Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Guide to the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana Subject Categories: Railroads

Collection ID:
Warshaw, Isadore, 1900-1969
Physical Description:
60.54 Cubic feet
consisting of 131 boxes, 13 folders, 17 oversize folders, 20 map case folders, 2 flat boxes (1 full, 1 partial), plus digital images of some collection material.
A New York bookseller, Warshaw assembled this collection over nearly fifty years. The Warshaw Collection of Business Americana: Railroads forms part of the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Subseries 1.1: Subject Categories. The Subject Categories subseries is divided into 470 subject categories based on those created by Mr. Warshaw. These subject categories include topical subjects, types or forms of material, people, organizations, historical events, and other categories. An overview to the entire Warshaw collection is available here: Warshaw Collection of Business Americana

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Railroad materials comprise the largest subject category in the Warshaw Collection. These materials document a major industry and important transportation system that was instrumental in the western expansion of the United States. Railroads opened the way for the development of many other industries including mining, farming and manufacturing. The earliest materials document railroad lines operating on the east coast of the United States in the 1830s. The United States did not have the technical and manufacturing capabilities of some of the European nations. Cheaper land for railroad right of way and a government policy that guaranteed loans and provided grants to railroad companies based on the amount of track laid, however, encouraged rapid growth. Railroad companies in turn would sell land to settlers. Materials in this collection include the advertisements created to lure settlers west by promising this cheap and abundant land. The railroads were instrumental in transporting goods from the farm belt to the east coast and to Europe thus making the country a major trading post. Railroads also expedited the movement of troops during the Civil War which was the first war to employ the rails. Later in the century the growth of the far west is facilitated by passenger trains linking east and west. As the rail network became more efficient and capable of transporting raw materials, the United States became a world leader in coal and pig iron production. Evidence of the transporting of goods is found among these materials. The affluence of the late nineteenth century is reflected in the amount of materials in the collection that promoted luxury travel by rail. The rise of great railroad fortunes such as those of Vanderbilt, Harriman and Gould soon followed industry growth, as did scandal and corruption which in turn was followed by government regulation in the form of the Interstate Commerce Act and railroad legislation during Theodore Roosevelt's administration.
The twentieth century witnessed great efficiencies in locomotive car and track design and large increases in freight ton mileage as is reflected in the materials. There was, however, failure or downsizing of many railroad lines. Total passenger mileage declined over the years due to competition from other forms of transportation, the rise of the labor movement, increasing government control, a reduction in profits and the
The material consists primarily of correspondence, reports, patent records, pass books, resort guides, timetables, maps, periodicals, articles, printed advertisements, tickets, photographs, postcards and images from railroad companies. There is also a substantial amount of material from manufacturers and dealers of railroad equipment and supplies and from railroad organizations. Reference materials including articles and periodicals are also included among the materials. The materials are divided into six series.
Railroad Companies forms the largest amount of material in this category. This series is divided into two subseries. Subseries one is American railroad companies and subseries two is foreign companies.
American Companies document transportation service throughout the United States by the railroad lines including Albany and Susquehanna Railroad Company, Northern Railroad Corporation, Concord and Claremont, Contoocook River Railroad, Illinois Central Railroad, New York Central Railroad Company, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Sullivan, Central Vermont, Philadelphia and Reading Rail Road Company, Providence and Worcester Railroad Company, Pennsylvania Rail Road Company, Southern Pacific, Vermont Central Railroad Corporation and Union Pacific Railroad. There is a substantial amount of material from each company. The materials are arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the company or railroad line (s).
Foreign Companies includes companies servicing countries outside of the United States. Countries include Canada, England, France, India, Ireland, Scotland, Mexico and Switzerland. The materials are arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the company or railroad line (s).
Manufacturers and Distributors of Railroad Cars, Equipment and Supplies includes scattered correspondence on letterhead stationery, printed advertisements, patents, catalogues, bills and receipts. Many of the companies produced cars for the railroad companies but also supplied equipment and parts. The materials are arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the company.
Organizations, Associations and Clubs includes material from groups that represented the interests of railroad companies, employees and tradesmen. Organizations include American Association of General Passenger and Ticket Agents, American Association of Passenger Traffic Officers, American Association for Railroad and Locomotive History, American Electric Railway Association, American Electric Railway Manufacturers Association, American Electric Railway Transportation and Traffic Association, American Iron and Steel Association, American Railway Association, American Railway Bureau, American Railway Master Mechanics Association, American Street and Interurban Railway Accountants Association, Association of American Railroads, Association of General Freight Agents of New England, Association of Railway Executives, Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen- Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Brotherhood Railroad Signalmen of America, Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, Convention of Railroad Commissioners, Eastern Railroad Association, International Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Master Car Builders' Association, National Association of General Passenger and Ticket Agents, National Council of Traveling Salesmen's Association of America, New England Association of Railroad Superintendents, New England Association of Superintendents of Steam Railways, New England General Ticket and Passenger Agents Association, New England Railroad Club, New England Railway Car Accounting Association, New England Summer Resort Association, North-Western, Railroadmen, Railroadians of America, Railway Business Association, Railway Car Accountants' Association, Railway Clearing House Association, Railway Club of Pittsburgh, Railway Educational Association, Railway Officials of America, Railway Storekeeping Association, Railway and Supplymen's Mutual Catalog Company, South-Western Passenger Association, South-Western Railway Association, Street Railway Association, Terminal Railroad Association of Saint Louis, Train Central Corporation of America, Transcontinental Association, United American Mechanics, United States Railroad Administration, Western Association of General Passenger and Ticket Agents, Western Land Association of Minnesota, Western Railroad Association, Western Railways' Committee on Public Relations, Western States Passenger Association and the Yard Master's Mutual Benefit Association.
Images includes unidentified photographs, postcards, lithographs and sketches of locomotive cars, bridges, tunnels, accidents, collisions, depot stations, equipment, freight and shipping alternatives, Hancock Junction, horse-drawn railroads, memorials featuring trains, menus, tracks, employees working with trains, trademarks, cartoons, caricatures, illustrations from children's books, West Point and the second locomotive built in the United States. The materials that can be identified to a railroad company or line are found in series one. Most of the material are undated and is arranged in alphabetical order by subject.
General Files includes audit reports, Windsor Vermont Convention, income and expense accounts, mortgage bonds, bond offerings, export and import documents, financial records and stock lists, Florence and Keyport Company charter, Interstate Commerce Commission, legal records from states such as Connecticut, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, United States and Vermont patent records, Philadelphia Company balance sheets, Railroad Administration, Rand's Rating Agency, taxation documents, Thompson and Bachedler track and switch specifications, pass, time sheets, freight documents, maps, destination literature, tours, ticket sales, passenger rate sheets, checks, receipts and invoices, tickets, guides, maps, timetables, transportation of freight documents, pass books, passenger proportions, freight rates, free pass policy of numerous railroad companies, freight rates, freight transportation documents for Empire Line Great Western, Great Central, Bitner's Despatch Line, Merchant's Despatch line, National Despatch line, and various companies, time sheets, transportation of freight documents, maps and destination literature, maps and destination literature, map of Great Britain, Dinsmore, map of the United States and Canada Railways, fares and schedules, official documents, special trip offers, tariffs for passengers, freight and grain, tariffs for livestock and merchandise, passenger rate sheets, Walker's Railway tables, baggage checks, checks, receipts and invoices, ticket sales, Dover, ticket agents, tickets,
Publications includes articles, reports, clippings, histories, fiction, periodicals for the railroad trade and general periodicals. The series is divided into three subseries: Subseries 1, Articles, Reports, Clippings, Histories, and Fiction; Subseries 2, Periodicals for the Railroad Trade; Subseries 3, General Periodicals.

