Summary Information
Title: Russell H. Heffley Photographs
Collection Number: AIS.2009.05
Creator: Heffley, Russell H.

Collection Dates: 1924- ca. 1950s
Extent: 648.0 items (10 boxes)

Language: English

The images in this collection represent the industrial history of Johnstown, Pa. Featured in this collection are interior and exterior mining views, advertising photographs for area businesses, and views of the people and the city of Johnstown at its peak as a steel town during the mid- twentieth century. Digital reproductions of the collection are available online.

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

September 2009

Finding aid prepared by Renee Ziemann.
Revision Description:
October 2009:
Miriam Meislik


Russell H. Heffley was born on Sept. 22, 1897 to Samuel A. and Sarah (Homer) Heffley in Johnstown, Pa. As a young man, Heffley was a self-employed photographer. During World War I, he enlisted in the Army Air Force serving as a first class sergeant in aviation. He was stationed at Kelly Field, Texas, and later at Payne Field, Mississippi. After returning home, Heffley became part of Morton and Heffley, a photography studio. He became the sole owner of the studio in 1924. He practiced as an independent commercial photographer, forming Russell H. Heffley Commercial Photography, located at 140 Market Street in Johnstown. In the mid-1950's, he formed the Heffley Studio Corp. Heffley was married to Catherine Seigh in 1920 and had six children, Russell H., Jr. and Dorothy C., Paul W., Kenneth S. Phyllis, and Joanne E. Over the course of Heffley's career his clients would include Swank Hardware Company and the Bethlehem Steel Company among many others.

Collection Scope and Content Notes

The Russell H. Heffley Photographs consists of 648 images: 313 black and white negatives (6.5" x 8.5" and 8"x10"), 67 black and white prints (8"x10"), and two bound albums containing 268 black and white prints (8"x10"). All of the photographs were taken in or around Johnstown, Pa., and feature images of the downtown area during the industrial peak from the 1920s until the 1950s. These images include views documenting city terrain, street scenes, prominent buildings, churches, and several interior prints of the Johnstown High School featuring students at work. Also presented are images taken immediately after the Johnstown flood of 1936.

Also included are industrial images from several coal mines in Cambria and Somerset counties, photographs of automobiles from the 1920s, and images of unique billboard advertisements.


Series I. Negatives, 1927-1950s

Series II. Prints, 1927-1950s

Series III. Photograph Albums, 1926-1927

Subject Terms

  • Automobiles -- Pennsylvania -- Cambria County
  • Billboards -- Pennsylvania -- Cambria County
  • Coal mines and mining -- Pennsylvania -- Cambria County
  • Coal mines and mining -- Pennsylvania -- Somerset County
  • Photographers

Corporate Names
  • Bethlehem Steel Company.
  • Glosser Brothers Department Store.

Personal Names
  • Heffley, Russell H.

  • Cambria County (Pa.)
  • Johnstown (cambria County, Pa.) -- History
  • Johnstown (Cambria County, Pa.) -- Pictorial works
  • Somerset County (Pa.)

  • Black-and-white negatives
  • Black-and-white prints (Photographs)
  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs

  • Business and Industry

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information:

Gift of Ken Heffley in July 2009.

Alternate Format:

Digital reproductions of the collection are available electronically at

Preferred Citation:

Russell H. Heffley Photographs, 1926-1950s, AIS.2009.05, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Renee Ziemann in August 2009.


The University of Pittsburgh holds all the rights to the material in this collection. For information about permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the Archives Service Center.


  • Crosley Graham, Martha A., “Pennsylvania Biography Project, Cambria County.”

Collection Inventory

Series I. Negatives, 1927-1950s

Subseries 1. Johnstown

Scope and Content Notes:

The images in this subseries document Johnstown and the surrounding area during its peak as a steel town from the 1920s to the 1930s. Photographs also document the aftermath of the 1936 flood.

Box 1-4
Item 1-202, Johnstown ((201 sheet film negatives))

Subseries 2. Mining

Scope and Content Notes:

The images in this subseries represent the many industrial aspects of mining during the mid-twentieth century. Taken from coal mines and mine yards, the photographs include views of mine tipples, miners, mine equipment, and mining locations.

Box 5-7
Item 203-313, Mining ((110 sheet film negatives))

Series II. Prints, 1926-1950s

Subseries 1. Johnstown 1926 - ca. 1950s

Scope and Content Notes:

The images in this subseries document Johnstown and the surrounding area. Several prominent buildings and churches are featured as well as interior views of the local department store, Glosser Brothers. Also included are interior views of the Johnstown High School featuring students at work and at play.

Box 8
Item 314-338, Johnstown ca. 1920s - ca. 1930s ((24 photographic prints))

Subseries 2. Automobiles ca. 1927- ca. 1940s

Scope and Content Notes:

The images in this subseries, circa 1927-1940, feature automobiles, delivery trucks, a moving van, and a fire truck. Photographs show the vehicles on the road as well as displayed in dealership showrooms and windows.

Item 339-359, Automobiles ((20 photographic prints))

Subseries 3. Billboards 1926- ca. 1930s

Scope and Content Notes:

The images in this subseries represent advertisement techniques from the 1920s - 1930s and feature unique billboards around the Johnstown area.

Item 360-381, Billboards ((21 photographic prints))

Series III. Photograph Albums, 1926- 1927

Scope and Content Notes:

The linen-backed photographic prints contained in two albums were taken during the early years of Heffley’s work as a professional photographer. The photographs document products produced in Johnstown, views of industrial steel labor, views of busy downtown Johnstown streets, commercial images of store fronts, and advertisements.

Photograph Album, 2401-2600 (1.0 volume; (131 photographic prints))

Box 9-10
Images 382-648, Photograph Album, 2601-2800 (1.0 volume; (135 photographic prints))