Library and Archives
The Museum Library and Archives preserve the written and visual legacy of railroading in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The collection is diverse--historical, political, cultural, social, economic, and technological--and emphasizes its development from the 1830s through the present day. Included also are materials of a general nature relative to the administrative and operational history of the railroad industry, nationally and internationally. Library reference sources include a wide range of books, periodicals, railroad association and union publications, government documents and trade catalogues. The Archives preserves extensive photograph, drawing, map, manuscript and ephemera collections.
A sampling of the Museum's library and archival holdings includes:
- Over 250,000 images in the Museum's general photographic print collection and 50,000 negatives in the general negative collection, arranged alphabetically by name of railroad, and from the individual collections of George M. Hart, Thomas T. Taber, Thomas T. Taber III, Walter A. Lucas, Munson Paddock, Clinton T. Andrews, F. Stewart Graham, James H. Westbay, Robert Schmid, David Cope, Lad G. Arend, Franklin C. Hoffman, Samuel H. Fredericks, Jr., Richard E. Parker, C. Edwin Lewis, John Harris, and James P. Shuman;
- 18,200 original glass plate and film negatives of builder's photographs from the Herbert L. Broadbelt Collection of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, 1871-1954 (catalogue available in the Whistle Stop Shop);
- The manuscript, photograph and negative collection of Benjamin F.G. Kline, Jr., containing over 4,500 images of logging railroads and short lines in Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia (catalogue available in the Whistle Stop Shop);
- 10,000 film negatives and photographic prints of builder's photographs of the Edward G. Budd Manufacturing Company, taken by photographer Lawrence S. Williams, 1930-1960 (inventory in progress);
- 2,115 negatives of the Union Switch and Signal Company, Swissvale, PA, from the late 1930's through the early 1950's;
- 60 cubic feet of real estate, employee, and equipment records from the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad, 1900 - 1960;
- 500 glass plate negatives of the Central Pennsylvania Lumber Company, Susquehanna & New York Railroad and neighboring logging railroads from the Bradley-Hahn Collection, 1903-1921;
- 13,000 photo specification cards from the Broadbelt Collection of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, 1880-1940;
- Pamphlets, notes, and miscellaneous research materials formerly housed in the Pennsylvania Railroad Library at Broad Street Station, Philadelphia, from the Penn Central Auction Collection, c.1880-1960; (For other locations of Pennsylvania Railroad material, visit the:
Hagley Museum and Library
Pennsylvania State Archives,
Temple University Urban Archives
Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society;
See how glass plate negatives
been preserved here.
Read how staff and volunteers are applying latest electronic techniques to the library and archves here.
- 10,000 volume reference library of railroad books and serials, including the collections of Col. Howard Hill, Richard Gladulich, Walter Lucas, Munson Paddock, Thomas T. Taber, and the Pennsylvania Railroad Library;
- Extensive financial and corporate records of the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad, 1891-1910;
- 10,000 photographs, 586 negatives, engineering records, ink-on-linen and blueprint construction drawings from the Vulcan Iron Works, 1870-1950; (For other collections of Vulcan materials, visit Hagley Museum and Library and Wyoming County Historical and Genealogical Society);
- Over 20,000 color transparencies of more than 500 railroads (inventory in progress);
- 100 cu. ft. of administrative and operations records from the President and General Manager's Office of the Lehigh and Hudson River Railroad, 1880-1980;
- 30 cubic feet of locomotive roster research materials in the William D. Edson Collection, 1930-1990;
- Papers, manuals, records, blueprints, and diagrams of the Baldwin Locomotive Works from the Matthew Gray Collection, the Charles Scott Collection and the Frank Moore Collection, 1920-1950 (For other collections of Baldwin materials, visit:
DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University;
Smithsonian Institution Archives;
Pennsylvania State Archives;
- Business records, drawings and maps of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie and its predecessor companies, 1880-1950, in the Jack and Jolene Polaritz, Terry Kirkpatrick, William Nixon, John P. Wheeler and Linda Vance Collections.(For other P&LE collections, visit the University of Pittsburgh Library;
- Select business records of the Upper Merion & Plymouth Railroad, 1950-1970;
- Over 300 original drawings of narrow gauge locomotives and rolling stock from the Edmund Collins III and Edward Cass Collections (inventory in progress);
- Corporate ephemera files for more than 1,200 North American railroads, containing public and employee timetables, annual reports, promotional brochures, blotters, forms, charts and diagrams, rule books, operating and mechanical manuals, menus, tickets, postcards and passes;
- Records, photographs, and documents pertaining to the Philadelphia & Reading and Reading Company, c.1870-1980, in the Robert J. Linden Collection and the Reading Company Public Relations Department file (RR1978:3);
- Map, poster, stereo card and drawing holdings of over 300 railroads in Pennsylvania, as well as an extensive audio, video cassette and film collection.
The Museum's archival holdings on the Pennsylvania Railroad, Pittsburgh & Lake Erie, Maryland & Pennsylvania, Reading Company, and the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad are particularly strong.
Note regarding quality of online thumbnails versus actual prints or digital image files ordered.
Scans of original materials such as photos and negatives are generally made at high archival resolution. They are not corrected for color balance or other characteristics.
When you see a thumbnail as a result of an online search, it is much smaller and of lower quality than what will be actually provided if you submit an order. Depending on customer's stated needs, we can generally provide either an unedited file image so the customer can edit it, or a clarified, balanced print version. Since these are historic images, we do not retouch them in a manner that would alter their authenticity.