Primary Source Report-IS

Title: Air Pollution in Donora, Pa.: Epidemiology of the Unusual Smog Episode of October 1948: Preliminary Report

Date: 1949     

Schrenk, H.H., Harry Heimann, George D. Clayton, W.M. Wexler, Air Pollution in Donora, Pa.: Epidemiology of the Unusual Smog Episode of October 1948: Preliminary Report, Washington, D.C: Federal Security Agency, Public Health Service, Bureau of State Services, Division of Industrial Hygiene, 1949

https://collections.nlm.nih.gov/ext/dw/31320170R/PDF/31320170R.pdf

This government report is a study that investigated the atmospheric and biological consequences of the Donora smog. This study compiles primarily quantitative data to show how the smog and air pollution affect the town. It provides me with scientific data to illustrate the conditions in Donora in the year just after the event and cross-references with this data with census data to see who was impacted. It illustrates some of the inequalities of who was affected. It also gives recommendations on how to help Donora and how to prevent such an event in the future. While it may credit the weather as the majority cause to the smog, it also blames the different sources of air pollution in and around the town.


Title: Ashe Memo to Dr. Kehoe

Date: 1949

Donora Historical Society, Donora, Pennsylvania

(Accessed via flash drive mailed to me from the Donora Historical Society)

This source, while seemingly just a brief memo to inform Dr. Kehoe about the scientists coming to Donora to conduct the epidemiology study, it also discusses a bit of Donora’s relationship with the smog and local industries prior to the smog incident in October and how it changed afterwards. It also goes over Donora’s physical location in relation to local industries – there were more than just the two factories. It also alludes to other data collected in relation to the smog – autopsies of those who died, the symptoms experienced by those affected by the smog, and data collected by the American Steel and Wire Company (and frustrations about not being able to access these findings). It is very insightful to how the incident changed Donora’s relationship with the smog and local industries.


Title: Rumor of Blue Sky Tapes 1-30

Date: 2004

Donora Historical Society, Donora, Pennsylvania

(Accessed via flash drive mailed to me from the Donora Historical Society)

These tapes compile interviews with 25 residents of Donora that survived that smog incident. It covers a wide range of topics gathering narratives about what the town was like before, during, and after the event from these survivors. These interviews were used to make a documentary about the event called Rumor of Blue Sky. There are about 15 hours of interviews available through the Donora Historical Society. It will provide me with narratives, thoughts, and feelings from those who experienced this event.


Title: Bill’s Smog Story

Date: 1998

Donora Historical Society, Donora, Pennsylvania

(Accessed via flash drive mailed to me from the Donora Historical Society)

This video is a three-minute news clip about how Donora was honoring the 50th anniversary of the smog incident. The video features local news anchors going to Donora and talking to some of those involved with the incident. When discussing the anniversary, a high school student discusses how the town initially responded to the event along side the anchors who go over the current thoughts and feelings the community has in regard to the event. While honoring the local disaster, the shift in feelings about the event is also recorded in this news clip.  


Title: USS-PA Week Open House

Date: 1948

Donora Historical Society, Donora, Pennsylvania

(Accessed via flash drive mailed to me from the Donora Historical Society)

This is a book produced by the American Steel & Wire Company that accompanied an open house for the facilities in Donora. The piece briefly goes over the history of the facilities in Donora. It also puts the work happening in the facilities into language that is easily digested by the average person. It allows me to start to see what was occurring in the factories in Donora.

Keywords: Air, Pollution, Disasters, Toxics, Factories