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    Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company Records, 1863-1936.
     
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    Creator: 
    Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Co. (creator).
    Title: 
    Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company Records, 1863-1936.
    Phy. Description: 
    18 cu. ft.: 2 flat oversize boxes and 53 document boxes.
    Digital Reference: 
    Bio / His Notes: 
    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.
    Scope and Content: 
    Primarily outgoing correspondence from the Engineering Department of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company, the remainder being engineering reports and other miscellaneous papers.
    SERIES 1: 219 letterpress copybook 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.
    Organization: 
    Divided into 2 series: (1) Letterpress Copybooks; (2) Reports and Miscellaneous papers. Series 1 alphabetical by author.
    Provenance: 
    Tracings transferred from the Division of Transportation, 6/12/86.
    Other material transferred from the Division of Engineering and Industry, 8/1986.
    Finding aids: 
    Container list available in repository. Controls collection at folder level.
    Loc. of Assoc. Material: 
    Related materials: Hagley Museum & Library, Manuscripts & Archives Department, P.O. Box 3630, Wilmington, Delaware 19807.
    Cite as: 
    Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
    Subject-Topical: 
    Railroad engineers
    Engineers
    Anthracite coal industry
    Coal -- Transportation
    Coal -- Pennsylvania
    Coal mines and mining -- Pennsylvania
    Engineering
    Railroad companies -- Pennsylvania
    Railroad engineering
    Railroad accidents
    Railroads -- Buildings and structures
    Railroads -- New Jersey
    Railroads -- Pennsylvania
    Railroads -- Maintenance and repair
    Railroads -- Signalling
    Railroads -- Surveying
    Railroad tracks
    Transportation
    Subject - Geographical: 
    Cressona (Pa.)
    Luzerne County (Pa.)
    Lackawanna County (Pa.)
    New Jersey
    Philadelphia (Pa.)
    Norristown (Pa.)
    Harrisburg (Pa.)
    Pennsylvania
    Trenton (N.J.)
    Schuylkill County (Pa.)
    Sunbury (Pa.)
    Reading (Pa.)
    Sumerton (Pa.)
    Cheltenham (Pa.)
    Subject-Name: 
    Bines, William H.
    Boggs, George B.
    Buckholz, Charles W.
    Byers, Charles E.
    Chamberlain, E.C.
    Davis, N.M.
    Gowen, Franklin B.
    Jamison, Robert
    Keim, George DeB
    Lorenz, William
    Manning, Charles P.
    Nichols, Henry K.
    Rice, George
    Royers, John H.
    Steele, J. Dutton
    Thompson, J.W.
    Richardson, F.E.
    Whitney, E.S.
    Wilson, H.T.
    Wootten, John E.
    Yarington, T.O.
    Zacharias, H.C.
    Atlantic City Railroad
    Mine Hill & Schuylkill Haven Railroad
    Reading Belt Railroad
    Form / Genre: 
    Bills
    Accident reports
    Circular letters
    Correspondence -- 1930-1950
    Estimates
    Financial statements
    Letterpress copybooks
    Mechanical drawings
    Reports
    Right of way deeds
    Repository Loc: 
    Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History : Archives Center. P.O. Box 37012, Suite 1100, MRC 601, Constitution Ave., between 12th and 14th Sts., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20013-7012. Call 202-633-3270 for appointment. Fax: 202-786-2453.
    Co-Creator: 
    Transportation, Division of, NMAH, SI (collector).
    Engineering and Industry, Division of, NMAH, SI (collector).
    Item Information
    RepositoryCall No. 
    Archives Center at American HistoryACNMAH 0208.Add Copy to MyList

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