Historical and Museum Commission
Bureau of Archives and History
Pennsylvania State Archives
PENN CENTRAL RAILROAD
As part of a special project, narrative
series descriptions for the State Archives' records of the Pennsylvania Railroad
have been entered into "PILOT", an online
library catalog. (Few other State Archives holdings are represented
in this catalog; for information about other Record Groups and Manuscript Groups,
please use the State Archives website.). The information in this catalog
is of a general nature--simple, narrative summaries of the nature of each
series and the overall categories of information that a researcher could expect
to find therein. It is a way to narrow down which of the 1,500-some series in
MG-286 might pertain to your research needs.
Searching instructions for the
"PILOT" Catalog via the link above:
- Click on the "Guided Search"
- Click on the "Set More
Limits" button (near bottom right). From the "Location" limits
category (third from the top), use the "down" arrow to find "State
Archives" and click on that. Then confirm your choice by clicking
the "Set Limits" button (near top right of the dark gray background
- You can search for up to 3 words
or phrases in combination. Type a word or phrase each of the three "Search
for" boxes provided, and make sure the operators (and, or, not) are displaying
the way you want them to. It is best to leave the prompts for "as a phrase"
and "Keyword Anywhere" as they are. Unless you are already certain
precisely how the creator and title information were entered into the catalog,
choosing either of those search types is likely to result in a failed search.
- Here are some sample searches:
- If you have an exact series
title, selected from the MG-286 title list, and would simply like to see
the narrative description for that series, proceed as follows:
- If you wish to see the
series description for the PRR Comptroller's "Annual Reports
to State Agencies", a search for the single phrase "Annual
Reports to State Agencies", a fairly unique title within MG-286,
will take you right to the record for that series.
- However, if you wish
to look at the series description for the "Minute Books"
of the Lock Haven and Clearfield Railroad, you would do best to type
"Lock Haven and Clearfield" in the first box, and "Minute
Books" in the second, so as not to be inundated with a list of
over a hundred Minute Books from other, unwanted subsidiaries.
- If you have selected
from the title list a specific corporate office or subsidiary, and would
like to browse through all the series descriptions for that office or
subsidiary, use this method:
- To browse through multiple
series descriptions from, say, the Vice President of Operation, type
the following phrase - exactly as it appears on the MG-286 title list
- into the first box on the search screen: "Vice President of
- If you aren't sure by
looking at the title list which series might contain information of interest,
and would like to do word searches of ALL the descriptions to see if any
of them are relevent, try this searching technique:
- Type single, simple,
distinctive words in one or more of the search boxes.
- For instance, type the
word "photographs" in the first search box to get a list
of all the narrative descriptions containing that word in the narrative,
title, or as a subject term.
- Or type "world war"
in search box 1 and "railroads" in search box 2
- To activate your search, click
on the "Search" button (centered, beneath the green background containing
the variable boxes).
- Remember to re-select the search
limit of "State Archives" for any subsequent searches you do during
your search session.
- Remember, the information
in this catalog is of a general nature--narrative summaries of the nature
of each series and the common categories of information that a researcher
could expect to find therein. You cannot use this catalog to access detailed
container listings nor transcriptions of the actual documents. Those have
not been automated. It is unlikely that a word search here for specific
towns, locomotive classes or general employees will produce many or any results.
If this happens, to you, try searching for more general terms that would reflect
the nature of the corporate activity rather than the identity of individual
persons, places or equipment.