Web Resources

Frederick R. Parsons and Andrew B. Duncan operated the Parsons Palace Car Photo Company, St. Louis. Parsons maintained a studio at 1407 Market St., St. Louis, in the 1890s. Duncan was official photographer for the Frisco railroad for ten years, settling in Springfield, Missouri, in 1903. This may be the car he used on the Frisco; does anyone have details? John Gruber Collection

Libraries with railroad photo collections on the World Wide Web include:

John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Thomas Jefferson Library Building, 1 University Blvd., St. Louis, Missouri 63121-4499, phone 314-516-7253

California State Railroad Museum Library,111 “I” Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

The CSRM Library provides public access to the museum’s documentary collections. The Library is located next to the Museum of Railroad History on the second floor of the Big Four Building. The reading room is open to the public without charge Tuesday through Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m.

Cleveland State University Library, Rhodes Tower Room 320, 2121 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115, phone 216-687-2449

The Nickel Plate Railroad collection consists of files, drawings, and images of the railroad, especially as it passes through Cleveland. A general NKP Collection contains some small panoramic negatives of NKP views and Gerald Adams donated two albums of photos and many boxes of NKP drawings. In addition, the North American Railway Foundation underwrote the purchase of two other collections of Nickel Plate photographic negatives, one being from the company’s publicity department and the other from the personal collection of the late Mr. John A. Rehor, author of The Nickel Plate Story. While most of the material is unprocessed, NARF is funding preliminary work on the Nickel Plate and the Newburgh & South Shore collections.

Denver Public Library, 10 W. Fourteenth Ave. Pkwy., Denver, Colorado 80204, phone 303-640-6200

The online collection contains 50,000 images of Native Americans, pioneers, early railroads, mining, Denver, and Colorado towns. Photographers of interest to railroad historians are listed here.

Photographer, Subjects Photographed, Call number or name

  • George Beam, Railroads, Pueblo Indians, GB1
  • William H. Jackson, The American West, W H Jackson
  • Louis McClure, Architecture and Industry, MCC 1
  • Otto Perry, Railroads 1915 to 1955, OP1
  • Robert Richardson, Narrow Gauge Railroads, RR1

James J. Hill Library, 80 W. 4th St., St. Paul, MN 55102

Historic photographs in the James J. Hill, Louis W. Hill, Reed Hyde, and L. Dorcy manuscript collections are available online. As part of the Hill Manuscript collection, the library houses more than 8,000 images that span a century of economic development in the American Northwest and Western Canada. Each image is available for purchase.

Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, Illinois 60045-2399, phone 847-735-5064

The Donnelley and Lee Library lists photos, mostly from the 19th century, in the Munson Paddock Collection. The library is named for Eliott Donnelley (1904-1975), a notable railroad enthusiast, modeler, preservationist, and book collector.

Museum of the Rockies, 600 West Kagy Blvd., Bozeman, MT 59717-2730

The Museum of the Rockies has more than 20,000 photographs by Ron V. Nixon, made from 1916 to his death in 1989. The collection also contains records, correspondence and historical writings that span the steam, diesel, and electric eras in several states and Canada. There are 9,763 images and data records entered as of January 5, 2007. Nixon’s first published photograph was in Railway Age magazine in 1930, and later his work appeared in magazines, newspapers, rail company posters, advertisements, and calendars. He retired in 1975 as manager and wire chief for the Northern Pacific Relay Division in Missoula, Montana.

Railroad Cartoons

Web site devoted to railroad political cartoons, 1850-1940. The site contains hundreds of cartoons, with sources and some brief descriptions. High quality copies are available to interested parties. The cartoons come from the private collection of Mark Aldrich, the Marilyn Carlson Nelson professor of economics emeritus at Smith College. Aldrich is the author of several railroad-related books, including Death Rode the Rails: American Railroad Accidents and Safety, 1828-1965.