1 contains reports, memos and newsletters, including documentation of a visit to Pittsburgh by Frol R. Kozlov, a Soviet politician, in 1958. Also included is the OECC’s 1959 proposal for a community organization for international visitors, the PCIV’s mission statement and by-laws (1965), Discovering Pittsburgh through Community Visits records, an edited draft of PCIV’s book, Understanding Pittsburgh (1998) and records pertaining to the "Chautauqua at Pitt" conference on U.S. and Soviet relations (1989).

Box 2 includes records that document PCIV volunteer responsibilities and opportunities, including office work. Also contained in this box are reports and project files, such as the “The Strategic Initiative for Pittsburgh’s Internationalization: The Expatriate Social Support Assessment Project” (1991) and an evaluative study of PCIV’s Continuing Host Program (1982). This box also consists of PCIV internal computer guides and manuals, including an office data processing guide (1963), a COSERV volunteer kit, a work-study resource manual (1984) and volunteer information contained on McBee data storage cards.

Box 3 consists of Board of Trustees meeting minutes (1961-1988), monthly and annual statistics (1959-1991). This box also includes PCIV chairmen files (1969-1972), executive files (1980-1981), and the files of Gail Shrott, Director of Programs (1995-2003).

Box 4 contains solicitations for support and letters of thanks (1985-1987), as well as the files of Dennis Unkovic, PCIV president from 1989 to 1993.

Box 5 includes correspondence, memos, grant applications, and reports relating to the activities of PCIV (1971-1996). This box also contains records on the Pittsburgh International Initiative (1990-1993).

Box 6 consists of PCIV newsletters (1960-1999) as well as fundraising and financial papers (1973-1995).

Box 7 contains COSERV newsletters (1971-1977), NCIV newsletters (1978 to 1992), and conference materials (1966-1987). Also included are assorted administrative and office files (1960s-2000), including ads, brochures, speeches, informational travel guides, intern files, and the PCIV “Passport to Pittsburgh” game.

Box 17 contains publicity records, including newspaper clippings and copies of Time and Newsweek featuring PCIV ads from the early 1970s.

Series II. Program records, boxes 8-11, 1969-2000

This subseries is comprised of records such as correspondence, memos, reports, historical files, and other organizational information that documents various programs undertaken by PCIV. Featured prominently in this subseries are the following programs: Students for International Awareness (SIA), the Wives’ Program, the Business for Russia Program, the Community Connections Program, the Mid-Winter Community Seminar, and the Jefferson Fellows Mentor Program.

Box 8 includes records such as correspondence, press releases, contact information and itineraries, volunteer applications and organizational information related to Students for International Awareness (SIA). SIA was a volunteer program coordinated by PCIV. In addition, this box also contains materials relating to the Friendship Exchange Conference (1982-1985).

Box 9 contains records pertaining to SIA educational programs conducted at local schools. This box also contains historical files, newsletters (1969-1985), correspondence, reports, a cookbook draft, and other administrative records that document the PCIV’s Wives’ Program.

Box 10 consists of correspondence, memos, reports, and organizational information relating to various PCIV programs, particularly the Business for Russia program (1993-1995), the Community Connections program, cycles 1-3 (1996-1997, 1999-2000), the Mid-Winter Community Seminar (1991-1993), and the Jefferson Fellows Mentor Program (1993).

Box 11 includes records pertaining to the United States Information Agency (USIA) program in addition to a series of USIA reports and informational booklets published in the 1990s. Also included are records such as correspondence, press releases, contact information, and itineraries that document the Bridge Awards Program (1993-1994), the Aspect Korea Program (1992-1994), and other assorted PCIV programs.

Series III. Awards and Recognition, box 12, 1968-2001

This series consists of awards, certificates of appreciation and local government proclamations honoring PCIV and its volunteers. The series ranges in date from 1968, when the PCIV was awarded the Department of State Agency for International Development Certificate of Cooperation, to 2001, when Pittsburgh City Council issued a proclamation that December 11, 2001 would be known as “Open World Day.”

Series IV. Audiovisual Material, box 12, 1990-1999

This series consists of eight VHS tapes featuring award ceremonies, banquets and informational programs for international visitors and students, such as “Japanese Scenes: Intro to Japan for Visitors” (undated) and “Students for International Awareness: Tales from Around the World” (1995). The series also includes a compact disc entitled “The Power of PCIV: Resource List.”

Series V. Photographs and Slides, boxes 13-17, 1969-2001

This series consists of photograph albums, loose photographs, color slides and negatives that document a wide range of PCIV activities, including award ceremonies, banquets, seminars, conferences and PCIV programs. The photo albums primarily document PCIV programs, particularly its Community Connections program, which matched international professionals with local businesses and organizations. One album and several sheets of photographic slides document the Foreign Wives’ Program, which provided outreach and social activities for the wives and families of long-term international visitors. Loose photographs and slides primarily feature images of visitors and volunteers at PCIV’s office at the University of Pittsburgh and at social events during the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s.

Box 13 contains photo albums documenting the Foreign Wives program (1969), the Business for Russia program (1994), an NCIV national meeting (2001), and cycles 11-14 of the Community Connections program (1999-2000). In addition, this box also includes photographs of assorted PCIV events and programs (ca1960s-1990s).

Box 14 contains Community Connections photo albums (1999-2001) and a photo collage of the 1991 Mid-Winter Community Seminar.

Box 15 contains envelopes of loose photographs and negatives from cycles 1- 19 of the Community Connections program, c. 1995-2001.

Box 16 contains envelopes of loose photographs and negatives chiefly featuring staff, visitors and volunteers from the years 1985 and 1995.

Box 17 contains photographic slides from an “International Dinner” event (1985-1986), the Wives program (1985-1989), PCIV’s 25th anniversary dinner (1985) and an undated trip to Singapore.

Series V. Oversized Material, shelf, 1960-2001

This series consists of oversized material relating to PCIV, including two scrapbooks, three enlarged screenshots of the Global Pittsburgh website, several copies of a PCIV poster, and official proclamations from Pittsburgh City Council, which welcomes the city of Donets’k, Ukraine to the family of Pittsburgh Sister Cities, and from President George Bush, which declares the month of September, 1990 to be “International Visitors’ Month.” The scrapbooks consist of newspaper clippings concerning PCIV and Pittsburgh’s international relations between the years 1960 and 1969.


The Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors Records are housed in 17 boxes and arranged in six series: Administrative Records, Program Records, Awards and Recognition, Audiovisual Material, Photographs and Slides, and Oversized Material.

Controlled Access Terms
Personal Names
  • Shrott, Gail
  • Witman, Shepherd
  • Witman, Jeanne
Corporate Names
  • Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors
  • GlobalPittsburgh
  • National Council for International Visitors
  • Community service--Pennsylvania--Pittsburgh Awards and recognition
  • Community organization--Pennsylvania--Pittsburgh.
  • Oakland (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Access and Use
Access Restrictions:


Aquisition Information:

Gift from Gail Shrott in 2003.

Archives accession # 2003.0236

Preferred Citation:

Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors Records, 1958-2003, MSS 995 , Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center

Processing Information:

Preliminary processing by Nick Hartley on 09/26/2013.


Property rights reside with the Senator John Heinz History Center. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the Library and Archives of the Senator John Heinz History Center.

Separated Material:
Two books published by PCIV have been separated to the library: Understanding Pittsburgh: A Guide for International Visitors and Residents (1998) and PCIV International Cookbook (undated, circa 1970).