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Archives & Special Collections (ASC)

Railroad Collections: Manuscript Collections

Manuscript Collections (in alphabetical order)

Charles Allen Railroad Collection, 1919-1995, bulk 1929-1966
6.75 linear feet
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Louisville native and railroad enthusiast Charles M. Allen (1916 - 2000) graduated from Yale University in 1941 and from the University of Louisville Law School in 1943. After several years of private practice he served as an assistant U.S. attorney. He returned to private practice, then from 1961 to 1971 he served in an elected position to the chancery branch of Jefferson County Circuit Court. In 1971 he was appointed to the federal bench by President Richard Nixon, a position Allen held until his retirement in 1996. Allen was also known for his love of railroads, a fascination that began in his childhood. He was a charter member of the Kentucky Railway Museum, serving as legal counsel and president of the organization at various times in its history. The bulk of the collection consists of railroad timetables. There is also a small, but significant number of guides, maps, operating rules, pamphlets and brochures, annual reports, railroad histories, yearbooks, and photographs. Although most of the collection is from North American railroads, there is some material related to railroading in Europe.

Charles Castner Regional History Collection, 1889-1990
2 linear feet
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Castner produced a public affairs series called "Kentucky Profiles" for WHAS radio in the early 1960s. He subsequently worked as a public relations and information officer for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, later merged with the Seaboard Systems and CSX, until his retirement. The collection contains news and magazine clippings, notes, and copies of historical photographs documenting the history of the major rail and transit systems that served the Louisville area. Most of the series is organized alphabetically by the name of the transit operating companies. The photographs document transit operations, including interurbans, in the Louisville area.

Corydon Indiana Lincoln Highway Association. “A brief: On the route of Thomas Lincoln through Indiana to Lincoln City,” 1935
.25 linear foot
Carbon copy of a brief (93 pp. in length) describing the route Thomas Lincoln, the father of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth U.S. president, took through Indiana. The brief was written by Thomas S. Jones for the association, which wanted to build or rename a highway in honor of Lincoln.

Historic images of Louisville collection, 1882-1929
.25 linear foot of .50 linear foot
Four binders and two loose photographic prints featuring historic buildings, structures, and views of Louisville. Two of the binders contain photographs taken during the construction of the "Big Four" bridge. Dates given are for the original photographs and prints; it is unclear when the copies were made.

John Scott Elder (1802-1887) memoirs, circa 1800-1829
.05 linear foot
This is a twenty-two page photocopy of a typewritten excerpt from the memoirs of Elder, a steamboat pilot on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. A notation on the cover indicates the original numbered 400 pages. The location of the original is unknown.

John B. Fravert Railroad Collection, 1851-1979
6.3 linear feet
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Railroad-related records, many from the Louisville and Nashville (L&N) and the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis (N.C. & St. L.) Railroads. Includes information on locomotives, including specification cards; employee information; company records including correspondence; and maps.

Ernie Gibson Rail and Trolley Collection, 1872-1983
6.5 linear feet
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Ernest "Ernie" Gibson (1923-1989), was a Louisvillian early interested in documenting railroad and transit history. He was a voracious collector of historical railroad documents, especially of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, as well as other lines. As early as 1941, he traveled widely on rail and trolley fan trips within the U.S. and Canada where he collected in-depth documentation of transit systems and railroad-related material in those cities. In some cases, he created informal electric line route maps. For a brief time as a young man, Gibson worked as a fireman on the Southern Railway line between Louisville and Danville, KY. Later, he worked as a motorman for the Louisville Railway Company and retired as the chief clerk of the L&N Railroad Company. The collection includes railroad- and trolley-related materials, including operating rules, logbooks, maps, schedules and other corporate records; newsletters and other publications; and sketches, photographs and slides relating to rail travel. Much of the information relates to the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, but other lines are also represented.

Samuel A. Griffin, 1971
.25 linear feet
Typescript autobiography by Griffin, a native of Summer County, Tennessee, written in two parts: "A country boy," and "My fifty year service with the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company (1910-1960)," also called "Working on the railroad."

