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Harry R. Hippler collection of Pennsylvania Railroad negatives

1832-1947 Majority of material found within 1905-1945
 Collection
Accession: 2015-279

Abstract

The Pennsylvania Railroad Company was the largest railroad in the United States in terms of corporate assets and traffic from the last quarter of the nineteenth century until the decline of the northeast's and midwest's dominance of manufacturing. Harry Richmond Hippler (1875-1958) was a pharmacist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and an avid amateur photographer. This collection contains negatives primarily of Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) train cars, both interior and exterior views. There are also images of train tracks, bridges, construction and other railroad related images. The bulk of the photographs date from the 1910s through the 1940s. It is possible that Harry R. Hippler was the photographer of some of the photographs in the collection.

Dates

  • 1832-1947
  • Majority of material found within 1905-1945

Creator

Extent

5 Linear Feet

Physical Description

203 glass plate negatives : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. 73 glass plate negatives : b&w ; 5 x 7 in. 6 glass plate negatives : b&w ; 4 x 5 in.125 negatives : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. (Nitrate). 165 negatives : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. 16 copy negatives : b&w ; 2.75 x 3.25 in. 1 negative : b&w ; 5 x 7 in. 4 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in.

Biographical Note

Harry Richmond Hippler (1875-1958) was a pharmacist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and an avid amateur photographer. He graduated Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 1896 and married Anna Mae Fleming (1876-?) in 1897.

Historical Note

The Pennsylvania Railroad Company was the largest railroad in the United States in terms of corporate assets and traffic from the last quarter of the nineteenth century until the decline of the northeast's and midwest's dominance of manufacturing. The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) was chartered in 1846 to complete an all-railroad network across the state. In 1857 the Pennsylvania Railroad purchased the old Main Line system and eventually brought the entire line from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh under one management. Between 1855 and 1874, the PRR underwent rapid expansion and emerged as one of the two largest railroad systems in the region east of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio. Through stock purchase or lease, it reached Baltimore in 1861, Chicago and Indianapolis in 1869, St. Louis in 1870, Jersey City opposite New York in 1871, and Washington in 1872. The purchase of the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad in 1881 brought complete control of the important New York-Washington corridor, and in 1910, the PRR entered Manhattan through tunnels under the Hudson and East Rivers. Most of the main lines lying east and south of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania were electrified between 1915 and 1938.

In March of 1913, a disastrous flood occurred in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and western Pennsylvania. In general, more than three months' normal rainfall fell on the Ohio River watershed in less than three days. The area of greatest rainfall was in Central Ohio, but the entire central valley was visited by rains heavy enough to bring all the rivers quickly to a flood stage. The damage to these areas was extensive. The flood also paralyzed the Pennsylvania Railroad through the region. Tracks and bridges were washed away, and bridge superstructures and foundations were destroyed.

The New York tunnel extension was a huge project the Pennsylvania Railroad undertook between the years 1900 and 1910 in order to run its passenger trains directly into a centrally located station in New York City. Prior to that time, passengers coming in on the Pennsylvania or any of the other West Side lines had to leave the train with their baggage and take a ferryboat to a Manhattan station. As a result of this project, tunnels were built under the Hudson River to connect New Jersey and New York, allowing the traveler to be carried directly into Pennsylvania Station, the Railroad's newly completed station building. From there, the tunnels extended under the East River to Long Island.

More than other railroads, the PRR was highly dependent upon the coal and steel industries and was burdened on its eastern end with a high-density passenger service. After 1958, the former began an irreversible decline, and the latter became a source of red ink. The PRR merged with its major rival, the New York Central, in 1968 to create the Penn Central Transportation Company. The merger was ill-planned and the company declared bankruptcy in 1970. In 1971, the federal government created Amtrak to assume the most essential passenger service, and in 1976, viable portions of Penn Central and other bankrupt railroads in its territory were conveyed to Conrail, which rehabilitated them with federal funds.

Arrangement

Original order and folder numbers have been maintained.

Scope and Content

This collection contains negatives primarily of Pennsyvlania Railroad (PRR) railroad cars, both interior and exterior views. There are also images of train tracks, bridges, construction and other railroad related images.

There are images of various types of railroad cars such as the movie car, dining car, sleeping car, and laboratory car, as well as different locomotives such as the "John Bull" locomotive and the "John Stevens" locomotive. Of the train station photographs, New York Station, Wilmington Passenger Station, Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station and Suburban Station are the most represented stations.

There are portraits of PRR executives and employees such as General W.W. Atterbury, R.C. Morse, and Thomas Scott. Of note are a series of photographs of damages to train stations, bridges and tracks from the Ohio Flood of 1913. There are also images from the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

The bulk of the photographs date from the 1910s through the 1940s. There are four negatives that have photographic prints made. It is possible that Harry R. Hippler was the photographer of some of the photographs in the collection.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.

Boxes 6, 10, 11, 17 and 18 are located in remote storage. Please contact staff 48 hours in advance of research visit at askhagley@hagley.org

The glass plate negatives DO NOT CIRCULATE.

Related Material

Pennsylvania Railroad negative collection (Accession 1993.300), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Additional Description

Provenance

These negatives were collected by Harry R. Hippler and donated to the Altoona Area Public Library. The Altoona Area Public Library donated the collection to Hagley Museum and Library.

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Harry R. Hippler collection of Pennsylvania Railroad negatives
Status:
Author:
Laurie Sather
Date:
2015
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