PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Online Catalog Land Records




Manuscript Group 274
1849-1962 & undated
367 cu. ft.

Originally known as the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad, the Lehigh Valley Railroad (LVRR) competed for the lucrative anthracite coal transport trade in northeastern Pennsylvania. It dominated the industry in eastern Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, becoming known as the "Route of the Black Diamond." The Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad was first suggested by prominent members of Lehigh and Northampton Counties, and the bill was carried through the legislature by Dr. Jesse Samuel, then a representative from Lehigh County. In August 1847, the necessary certificate to the Governor was signed for the purpose of obtaining a charter of incorporation. The name of the company was changed to Lehigh Valley Railroad Company by an act of assembly on January 7, 1853. Although the railroad did carry passengers, it depended mainly on the transportation of coal as its source of profit. The demise of the coal industry and the rise of auto and air transportation in the 1950s led to its financial ruin and a takeover by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1960. The records were acquired over the course of several years from the main offices of the LVRR.

The bulk of the records are 703 volumes of minutes, reports, journals, ledgers, cash books, company history, records of lands owned by the LVRR, and other records pertaining to everyday operations. Major series include: Minutes of the Board of Directors, 1850-1962 (which, among other things, contain information on accidents); Annual Reports, 1852-1975; Trustee Files, [ca. 1900-1982]; Cash Books, 1855-1952; Ledger, 1853-1955; and Real Estate Department Records, 1878-1951. (For records documenting personnel see Robert Dructor's publication: Guide to Genealogical Sources at the Pennsylvania State Archives, 2nd ed.)

Records of Subsidiary Companies, consisting of 1,421 volumes, are organized by transportation companies, 1851-1950, and non-transportation, 1844-1947, then arranged alphabetically by company name. For each company there are minutes and/or financial accounts.

Also included are three cubic feet (over five-hundred items) of photographic negatives taken by staff photographers. Subjects include construction of the Claremont Terminal, Jersey City, New Jersey, 1917-1923; ruins of the Morris Canal near Washington, New Jersey; the 1902 Lehigh River flood near Easton; and construction of an unidentified engine and freighthouse, probably in Buffalo, 1915.

A. Lehigh Valley Rail Road Company, 1849-1965

B. Subsidiary Companies, 1844-1965

1. Transportation Companies, 1851-1965

2. Non Transportation Companies, 1844-1947

PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Online Catalog Land Records