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Reading Company photographs

1873-1945
 Collection
Accession: 1974-330

Abstract

The Reading Company, chartered in 1871, became the holding company for the system of railroads, canals and coalmines assembled between 1833 and 1896 by its predecessor, the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company. The collection consists of photographs [negatives, blueprints and other graphic materials relating to the Reading Company and its predecessor, the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company.

Dates

  • 1873-1945

Creator

Extent

20 Linear Feet

General Physical Description note

4932 photographic prints : b&w ; 16 x 20 in. or smaller. ; 1229 negatives : b&w ; 4 x 5 in. ; 129 items : blueprints ; 45.5 x 78 cm. ; 18 photographic prints : stereograph ; 8.5 x 17 cm. ; 12 prints (postcards) : 9 x 14 cm. or smaller. ; 1 item : printing plate ; 21.5 x. 28.5 cm.

Historical Note

The Reading Company, chartered in 1871, became the holding company for the system of railroads, canals and coal mines assembled between 1833 and 1896 by its predecessor, the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company. The Reading Company owned, leased or held a controlling interest in rail lines throughout southeastern and central Pennsylvania, with branches stretching as far north as Scranton and as far west as Williamsport and Shippensburg. The company also held a controlling interest in the Central Railroad Company of New Jersey, giving its lines access to New York City. As a result of anti-trust proceedings, the Reading Company divested itself of its mining subsidiary in 1923. After bankruptcy in the early 1970s, viable portions of the Reading's rail network were conveyed to Conrail on April 1, 1976. The reorganized Reading Company retains real estate and other non-rail assets.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of graphic materials relating to the Reading Company and its predecessor, the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company.

The bulk of the photographs in the Reading Company collection show views along trackage and work being done on the tracks, views of stations, bridges, buildings owned or utilized by the company and assorted locomotives and rolling stock. Right of way images from within Philadelphia focus on construction projects, as do the majority of the images taken along the company's main line and branches outside the city. Notable among these are photographs of the Manayunk elevated construction, the construction of the low grade freight line in Wayne, and the change of alignment of the Schuylkill River at Port Clinton, change of alignment on the Catawissa Railroad, eliminations of grade crossings at Soderton and Sellersville Photographs of bridges, stations and other Reading Company buildings and facilities (for example, coal yards, freight yards, grain elevators) are included. These photographss include structures in New Jersey as well as those along the Reading's lines in southeastern and central Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Notable among these are construction views of the Kaighn's Point Terminal in Camden and the North Broad Street Station in Philadelphia. Trains are included incidentally in all of these categories. Another file in the collection, however, consists of about 100 undated photos of specific locomotives and rolling stock, some of which did not, in fact, operate on the Reading Company's lines. Also part of the collection are a small number of employee photographs, as well as miscellaneous images including dams, the Schuylkill Canal, Hog Island, and properties owned by other railroads. Lastly, there is a small group of stereographs including a dozen views from Cape May.

These images represent only a fragment of the Reading Company's activities and property holdings during this period. The company's photo archive has been lost or scattered through dispersal.

Related Material

Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

Reading Company photographs (Accession 1975.430), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Reading Company photographs
Status:
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Audiovisual Collections Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400