Guide to the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company Records

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0208
Creators:
Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Co.
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
Author
Cheryl Megerdigian
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated by the Reading Company, Philadelphia, Pa., 1960s.
Custodial History
Tracings transferred to the Archives Center from the Division of Transportation (now Division of Work and Industry), June 12, 1986. Other material transferred from the Division of Engineering and Industry (now Division of Work and Industry), August 1986.
Processing Information
Collection processed by Cheryl Megerdigian, 1989

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.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Railroad accidents Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroad engineering Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroads -- New Jersey Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroads -- Buildings and structures Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Coal mines and mining -- Pennsylvania Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Coal -- Pennsylvania Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroad companies -- Pennsylvania Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Engineering Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Engineers Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroad engineers Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Coal -- Transportation Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Anthracite coal industry Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroads -- Surveying Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroad tracks Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroads -- Maintenance and repair Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroads -- Signalling Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lackawanna County (Pa.) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Luzerne County (Pa.) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cressona (Pa.) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Transportation Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Harrisburg (Pa.) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Norristown (Pa.) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Philadelphia (Pa.) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
New Jersey Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Right of way deeds Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reports Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Letterpress copybooks Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mechanical drawings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Estimates Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Financial statements Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Circular letters Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bills Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Accident reports Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sumerton (Pa.) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cheltenham (Pa.) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 1930-1950 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sunbury (Pa.) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reading (Pa.) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Trenton (N.J.) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Schuylkill County (Pa.) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroads -- Pennsylvania Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pennsylvania Geographic 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
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Transportation Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gowen, Franklin B. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Engineering and Industry 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