The paintings and prints of the Steidle Collection capture the power and beauty of industry. The images, potent reminders of earlier vigorous industrial development in America, are a visual record connecting fine arts, industry, and education before World War II. Established and expanded by Edward Steidle during his tenure at The Pennsylvania State University, the collection, with its unique focus on the mineral industries, is one of the most comprehensive assemblages of American industrial art. The Steidle Collection is preserved and exhibited by the Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum and Art Gallery.
The Steidle Collection remains today a remarkable artifact at the intersection of art, industry, and education. As a time capsule of the period between the stock market crash of 1929 and World War II, the collection sheds light on Pennsylvania's most important industries. The unique beauties of steel and coal that inspired the artists in this collection remind us of the power these industries held in the culture and economy of Pennsylvania. At the time he assembled his industrial art collection, Dean Steidle could hardly have imagined the collapse of the nation's formidable steel industry and the disappearance of the blast furnaces that inspired such powerful paintings and prints. Edward Steidle was singular--one writer characterized him as a "spark plug"--and his remarkable vision of art embedded in the School of Earth and Mineral Sciences remains a legacy for the citizens of the Commonwealth and for The Pennsylvania State University.