Vanessa Broussard-Simmons and Nicole Blechynden
Funding for partial processing of the collection was supported by a grant from the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care and Preservation Fund (CCPF).
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
Railroads is a portion of the Business Ephemera Series of the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Accession AC0060 purchased from Isadore Warshaw in 1967. Warshaw continued to accumulate similar material until his death, which was donated in 1971 by his widow, Augusta. For a period after acquisition, related materials from other sources (of mixed provenance) were added to the collection so there may be content produced or published after Warshaw's death in 1969. This practice has since ceased.
Processing Information
In 2016, with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care and Preservation Fund, the Archives Center at the National Museum of American History implemented the use of minimal level processing standards to increase information about and facilitate access to more of our collections. A large portion of stored material from the original acquisition received minimal level processing, which resulted in additions to this Subject category. This effort included basic arrangement and replacement of non-archival housing for long-term stability, but staples and other fasteners have not all been removed. Revisions to the encoded finding aid were made to reflect the added content in context to the previously processed material.
Minimal level processing and enhancement of the machine-readable finding aid completed by Nicole Blechynden, September 2017.

Digital Content
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Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access note
Collection is open for research. Some items may be restricted due to fragile condition.
Preferred Citation note
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana Subject Categories: Railroads, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Conditions Governing Use note
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Materials in the Archives Center
Materials in the Archives Center
Archives Center Collection of Business Americana (AC0404)

Forms Part Of

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Business ephemera Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ephemera Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012