Guide to the Railway Express Agency Records
Digitized Content

Collection ID:
Railway Express Agency.
Karl, Roger F. R.
Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Division of
1898 - 1969
Physical Description:
3 Cubic feet
9 boxes

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Mainly forms, manuals, federal regulations, accounting instructions, and personnel materials. Included are labor agreements, an employee handbook, and information on the employees' sick benefit association. Other materials include drawings of property owned; and photographs, engineering drawings, technical publications relating to railroad passenger car brake equipment; also a public relations publication, "The Pony Express Story."

The collection is arranged into eight series.
Series 1, Adams Express Company
Series 2, Railway Express Agency Printed Material
Series 3, Engineering drawings and publications
Series 4, Air and Mail Forms
Series 5, Personnel materials
Series 6, Schedules and routes
Series 7, Rates, Rules, and Regulations
Series 8, Notebook--Bulletins and Circulars

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
In 1860 there were three principal transcontinental mail and express routes: By ship from New York to Panama then by portage across the Isthmus to the West Coast and finally back to sea for the last leg to San Francisco; Second, the Butterfield and Fargo Stageline operating from St. Louis through the Indian Territory along the Santa Fe Trail and up to Los Angeles to San Francisco; and third the stageline of Russell, Majors, and Waddell, which traveled from Ft. Levenworth, Kansas to Denver, then over the mountains to Salt Lake City and California terminating in San Francisco. Early in 1860 the Pony Express concept was formed and operated from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacremento, California. The end of the Pony Express came in 1861 when the telegraph line connected Omaha and San Francisco and officially ended on Oct. 26, 1861.
On November 1, 1866 Wells Fargo & Co. purchased the stage and Pony Express operations from Ben Holladay. At this time there were several express companies; however, by 1914 there were only seven. During World War I these seven companies were consolidated at the direction of the Federal Government into one nationwide organization, the American Railway Express Agency. In 1929 the nations railroads bought the express business and changed the name to Railway Express Agency, Inc. In November 1960 REA Express was adopted as the Company's trade name. In October 1960 acquired Fast Service Shipping Terminals Inc. In January 1961 formed REA Leasing Corp a trailer leasing company. In February 1965 formed with Seven Arts Associated Corp. and Travel Theaters Inc. REA Express Seven Arts Transvision, Inc. In 1965 sold 32 terminals and leased them back. In April 1967 formed REA Express Canada, Ltd. In May 1967 formed Rexco Supply Corp. to conduct tire recapping and automotive parts distribution business. In February 1970 formed The Express Co., Inc. as a subsidiary of REA Holding Corp to conduct an international air freight forwarding business.
On February 21, 1975 the Company filed a petition under Chapter XI of the Bankruptcy Act in Federal Court in New York County listing assets of $41,000,000 and liabilities of $55,000,000. Company said the reasons for the petition included losses created by years of railroad domination as well as high rate of inflation, a recent decline in express shipments, and limited availability of credit.

Processing Information
Roger F.R. Karl, 2006
Roger F.R. Karl
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift from Roger F.R. Karl, consulting engineer.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Railway Express Agency 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.

Custodial History
Custodial History
Transferred from the Division of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, XXXX.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Railroads -- Freight Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pony express Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Transportation Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroads -- Brakes Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
REA Express Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Division of Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Railway Express Agency Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Adams Express Company Corporate 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