Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company Papers: Home

This guide will introduce you to one of the most complete and comprehensive coal collections in existence. The Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company Collection is the largest collection housed in IUP Special Collections & Archives

Old Time Coalmining

Below are Images of the Industries Past





danger.jpgLink off to more images visit the Coal Culture Website

The Industries Past

The Mines: Working in the Underground City

first.jpg The "main entry," often compared to a main street, dominated the layout, while other entries were dug parallel to the main at regular intervals.These parallel entries were connected at right angles with cross entries somewhat like side streets. "Rooms," about 24 feet wide, were made at regular intervals. Many laborers were required in the preliminary stages, including a special "rock man" called in to blast down enough rock to attain the desired height in the main entry. The heights of the room was determined by the thickness of the coal seam which was, in Indiana, Jefferson and Armstrong counties, an average of 32" to the six feet found at Iselin and parts of Lucerne. The working surface in each room, called the "face," was advanced a few feet each day into the solid coal in the direction of the cross entries. 

 From Spraggers, "Sunshine Lamps Now Part of Industry's Past by Eileen Mountjoy

The Woman's Day

garden.jpgMost company houses had a huge garden which filled every available inch of space on its lot. Housewives helped each other can and preserve large quantities of fruits and vegetables. Mothers expected children to participate in this yearly event by washing canning jars and sorting rings and lids.  In the absence of refrigeration, some families set old washtubs into the clay floors of their cellars, where the temperature got so low in winter one could set "Jello."

Information From: "A Woman's Day" By Eileen Mountjoy Cooper









Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company was one of the largest producers of bituminous coal in the United States and a major employer in the Indiana, Pennsylvania area. This collection represents an imporant part of the industrial heritage and local history of the community. Historical papers, company records as well as various ledgers, mining mining memorabilia, as well as antique office furniture embody this collection. An extensive collection of maps representing mines, mining operations, exploration projects, surface maps and blueprints of mining towns owned and operated by Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company are part of the collection. The collection is one of the most complete and comprehensive Coal Company collections in existence and dates from the original incorporation of the company in 1881 till its acquistion by Consol Coal Group in 1998. Maps in the collection will be included in a state-wide database of digitized mine map images planned by the Pennslyvania Bireau of Deep Mine Safety.

Link off to read more about processing the collection

Link off to the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company Records

Link off to the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company Media Collection


Upcoming Events & Projects

Pennsylvania Coal Exhibit Planned for Fall 2009–10 Season

A Walk Through Time: Pennsylvania Coal Culture

Featuring the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company Collection

September 15–December 5, 2009
The University Museum at IUP
Public Reception: September 19, 2009

The University Museum, in cooperation with IUP Special Collections and University Archives, presents “A Walk Through Time: Pennsylvania Coal Culture Featuring the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company Collection.” The exhibit opens to the public on September 15, 2009.

Mining memorabilia, mine maps, photographs, blueprints for company towns, and other historical materials illustrate R&P Coal Company operations, miners’ work underground, and life in the region’s coal patches. From 1881 until its acquisition by Consol Coal Group in 1998, Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company (or R&P, as it was familiarly known) was one of the largest producers of bituminous coal in the United States. The exhibition also features an overview of IUP’s IMAPS program for scanning historical mine maps to preserve them and make digital copies available for current mining operations.

Iselin Company Store cira 1920's




R&P Mining Maps             

Scanning of the Pennsylvania mine maps and processing of the Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal Company Archives is made possible by the cooperation of very generous donors. Significant support has been provided by CONSOL Energy Inc., Rosebud Mining Company, Senator Don White and through a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The placement of the Cruse Scanner CS 285/775 ST-FA is part of a cooperative agreement between IUP and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Deep Mine Safety

Link Off to Find Out More About IMAPS

The core mission of the IUP Institute for Mine Mapping, Archival Procedures and Safety (IMAPS), is to develop a locus of knowledge and expertise in archiving, digitally recording, and geographically referencing historical coal mine maps, as well as initiating new mine safety protocols based on the existence of digital map data products

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Rhonda Yeager
IUP Art Department Visual Resources

Related Links