Research Links: Records of Railroad Companies & Personal Papers
Baker Library Historical Collections at Harvard Business School has vast holdings documenting many aspects of the history of the railroads and growth of big business nationally and internationally. Please contact us for more information.
Henry Villard Business Papers
German-born financier Henry Villard (1835-1900) played a key role in the financing of the transcontinental railroad in the United States and in promoting the development of the Pacific Northwest. In the 1860s, Villard acted as the liaison between German investors and American railroad companies. Materials in this extensive collection relate to the Kansas Pacific Railway, the Northern Pacific Railway, and the Wisconsin Central Railroad. They include correspondence (letterbooks, telegrams, cablegrams, invitations), administrative records (minutes, memos, by-laws, annual reports), financial papers (ledgers, receipts, stock certificates), legal records (proceedings, affidavits, testimony, depositions), agreements, newspapers, newspaper clippings, reports, scrapbooks, and maps.
Ames Family and Union Pacific Railroad
This collection includes the scrapbooks and account books of Oakes Ames (1804–1873), American manufacturer, Congressman, and Union Pacific Railroad financier. It also contains material gathered by Charles E. Ames in researching his 1969 book Pioneering the Union Pacific, including reading notes, family scrapbooks, account books, and copies of pamphlets and documents related to the railroad.
Boston and Albany Railroad Co. Records
The Boston and Albany Railroad Company began as four separate entities: the Boston and Worcester Railroad, the Western Railroad, the Albany and West Stockbridge Railroad, and the Hudson and Boston Railroad. The records date from 1831 to 1898 and include minutes of meetings, lists of stockholders, stock certificates, financial ledgers, survey notes, engineering books, vouchers, receipts, and correspondence. This comprehensive collection is particularly rich in board of directors’ and stockholders’ meetings minutes for the various railroads from 1832 to 1867.
Nashua and Lowell Railroad Corporation Records The Nashua and Lowell Railroad Corporation was chartered in New Hampshire in 1835 and in Massachusetts in 1836 and was eventually absorbed by the Boston and Maine system. The collection includes ledgers, stock dividend records, annual reports, and unbound papers as well as materials relating to many other New England railroads with which the Nashua and Lowell had dealings.
Alfred D. Chandler Papers The collection provides a comprehensive view of historian Alfred D. Chandler’s sixty year academic career. Chandler’s study of railroads as the first modern enterprise influenced his career-long engagement with the study of change in business structure and managerial organization. He wrote his dissertation on Henry Varnum Poor, a railroad journalist and economist (also his great-grandfather), which was published in 1956 as Henry Varnum Poor, Business Editor, Analyst, and Reformer. The collection includes Chandler’s extensive research on railroads including nineteenth-century railroad journals and other publications.