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Manuscript Group 285
PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION
1830-1963
17 cu. ft.


The collection no longer exists as such. Its contents have been transferred to Manuscript Group 286, the Penn Central Railroad Collection, and are listed under the Pennsylvania Railroad Company / Secretary / PRR Library as the series: Photograph Collection, 1830-1963 (17 cu. ft.).

The transferred materials are primarily photographs, encompassing the history of the American railroad industry, especially relating to Pennsylvania, the PRR, and its subsidiaries, from its beginning in 1846 to about 1960. The PRR declined rapidly after WWII, merged with New York Central Railroad to form the PennCentral Transportation Company in 1968, and went bankrupt in 1970. The photograph collection was maintained by the Office of the Secretary at company headquarters in Philadelphia, and used as a reference file by staff when historical or illustrative items were needed for the company. It was obtained at a Penn Central auction by the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg, a Historical and Museum Commission property. Most of the visual materials were transferred to the State Archives in 1978.

The materials were (and still are) arranged in three subgroups: the Historical File, Photograph Albums, and views of Rolling Stock. Besides photographs, the Historical File also includes postcards, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, brochures, and letters from donors identifying photographs. Most photographs in the collection are identified. Topics covered include: locomotives, railroad bridges, canals, terminals, accidents, consolidation, employees, history, natural disasters, such as Johnstown Floods of 1889 and 1936, strikes, snow removal, stations, railroad scenes in Europe and Russian, WWI and WWII troop transport, and the employment of women.



PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Finding Aids for Collections Land Records