Guide to the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company Records

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0208
Creators:
Transportation, Division of, NMAH, SI.
Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Co.
Engineering and Industry, Division of, NMAH, SI.
Dates:
1860-1936
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
18 Cubic feet
55 boxes
Repository:
Collection of engineering reports and correspondence from the Engineering Department of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company. The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad was most used for the transportation of anthracite coal within Pennsylvania from 1833 through the early 1970s.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Primarily outgoing correspondence from the Engineering Department of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company, the remainder being engineering reports and other miscellaneous papers.
Series 1: Letterpress Copybooks consists of 219 volumes from various engineers, each with own index (1865-1892): were generated by Chief Engineer, Assistant Chief Engineer, various resident engineers, other lower-level engineers, and the Chief Road-Master. Bulk of copybooks created by William H. Bines and Henry K. Nichols during long careers with the Philadelphia & Reading. Other volumes contain letters and reports by Charles W. Buckholz, Charles E. Byers, William Lorenz, and others. Correspondence covers all aspects of the engineering operations of the railroad, much of it at highest levels, being addressed to the Presidents of the Reading. Also includes one letterbook from John E. Wooten (1865), Superintendent.
Series 2: Reports of Chief Engineer to Auditor, 1908-1910; structural design calculation notebooks, 1901-1935; right of way deeds, 1903; and tracings of assorted machine parts.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is divided into two series.
Series 1: Letterpress Copybooks
Series 2: Reports and Miscellaneous papers

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
This railroad was chartered in 1833 to provide low-cost transportation from the Schuylkill and Mahanoy anthracite coal fields in eastern Pennsylvania to Philadelphia. Main line from Philadelphia to Pottsville opened 1842. Reading expanded by acquiring other railroads, and by 1869 had monopoly of coal traffic from Schuylkill anthracite region.
Expansion accelerated when Franklin B. Gowen became president (1869) and attempted to dominate entire anthracite trade. Purchased Schuylkill Canal (1870) to eliminate competition for coal trade; then organized the Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Company in 1871 to purchase and operate coal mines; secured over 40 percent of U.S. anthracite reserves, but debt incurred led railroad to bankruptcy and receivership (1880). Gowen's reckless style drove the Reading into second receivership (1886), and he was forced to resign.
Gowen's Successor, Archibald A. McLeod, tried to increase company control over anthracite trade (1892-1893), then control of several New England railroads. The Reading went bankrupt again and McLeod was ousted. In a reorganization (1896), the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad and the Coal & Iron Company became properties of the Reading Company, a holding company. Later additions to system were infrequent and largely confined to short branches and improvements inalignment. Due to anti-trust proceedings, company divested mining subsidiary (1923) and merged wholly owned railroad companies into an operating company. Acquired Lehigh & Susquehanna Railroad 1963, went bankrupt in early 1970s, and conveyed portions of its lines to Conrail (1976). The reorganized Reading Company retains real estate and other non-rail holdings.

Administration
Processing Information
Collection processed by Cheryl Megerdigian, 1989
Author
Cheryl Megerdigian
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated by the Reading Company, Philadelphia, Pa., 1960s.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
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.

Related Materials
Hagley Museum & Library, Manuscripts & Archives Department, P.O. Box 3630, Wilmington, Delaware 19807.

Custodial History
Custodial History
Tracings transferred from the Division of Transportation, June 12, 1986. Other material transferred from the Division of Engineering and Industry, August 1986.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Railroad accidents Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroad engineering Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroads -- New Jersey Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroads -- Buildings and structures Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Coal mines and mining -- Pennsylvania Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Coal -- Pennsylvania Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroad companies -- Pennsylvania Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Engineering Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Engineers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroad engineers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Coal -- Transportation Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Anthracite coal industry Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroads -- Surveying Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroad tracks Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroads -- Maintenance and repair Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroads -- Signalling Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lackawanna County (Pa.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Luzerne County (Pa.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cressona (Pa.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Transportation Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Harrisburg (Pa.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Norristown (Pa.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Philadelphia (Pa.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
New Jersey Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Right of way deeds Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reports Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Letterpress copybooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mechanical drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Estimates Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Financial statements Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Circular letters Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bills Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Accident reports Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sumerton (Pa.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cheltenham (Pa.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 1930-1950 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sunbury (Pa.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reading (Pa.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Trenton (N.J.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Schuylkill County (Pa.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroads -- Pennsylvania Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pennsylvania Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Buckholz, Charles W. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Boggs, George B. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bines, William H. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Atlantic City Railroad Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Davis, N.M. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chamberlain, E.C. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Byers, Charles E. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lorenz, William Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Keim, George DeB Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jamison, Robert Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Transportation, Division of, NMAH, SI. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gowen, Franklin B. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Engineering and Industry, Division of, NMAH, SI. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nichols, Henry K. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mine Hill & Schuylkill Haven Railroad Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manning, Charles P. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Richardson, F.E. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Royers, John H. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reading Belt Railroad Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rice, George Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Whitney, E.S. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Steele, J. Dutton Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Thompson, J.W. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Yarington, T.O. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Zacharias, H.C. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wilson, H.T. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wootten, John E. Personal Name 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
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives