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Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company Records

Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Co.  Search this
Atlantic City Railroad  Search this
Mine Hill & Schuylkill Haven Railroad  Search this
Reading Belt Railroad  Search this
Bines, William H.  Search this
Boggs, George B.  Search this
Buckholz, Charles W.  Search this
Byers, Charles E.  Search this
Chamberlain, E.C.  Search this
Davis, N.M.  Search this
Gowen, Franklin B.  Search this
Jamison, Robert  Search this
Keim, George DeB  Search this
Lorenz, William  Search this
Manning, Charles P.  Search this
Nichols, Henry K.  Search this
Rice, George  Search this
Richardson, F.E.  Search this
Royers, John H.  Search this
Steele, J. Dutton  Search this
Thompson, J.W.  Search this
Whitney, E.S.  Search this
Wilson, H.T.  Search this
Wootten, John E.  Search this
Yarington, T.O.  Search this
Zacharias, H.C.  Search this
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Transportation  Search this
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Engineering and Industry  Search this
18 Cubic feet (78 boxes)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Right of way deeds
Letterpress copybooks
Mechanical drawings
Financial statements
Circular letters
Accident reports
Lackawanna County (Pa.)
Luzerne County (Pa.)
Cressona (Pa.)
Harrisburg (Pa.)
Norristown (Pa.)
Philadelphia (Pa.)
New Jersey
Sumerton (Pa.)
Cheltenham (Pa.)
Sunbury (Pa.)
Reading (Pa.)
Trenton (N.J.)
Schuylkill County (Pa.)
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:
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.
The collection is divided into five series.

Series 1: Letterpress Copybooks, 1866-1870

Series 2: Chief Engineer Standard Plans, 1904-1942 Series 3: Construction Reports, 1901-1913

Series 4: Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) Valuation of Railroads, 1913-1922

Series 5: Reports and Miscellaneous Papers, 1860-1936
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.
Related Materials:
Hagley Museum & Library, Manuscripts & Archives Department, P.O. Box 3630, Wilmington, Delaware 19807.
Collection donated by the Reading Company, Philadelphia, Pa., 1960s.
Collection is open for research.
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.
Railroad accidents  Search this
Railroad engineering  Search this
Railroads -- New Jersey  Search this
Railroads -- Buildings and structures  Search this
Coal mines and mining -- Pennsylvania  Search this
Coal -- Pennsylvania  Search this
Railroad companies -- Pennsylvania  Search this
Engineering  Search this
Engineers  Search this
Railroad engineers  Search this
Coal -- Transportation  Search this
Anthracite coal industry  Search this
Railroads -- Surveying  Search this
Railroad tracks  Search this
Railroads -- Maintenance and repair  Search this
Railroads -- Signalling  Search this
Transportation  Search this
Railroads -- Pennsylvania  Search this
Right of way deeds
Letterpress copybooks
Mechanical drawings
Financial statements
Circular letters
Accident reports
Correspondence -- 1930-1950
Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History

A story of Lackawanna County and Lackawanna Historical Society / by S. Fletcher Weyburn

Weyburn, S. Fletcher  Search this
Lackawanna County (Pa.) History  Search this
Lackawanna Historical Society History  Search this
Physical description:
32 p. ; 23 cm
Call number:
F157.L15 W49 1928
F157.L15W49 1928
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries

History of Luzerne, Lackawanna, and Wyoming counties, Pa.; with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of their prominent men and pioneers

Munsell, W.W., & Co., New York  Search this
Physical description:
8, [2], [9]-540 p. incl. front., illus., map. plates, ports., double tab. 31 x 22 cm
Luzerne County (Pa.)
Lackawanna County (Pa.)
Wyoming County (Pa.)
History  Search this
Call number:
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries

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