William L. Grubbs L&N Railroad Collection, 1879-1965
2.675 linear feet
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William Grubbs was born in 1900 and joined the L&N Railroad in 1919 in the Law Department. He served as Vice President and General Counsel before retiring in 1970. The collection includes publications, reports, and articles collected by Grubbs during his tenure at the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. Most of these materials relate to the L&N Railroad.

William J. Hayes Papers, 1946-1960
.25 linear foot
William J. Hayes was a supervisor of locomotive operations for Monon. He was a 47-year employee of the company, who retired in 1965 and died in 1978. The collection includes an article on the care and operation of diesel locomotives machinery and air brakes, photographs, postcards and news clippings.

William Keirce Railroad Magazine Collection, 1930-2003
15 linear feet
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This collection consists of issues of Trains magazine (1940-2003) and Railroader magazine (1930-2000) collected by William Keirce.

I. Walton King Collection, 1930s-1970s, bulk 1961-1970s
9 linear feet
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These papers include studies, reports (some involving King or generated by King), to improve L&N operations, as well as proposals made by railroad equipment suppliers.

I. W. King Collection, 1961-1969
5 linear feet
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These additional papers of I.W. King, who was a career operating officer with the the Louisville and Nashville Railroad beginning in 1961, were donated by his son, Joel King, in 1993.

R. Douglas Krawczyk Research Papers, 1978
1.25 linear feet
Research materials gathered by Krawczyk for his master's thesis, "The City of Louisville and the L&N RR Co." Included are photocopies of laws, charters, railroad annual reports, and excerpts from L&N histories. There are also meeting minutes created by city government and the railroad.

The Locomotive Engineer Monthly Journal; v.1, #1; 1867

Louisville and Jefferson County Regional Airport Authority Environmental impact reports, 1989-1992
.75 linear foot
These reports address the environmental impact of the Louisville airport improvement project, including environmental assessment, an impact statement, the layout and design of the airport and noise compatibility.

Louisville and Nashville Railroad Historical Society publications and printed material, 1974-1986
.5 linear foot
The Louisville and Nashville Railroad Historical Society was founded in 1982 to promote study of the L&N. Included in the collection are four issues of The Dixie Line, the society's official bulletin, from 1986 and 1987; two 1987 issues of its newsletter, "Old Reliable;" eight issues from 1979 and 1980 of the Kentucky Railway Museum's newsletter; two 1979 issues of "The Hoosier Line," a newsletter of the Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society; and several issues, dating from 1974 to 1980, of "The Bluegrass Railroader."

Louisville Railway Company. Annual reports, 1920-1970
.25 linear foot
The Louisville Railway Company was a private holder of Louisville's major street rail franchise. Founded in 1890 as a merger between Louisville City Railway and the Central Passenger Railway, the company changed its name to the Louisville Transit Company in 1950. In 1974, public transit became the purview of the Transit Authority of River City (TARC), a public agency. This collection contains reports for 1920, 1929, 1935-1939, 1940-1941, 1943, 1947-1957, 1964, 1966, 1968-1970 only (a total of 26 reports).

Louisville Railway Company, Cooperative Welfare Association minutes, 1920-1944
.25 linear foot
The Cooperative Welfare Association served as the "company" union for the Louisville Railway Company, a private holder of Louisville's major street rail franchise. These records are minutes kept by that association.

Boyce F. Martin Papers, 1948-1979
10 linear feet
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Manuscripts of articles written by Martin, a prominent Louisville business executive and civic leader, for various model railroading magazines, along with photographs, slides, published materials, and correspondence.

A.M. Quarrier Letterbooks, 1891-1900
2.5 linear feet
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A.M. Quarrier, a native of West Virginia, moved to Louisville during his adolescence. He joined the L&N in 1858 and became second vice president for finance in 1884. He held the vice presidency until his death in 1900. He moved to New York City in 1891 when the railroad's corporate headquarters relocated there. These are four letterbooks of Quarrier's letters spanning the years 1891 to 1900 during his tenure as second vice president of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. Most of the letters discuss personal and family matters but some letters especially to his brother Cushman, who was the L&N's controller, mention railroad business.

