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Railway Express Agency Records

Author:
Railway Express Agency.  Search this
Donor:
Karl, Roger F. R.  Search this
Collector:
Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Division of  Search this
Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Division of  Search this
Names:
Adams Express Company  Search this
American Railway Express Agency  Search this
REA Express  Search this
Extent:
3 Cubic feet (10 boxes, 7 map-folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1860-1970
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."
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into eight series.

Series 1, Adams Express Company, 1899-1913

Series 2, Railway Express Agency Printed Material, 1914-1965

Series 3, Engineering drawings and publications, 1898-1952

Series 4, Air and Mail Forms, 1954-1964

Series 5, Personnel materials, 1864-1879

Series 6, Schedules and routes, 1929-1967

Series 7, Rates, Rules, and Regulations, 1860-1962

Series 8, Notebook--Bulletins and Circulars, 1929-1958

Series 9, Drawings, 1873-1970
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.
Provenance:
Gift from Roger F.R. Karl, consulting engineer.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
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.
Topic:
Pony express  Search this
Railroads -- Brakes  Search this
Railroads -- Freight  Search this
Transportation  Search this
Blueprints  Search this
Citation:
Railway Express Agency Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0260
See more items in:
Railway Express Agency Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0260
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