E.O. Rollings Railroad photographs and tour book, 1963-1975
1 linear foot
Included in the collection are informal individual and group photographs of L&N personnel, dating from 1974, also, an unpublished tour book, South Louisville Shops, written in 1975. There are also two photographs of the Covington rail yard from 1963 and 1970.

Save Our Parks campaign records, 1955-1968 (bulk: 1958-1961)
4 linear feet
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Save Our Parks was a Louisville citizens' committee which campaigned against the routing of Interstate 64 through the city's Cherokee and Seneca parks. During the organization's most active years it boasted more than 30,000 supporters. Despite their efforts, this section of the expressway was routed through the park area and opened in 1970.

Elmer Griffith Sulzer Railroad Collection, 1839-1978
110 linear feet
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Elmer Griffith Sulzer had a distinguished career as a college professor at the University of Kentucky and Indiana University. He was a multifaceted individual with interests from jazz to geology. As he grew older his writing more and more reflected his life-long love of trains and their history. Sulzer collected railroadiana everywhere he went, both domestically and internationally, and wrote five books and more than fifty articles on rail topics for railroad specialized journals. He was a leading expert on abandoned rail lines. This collection consists of both the reference library on the subject of American and foreign railroads he assembled and work he himself generated. There is correspondence, literary productions, photographs and illustrations, railroad business records including paybooks, ledgers, rule books, reports, timetables, maps, diagrams, surveys and other operating records, books, railroad periodicals, reprints of articles and excerpts from books, pamphlets and brochures, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia. Some of the railroads included are: Monon; Illinois Central; Louisville and Nashville; Louisville Railway Company; Southern Railway; Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis; Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific; Penn Central; Pennsylvania; and Chesapeake and Ohio.

Edward Sutt Papers, 1957
.50 linear foot
Sutt was a lecturer in transportation in the University of Louisville School of Business. These papers contain Edward Sutt's teaching material, and include lecture notes, class books, and examinations.

A.L.M. Wiggins Railroad collection, 1833-1973, bulk 1948-1973
36.125 linear feet
Wiggins was the fourth person to hold the dual positions of chairman of the board of directors of the Atlantic Coast Line and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company since the companies' affiliation in 1902. This collection contains railroad annual reports, correspondence, and board of directors' documents. Financial and legal records, department reports, and reference materials are also present. In addition to Louisville and Nashville and Atlantic Coast Line records, there are materials from the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis, the Clinchfield, the Charleston & Western Carolina, the Western Railroad of Alabama, the Georgia Railroad, and the Seaboard Coast Line. The Seaboard Coast Line was formed from the merger of the Atlantic Coast Line and the Seaboard Air Line Railroad.

George Yater Papers, including Indiana RR memorabilia, 1852-2004
54.05 linear feet
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George Henry Yater was born in 1922 in Louisville, Kentucky and grew up in the Beechmont neighborhood. His father worked as a yardman for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, thus providing the impetus for his lifelong interest in trains as well as all aspects of Louisville’s history. He served in the United States Army from December 1942 to March 1946. He returned to attend the University of Louisville on the G.I. Bill, earning a degree in history in 1951. He began his career in journalism at this time, working as a "copy boy" for the Louisville Courier-Journal. He was hired as a reporter for the Louisville Times, a position he held until 1955. For the next three decades Yater worked as an editor for a trade publication, as a features writer, as director of a news bureau, as a magazine editor, and at the University of Louisville. In 1979, Yater published his first book, the widely acclaimed definitive history of Louisville: Two Hundred Years at the Falls of the Ohio: A History of Louisville and Jefferson County. Yater also served as an advisor on the Louisville area for The Kentucky Encyclopedia and as an associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Louisville. George Yater died in January 2006. This collection consists of material relating to Yater's interests in the history of Louisville, Kentucky and the history of rail transportation and the biggest part relates to rail transportation, including inter-urbans and light rail. In addition to clippings, brochures, photocopies, photographs and research notes, there are several boxes of journals, many dating to the early 20th century, as well as photographs and recordings of sounds and songs relating to railroads.